more from John Locke

Single Idea 6702

[catalogued under 25. Society / B. The State / 2. State Legitimacy / d. Social contract]

Full Idea

Every man, that hath an possession, or enjoyment, of any part of the dominions of any government, doth thereby give his tacit consent, and is obliged to obedience to the laws, ..whether it be barely travelling on the highway.


'Tacit' means unspoken

Gist of Idea

If anyone enjoys the benefits of government (even using a road) they give tacit assent to its laws


John Locke (Second Treatise of Government [1690], 119), quoted by Gordon Graham - Eight Theories of Ethics Ch.8

Book Reference

Graham,Gordon: 'Eight Theories of Ethics' [Routledge 2004], p.166

A Reaction

Locke's famous assertion of an unspoken and inescapable contract, to which we are all subject. Hume gave an effective reply (Idea 6703). Locke has a point though. The more you accept, the more obliged you are. I accept the law more as I get older.

Related Ideas

Idea 21035 Just visiting (and using roads) is hardly ratifying the Constitution [Sandel]