The use of physical violence towards other people is usually taken by the general public as an act of aggression with negative connotations.
However, there are times when the use of violence is a necessary action when there are no other alternatives available to being unjustly treated. Three philosophers, John Locke, Karl Marx, and Thomas Paine, believed that only through physical violence could a better social order be created. This paper will seek to defend and justify the application of physical violence against other people through the works of these three thinkers and conclude by revealing the context of violence through economic, political and social patterns.
In John Locke's civil society, the people submit natural freedoms to the common laws of the society; in return, they receive the protection of the government. By coming together, the people create an executive power to enforce the laws and punish offenders. The people entrust these laws and the executive power with authority. When, either through an abuse of power or an impermissible change, these governing bodies cease to represent the people and instead represent either themselves or some foreign power, the people may, and indeed should, rebel against their government and replace it with one Locke then defines war as a state of “enmity and destruction” brought about by one person’s pre-meditated attempts upon another’s life. The law of self-preservation, integral to the law of nature, dictates that a person may kill another person in self- defense. This definition rests upon the presumption that any aggression by one person against another constitutes a challenge to that person’s freedom. By this reasoning, one can justifiably kill a thief since an attack on one’s property represents a threat to one’s liberty.
It should be noted that Locke’s use of the term “war” really means “conflict,” since he addres…