The Good Versus Evil Nature of People

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Are people born good or evil? Ever since the mid 16th-1700s it has been debated if people are naturally good or evil. Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher, who is credited to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan, which proposed a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes believed that people are evil and nasty, and that we need government to keep us in check. And John Locke, who was also an English philosopher around the 1700s, Believed that all people are good, equal, independent, and had the right to life, liberty and property. In my opinion, people can be both ways, they have the choice to be either good or evil.

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You cannot be born evil. You can’t be born evil because when you’re born, you are just a baby, and you didn’t do anything. You also don’t know anything or even know right from wrong. According to, people studied toddlers to see at what age do they show “good behavior. They did this by using “babies less than a year old were made to watch a puppet show where different coloured shapes acted in ways that were clearly recognisable as morally right or wrong. A red circle is shown struggling to climb a hill while an “evil” blue square tries to push it back down. Meanwhile, “good” yellow triangle attempts to help the red circle by pushing it up [with an latter]. After the play, the babies were asked which shape they wanted to play with: evil blue square or good yellow triangle”( The babies all picked the shape that performed with good behavior. This experiment shows that as little as 7 months old, we choose to do good behavior.

Although this may be, there are still some people who did despicable things to others. For an example, Adolph Hitler. Hitler constructed the deaths of millions of people, just because they were Jewish. Another prime example are mass shootings. From 2009 to 2017, there have been roughly 173 mass killings in the U.S itself. These two examples show that not everybody is good.

Hobbes once said that life without government would be, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. I also believe this. Before 2004, the people of Somalia (a country in Africa) lived more than a decade in an Anarchy. Abdow Vingaker once said, “I am from Somalia and to live without government is the most dangerous system”. Life in Somalia was very harsh for its citizens. Many people live in refugee camps, children sell nuts in the streets to make money, and people were often kidnapped. Also, Only 15% of primary aged school children actually had the opportunity to go to school ( Somalia is a huge example of why we need government to function and have a happy and healthy environment.

For all these reasons that I stated, people have the option to either be good or evil. Even though studies showed that you can’t be born evil, overtime society changes us to do things so despicable even we would’ve never thought they would have ever happened. You cannot be born with a mindset of malice nor can you be born with nothing but good intentions but over time that may change. When born they are like a clean canvas but due to their perspective on situations they are presented with, which may be the things they see and hear which leave an impression on them or the conditions of how they were brought up they are morphed and changed to fit their surroundings had molded themselves.

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