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When one tries to decide whether Locke was misguided in trying to account for all the legitimate functions of government in terms of the preservation of property it is important to qualify the statement by deciding what exactly Locke meant as property in the first place Locke states that every Man has a property in his own Persons this is a difficult notion to grasp given our own modern definition of property Our persons are certainly not a property in the sense of being something we could see to someone else and the right to trade away or alienate something is certainly a major part of the modern meaning of the notion of property However the word property in the seventeenth century was often used more widely to denote any rights of a fundamental kind and fundamental rights were often claimed to be inalienable For Locke therefore human beings are primarily centres of rights and duties rather than as with Hobbes centres of appetites The right and duty or property of humanity requires first and foremost our survival However Locke is also at pains to state that once our own Preservation comes not into competition ought he as much as he can to preserve the rest of Mankind The extent to which I may exercise my political liberty to ensure my own survival therefore is constrained to the ability to which you may exercise yours Locke proposes that one must derive our political power as this is the state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit within the bounds of the law of nature There is no doubt that the society that transpires out of a Lockean government offers individuals some of the qualities that one would expect to find in a modern liberal democracy that are missing in a seventeenth century government However the overwhelming sense that one gets from reading
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