From the Neanderthals to the 21st century people have come together-- initially to survive, and later on to live, prosper, and thrive. Integral to the success is the creation of governance and rule of law. Although the rule of law stifles the rights of the individual, governments must create order to provide equality, opportunity, and wealth for their citizens. Political theorist like Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hobbs, and John Locke have expressed the importance of both human rights and the laws that defend them. Each person discusses how much power should a government have over the individual rights of their people. While the rulers and the ruled seem to antagonize each other, a balance should be created so that both government and the people benefit from each other enforcing the law and protecting the individual rights. It is, after all, in a government’s best interest to keep the people content, because with out people to govern, there is no government.
The logical possibility for people in a state of nature would be to willingly assemble and form a state. John Locke believed that individuals in a state of nature would be bound morally, by the law of nature, and would not harm each other in their lives or possession. However, without government to defend them against those seeking to injure or enthrall them, people would have no security from the violation of their rights. John Locke argued that individuals would agree to form a state that would provide a "neutral judge", acting to protect the life, liberty, and property of those who lived within it. To ensure communal prosperity and safety, laws and regulations were enacted that would at the same time, repress individual’s right to complete freedom. When writing about terrorism and how it affects human rights in the United States, James A. Piazza wrote that governments cannot maximize both security and human rights. This trade-off of security and liberty exists because rights and liberties interfere with the authority’s ability to wage an effective counter-terrorism campaign. Similarly, Grant Wardlaw said “ the difficulty for democratic states is that attempts to limit the freedom of action of terrorists necessarily impact adversely on a wider group of people, interfering with the liberties enjoyed by many citizens.” In other words, to protect the country from terrorism, the government invades the right of privacy. Another example of government attempting to impose rules for the better of society was obvious last month. Indeed, it would be hard not to miss in current news discussion of outlawing certain firearms in the United States. Some citizens claim they have the right to bare arms as a way to defend themselves while others assert firearms are to be banned to protect others from injury. In a country where liberty and repression of rights is more or less balanced, should the government take away the right to bare arms, for the safety of others, or should it keep the current law so that citizens can defend themselves from a tyrannical government? The idea that the right of gun ownership could be repressed for the well-being of others supports Grant Wardlaw’s comment. Just as terrorism poses a threat to the country, gun ownership poses a threat to the safety of the country’s citizens. However, without proper checks and balances, governments could overstep their authority and claim more than necessary. It is not humane in any way to repress all rights as many dictatorships do, especially those that endanger the lives of it’s citizens because as Rawls suggests in A Theory of Justice, everyone has rights to certain aspects of life including life itself. Governments that have full authority over its people typically do not have the people in mind, sometimes forcing people to live in disturbing conditions and fear. In June of 2008, looming food deficits and increased flight from North Korea resulted in a “shoot on sight”