In the Second Treatise of Civil Government Locke begins by describing this thing he calls ‘The State of Nature’. In this state there are no rules; it’s every man for himself. It is a state in which humans rely on the strength of their bodies and the size of their clubs instead of their wit, cunning, teamwork, and communication skills to solve the trials and tribulations that we all must face along the path of life.
Although man has the ability to enjoy the complete freedom offered by the state of nature, freedom where the only obstacles one must conquer to fulfill any desire he may have are the limitations of his mind, body and mortal soul; he chooses to trade that absolute freedom for security. Man chooses to leave the barbaric state of nature for the more evolved elegant world that society offers. He chooses to trade some of his freedoms for security.
One particularly good example of a society in which man is forced to give up some freedom for security is the American society. Although we are “the land of the free”, we are forced to give up our absolute freedom for everything that our government provides for us. “In America, we are only limited by the freedom of other people.” (Citation needed). Of course, we do not mind giving up these freedoms. For example, I don’t mind that I’m not allowed to go around setting fires, not that I would if I could, because I know that means that my house will not be burned down because some idiot set a fire that got out of control. I also don’t mind paying taxes. We have to give up some of our property to the government in the form of taxes. I may not like paying takes, and I may complain about them sometimes, but, in the end, I don’t mind paying them. The government takes that money for good reasons though. We enjoy roads and public education and a strong army to protect us from aliens and zombies, don’t we? Well, the government needs to be able to pay for all that; so they tax us.
These are but a few examples of freedoms that we willingly give up in order to enjoy the safety of society. I think it is interesting though; that, in today’s world, you are born into society. Man no longer has the ability to choose between the state of nature and the confines of society; for, the choice no longer exists. I wonder: if the choice remained, would there be some who would choose to reside in the state of nature?