I have been presented with an essay question, "What does Locke mean by “trust,” and why is it so important to him?". It seems simple enough at first sight but as of my commencement of writing the essay five hours ago, the initial portion has stymied me. I can answer perfectly well why its so important but I cant for the life of me come up with an answer for "What does John Locke mean by "trust"".
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You can't over think this subject. Locke was a brilliant orator and writer; he did both with the intent that he's be understood by everyone. "Trust," is what we as people feel for our governments (remember this is 1690, but every word still applies). When a group of people come together and choose a governing body, when laws are made, they are to be made for the benefit of all involved.
The existence of a free community, equality for the members of that community, the freedom to acquire goods and property, are all intrinsic elements in Locke's writings. In order for these these things to grow within a community Locke concedes that it is necessary for some type of political body and rules to be implemented. The "trust" he speaks of is between those being governed by said political and those implementing the agreed upon laws. Locke believes that without the submission of the people......... submission in the form that there are certain natural rights that have to be checked, the community can't survive.
He also states that is the people's "trust" is at any time broken; the people have a right to rebel and replace it with a government that will respect its "trust." We trust our government to make the best decisions based on the whole.......... if you like, compare this to the way people see our government today, and the decisions that have been made for the whole that maybe the whole just doesn't support. The bailout, the Middle East, healthcare; how many people are upset with these governmental decisions? Would they be seen as a violation of trust? We trust our banks to make sure that our accounts are safe; we trust our doctors to make the best decisions about our health; should we expect any less from our government? After all, in essence, they're all on our payroll.
Second Treatise of Civil Government