POLI 231 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Civil Society, Responsible Government, Free Market
Course CodePOLI 231
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01.27.2016 Lecture 8: Locke on Government
D. Limited Government:
1. Primary Threat to Individual’s Freedom (and/or Security)?
Who is the biggest threat?
Other Individuals, The Government and Intermediary Groups (Corporations)
Your answer to this has implications for the kind of government system in place.
Republicanism and Absolutism: Other Individuals
Strong government is necessary to solve problems
This view is also seen in nationalist movements
This view sees as other individuals as the biggest harm to an individual’s freedom and or
If this is the threat, then one must establish a government with strong laws, political
freedom and a responsible government
Liberalism: The Government
Locke supports this view
The government is the entity that wields a tremendous amount of power.
We disperse power, and not concentrate in the hands of a few.
1. Institutional separation of powers
Different actors in different levels have different regulations for different spheres of
politics in all three branches, judiciary, executive and legislative
Check and balance
2. Different Levels of Government
Federalism is superior to centralism
Check and balance between municipal, federal and provincial
One potential threat to the individual is the government itself.
3. Strong Groups other than the government: civil society and free market
Counter groups that limit the power of the government
Civil society – realm of secondary associations, such as unions, churches that together,
can form to keep the government in check from tyranny
Free market – a sphere where the individual can act without government interference
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