The role of government in society has been debated all throughout recorded history. Many of the greatest mind of our past are still affecting the present with their thought and ideas. Thomas Hobbes and Jean Jacques Rousseau are two notable philosophers from two different times that have two different views of the responsibilities of our government. Rousseau view of government is that it is determined by the individual. He believed that this would be an ever-evolving social contract and subject to the intellectual growth of the individual.
Rousseau contended that government and laws are a hindrance, more or less, to a necessary uninhibited freedom by man to live life and pursue happiness (Rousseau, 2006). Hobbes a century earlier than Rousseau believed that man is inherently evil and that laws must exist, in the manifestation of government, to maintain order and civil obedience. Freedoms would be sacrificed by this model but he believed this would be essential for security. This assignment will look at the relevance of each philosopher’s point of view to some of the characters from the movie Grapes of Wrath.
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This assignment will address how the characters reflect the nature of government as the guarantor of peace and security, how the characters reflect the social obligation of government to its citizens and how the characters removed the chains of social convention and government imposition. “The Grapes of Wrath” and the Philosophies of Government The Grapes of Wrath is set in the sass’s during the time of the great depression. It follows the story of Tom Goad on his return from prison. He discovers that the depression has affected the whole town. The bank has forced his family out of their home.
There is little work for him and his family. The movie follows Tom and his family on a troubling Journey to California. They find themselves confronted with the hardships of being labeled underprivileged. The Grapes of Wrath is based on a novel by John Steinbeck. Thomas Hobbes philosophy on man’s nature and the importance of an established government is apparent throughout the movie. Corrupt law enforcement provides no security from crooked landowners, allowing them to pay substandard wages to migrant workers. Tom is a parolee. He was sent to prison for the murder off man he ad an altercation with.
During the trial Tom testified that it was self-defense. What should have been a happy return home was a shock when he finds his family poverty stricken and evicted from their home. He finds them living in a relatives house. The eventual reunion is interrupted by a subsequent eviction and the family is forced to travel west to California in search of employment (Snuck, 1967). Tom on his Journey to California finds himself and his family setting up in a Hoverfly. Hoverflies is full of starving people who have little left and who are fighting to feed their children.
Their tents are tattered, they live in makeshift shacks, and they are unkempt. The people in these places are willing to do anything to get what they need. They are policed by the people living in them. On the Journey to California the people in these camps get to know and trust one another. When this happens, they learn to create sophisticated little worlds in their campgrounds, replete with unspoken laws and codes that cannot be broken, and that, if broken, will result in either death or isolation. The worlds function as efficiently and as intricately as any town or city sight.
This is a good example that even a place where there is no government to keep the peace a government happens. Tom like many others on this Journey follow a code of conduct to keep themselves and their family safety and needs met as well as possible. This has shown that it is possible to follow an individual moral code when the government is unable to provide the security it has promised. On the journey, the breakdown of law and consequence lead to corruption and lawlessness. The laws that we live by only exist because we as a society have agreed on them.
If e deviate from those laws as they are written we face a consequence, Just as those who traveled with Tom and those in Hoverflies created consequences for breaking the laws created in their chaos. Tom finds hope at a government run camp called watched. He is able to find work and the camp provides security for his family. With the turmoil of his Journey so far this shows the notion that the government is the guarantor of peace and security. There is order in this camp and lawful abidance. There is also the promise to be prosperous, relatively speaking (Somers & Somers, 012).