John Locke and the Tacit Consent Theory. - Essay Example

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John Locke and the Tacit Consent Theory.

John Locke’s Theory of Tacit Consent is actually necessary but should not be the only basis of the legitimacy of a government. According to John Locke, the so-called Tacit Consent Theory refers to the notion that “one can only become a full member of society by an act of express consent” (Tuckness), which may translate as “simply by walking along the highways of a country a person gives tact consent to the government and agree to obey it while living in its territory” (Tuckness). This is, in fact, a rather self-explanatory definition of tacit consent. The point of Locke then is that “a government can only be legitimate when its citizens have consented to it” (Greenwood). Tacit consent, therefore, becomes for Locke an implication or indication not only of consent but also of obligation. This means that the idea of being in a particular place implies two things – that one “voluntarily” or “tacitly” consents to being under the governance of the law of that place, and that one therefore is obliged to follow the law of that place. Furthermore, this obligation to the law is also tantamount to consenting to be subject to the sanctions that will result if the law is not followed. This idea – the Tacit Consent Theory, however, no matter how logical it may sound, lends itself to several flaws. ...
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John Locke was not only an authority in epistemology and metaphysics but also an expert in political philosophy. His Theory of Tacit Consent has brought about a political controversy not only among the intellectuals of his day but also among contemporary philosophers like Rawls, Nozick and Simmons…
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