Hobbes' thesis that the natural state of man is chaos and war is the primary justification he provides for an all encompassing authority to be placed unalterably in the hands of the Sovereign, or Leviathan. What he neglects to address is the absolutely corrupting influence such power has on the all too human Kings, Queens, and legislative bodies which hold such power over their fellow creatures.
There is a saying that if men were were angels we would not need government, or if that angels administered man's government then we would not need to worry as to constraining them. But neither of these delusions can be ever be achieved by fallible man, no matter how much certain individuals may otherwise hope. You cannot legislate morality and you cannot make men charitable by forcing them to give. And much to the annoyance of Plato, no amount of education or cultural refinement can immunize man to the ever present threats of avarice, arrogance, and blind ambition. There must be checks on this power if men are to retain their hard-fought liberty and if the ultimate power of the government is to maintain its rightful abode with the People.
As we in America have learned, there is a concept of government much more attuned to the particulars of human nature than the false bravado of Leviathan. It is limited government, where every individual choose for himself what he thinks is best, to the degree that he does not infringe on the natural rights of his fellows. Freedom of oppression from the government is our nation's calling card, and it has empowered and enriched man to a degree never before imagined. It seems that man's natural state, when guaranteed certain inalienable rights, was far flung indeed from an interminable warfare on his neighbors.
So, Hobbes had a lot to learn but perhaps not the opportunity to do so. However, I did enjoy and learn much from him in his thorough and unbiased defense of his monarchical position using the Scriptures. He has an immense mastery of them, and cuts through some of the more confusing points of contention between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. He even goes so far as to address the varying degrees of heaven, the existence (or not) of an everlasting Hell, and Baptism for the Dead. It provided me with an excellent base from which to further understand the faith of the early American colonists and the churches they established in the lead-up to the American Revolution.
Still, this is one of the more difficult books on this subject I've yet to slog through and so be warned that you may want to start with some lighter tomes on this subject.
- Publisher: Wilder Publications (2007)
- ASIN: B01FRYIDBQ
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