Locke, N. Africa and Middle East protests
As unrest continues to spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, I debated over what John Locke would think about the current uprisings. Locke clearly is in favor of rule by the majority and would not support the various autocratic governments. People enter into a society, giving up their freedom and natural rights,because the ruling body promises to act in the best interest of all people that consent to join the commonwealth. The unrest that has plagued these various countries is rooted in the governments failure to protect the common welfare of its people. Corruption, human rights abuses, unemployment, and the lack of providing basic services to its citizens has led to the people of these nations to call for change.
I believe that Locke would justify the protests and the call for reform by the people of nations such as Libya, Yemen and Bahrain because the common authority in these nations has not acted justly and has infringed upon the freedoms of the people. Therefore, it would be reasonable to think that Locke would argue they have no choice but to in an act of self-preservation demand reform. The lack of free elections, most recently in Iran in 2009, contradicts the purpose of the election process itself. If the majority can not justly determine the authority who will oversee and protect the majority’s well being, the elections serve no benefical purpose for the commonwealth. Clearly Locke could find fault in all of these governments and unlike Hobbes who we concluded opposes revolution, would be in favor of arguably all the North African and Middle East uprisings. Addtionally, Locke would approve of Bahrain’s response to the unrest, who has begun dialogue with opposition groups, over a country like Libya which has promised to restore order through force at “any price”. The son of Libya’s leader, Moammar Gadhafi, responded to the unrest with this comment, “Each one of us wants to be a leader, each one of us wants to be a prince”( From article, Libyan leader’s son blames criminals, foreigners and warns of chaos by CNN wire staff, 2.20.11). I believe that Locke would criticize Gadhafi’s interpretation of the uprisings and instead argue that the people dont want to rule or become prince, they simply want their natural rights protected and their freedom ensured.
Do you agree that Locke would be in favor of the Middle East and North African uprisings. Voice your opinion.