return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 19904

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 5. Leaders / c. Despotism]

Full Idea

Captives, taken in a just and lawful war, and such only, are subject to a despotical power, which, as it arises not from compact, so neither is it capable of any, but is the state of war continued.

Gist of Idea

Legitimate prisoners of war are subject to despotism, because that continues the state of war


John Locke (Second Treatise of Government [1690], 205)

A Reaction

How long after a war finishes is such despotism legitimate? What happened to the German prisoners in Russia in 1945? Locke defined despotism as the right to kill, but that is expressly contrary to the rules of war, look you.

Book Reference

Locke,John: 'Two Treatises of Government' [Everyman 1988], p.205

Related Idea

Idea 19903 Despotism is arbitrary power to kill, based neither on natural equality, nor any social contract [Locke]