Freedom and Authority
Write a 2-3-page essay on a selected issue related to the tension between individual freedom and social institutions.
There is a very delicate balance between the freedoms that individuals enjoy in society and the authority that governs them. Benjamin Franklin (1755) addressed this in a now-famous quote: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Key ethical theorists Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau considered the relationship between individuals and their governments and social institutions in terms of social contract theory. This suggests that a person’s ethical and political responsibilities are based on understood agreements (with government, with social institutions, with each other) that shape society. As you prepare for this assessment, you will consider examples of the balance (and sometimes tension) between individual freedom and social institutions and choose one to address in an essay.
Political philosophy concerns itself with the formation and maintenance of civil societies. Its central theme is the need to explain the relationship between individual human beings and their governments. You have been considering several specific examples of the tension between individual freedom and social institutions. From among those examples, you have chosen one as the focus for your own views on freedom and authority.
Your assessment is to write an essay assessing the issue you selected, both in terms of versions of social contract theory proposed by Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and from your own view of the proper relation between society and the individual.
Address the following concepts in your essay:
Explain the ethical basis for the relation of individuals to their government
Describe the theories of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau about how societies are organized.
Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the theories in justifying the imposition of authority over individuals.
Apply these social contract theories to the issue you have selected.
Your instructor may provide video feedback on your work, as well as completing the official scoring guide for the assessment.
Written communication: Ensure written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA formatting: Format resources and citations according to current APA style guidelines.
Number of resources: Use your judgment to ensure your topic is thoroughly researched. There is no minimum number of resources required, however.
Length of paper: Submit 2-3 typed, double-spaced pages.
Font and font size: Use Arial, 12-point font.