In the modern day and age, government has become increasingly important because of the availability of resources and the speed at which information can travel. The principles and ideals which the U.S. government is founded on, and even the ideas that the Founding Fathers expressed in their creation of our government, originate from the philosophies of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Without their brilliant thinking, America would not be as it is today – the pinnacle of democracy and freedom. Hobbes was the first of the three thinkers to extend his ideas off of Machiavelli's Leviathan.
Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are two theorists known for their views regarding the social contract. Both theorists study the origins of government and the level of authority given to the state over individuals, thoroughly constructing their arguments through the social contract. A philosophical approach was used in both Hobbes’s and Locke’s arguments, however supporting different authorities. Thomas Hobbes advocates for absolutism whilst John Locke advocates for a constitutional government. Through the close examination of the state of nature, the relationships between subject and sovereign and views regarding the social contract, one can observe a more sensible basis for constructing a successful political society.
The anarchist’s challenge states that there is no explicit need for governmental organization and the social contract is limiting individuals from reaching pure freedom. Anarchy literally translates to “without government.” Theorists like William Godwin and Max Striner argued that the individual is sovereign. Their emphasis is on complete autonomy of the individual, rather than the State of Society; this distinguished them from later anarchist thinkers, such as Michael Bakunin and George Woodcock (Carter, 1971). These Anarchist theorists truly believe that anarchy is the best option for people, and it is only without government that people can be free. Anarchists fundamentally object to the notion of a social contract and promote the freedom of the individual. Hobbes’ social contract theory provides a compelling answer to the anarchist’s challenge through his explanation of the state of nature and his solution being an absolute sovereign; furthermore, this argument is supported with historical examples.
Thomas Hobbes has been famous for his philosophies on political and social order. In many of his scholastic works, he maintains the position that in the presence of a higher authority the duty of the rest of mankind is to simply obey. The discourse on this essay will focus on his views expressed in his book The Leviathan. In this book Hobbes’ views are fundamentally entrenched in his description that in a society with no higher authority life would be nasty, short and brutish (?).This essay will engage in discussion by first laying out the conceptual arguments of anarchy and the human state of nature. Secondly, it will assess some of the opponent views to repressive government being the sure maintenance of political and social order. Furthermore an assessment of whether the theories of Hobbes are still relevant to the current understanding of International Relations considering the events and processes in this particular stage.
When comparing the two different accounts of English philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke we must take into consideration a number of things such as the age in which they lived and the time in which they produced their philosophical writings. We will however find out that these two philosophers actually have a couple of things in which agree on even though most of their opinions clash. On one side we have Thomas Hobbes who lived in the time of the English Civil War (1642-1651) who provides a negative framework for his philosophical opinions in his masterpiece Leviathan and who advocates for philosophical absolutism . On the other side we have John Locke, living during the glorious revolution (1688-1689) he presents a positive attitude in his book The Second Treatise of Government and advocates for philosophical and biblical constitutionalism.
One his theories, stated in his book called Leviathan said that people are not able rule themselves because of how selfish mankind is and they need to be ruled by an iron fist. His political theory was that was also stated in Leviathan was that we should respect government authority under all circumstances to avoid violence. Hobbes was scared of the outcome of the social contract which meant people could get rid of the government if they were unhappy with what they were getting. In order to make well with the social contract he states in Leviathan that people should be completely obedient to the government. His reasoning was that if there was no government, there would be chaos.
DeAndre’ Royster Simple,and Exclusive The natural state of mankind before forming a government. Hobbes and Locke both believed in a state of nature. They also both believed in a social contract. Hobbes wanted a government to protect people from each other.
The Enlightenment: Hobbes vs. Locke Two famous philosophers, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, have contributed to modern political science by expressing their views on human nature and the general laws that man had to follow. Both of their views differed in terms of how man should live his life. These views will be shown by comparing both philosophers’ opinions on the nature of man, and the various laws that constituted. Man was naturally evil, selfish, and living in a state of war, according to Hobbes. He believed that “humans were created “bad” by their creator”, and were “condemned to live in a world where bad things happen” (The Enlightenment, 1650-1789, p. 6).
According to Hobbes, a sovereign, whether the sovereign was placed into power by violence or force, is the only way to secure law and order. For him, if a citizen obeys the sovereign for fear of punishment or in the fear of the state of nature, it is the choice of the citizen. According to Hobbes, this is not tyranny; it is his idea of a society that is successful, one that does not have room for democracy. As a realist, Hobbes has a fierce distrust of democracy and viewed all of mankind in a restless desire for power. If the people are given power, law and order would crumble in Hobbes’ eyes.
Summary Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) theory of social contract, which states that we need moral, legal rules because we want to escape the state of nature which is solitary, poor, brutal, nasty, and short. In this state, a man can kill others, and there are limited resources. This can soon lead to a state of war in which we are constantly disposed to harm others to achieve our goals. So, in this state of war if a person was to possess a beautiful house or property, and had all the comforts, luxuries, and amenities to lead a wonderful life; others could come and harm him and deprive him of his fruit of labor, life, and liberty. Therefore, the state of nature is that of fear, violence, and distrust.
Thomas Hobbes proposed that the ideal government should be an absolute monarchy as a direct result of experiencing the English Civil War, in which there was internal conflict between the parliamentarians and the royalists. Hobbes made this claim under the assumption that an absolute monarchy would produce consistent policies, reduce conflicts and lower the risk of civil wars due to the singular nature of this ruling system. On another hand, John Locke counters this proposal with the view that absolute monarchies are not legitimate as they are inconsistent with the state of nature. These two diametrically opposed views stem from Hobbes’ and Locke’s different understandings of human nature, namely with regard to power relationships, punishment, and equality in the state of nature. Hobbes’ belief that human beings are selfish and appetitive is antithetical with Locke’s contention that human beings are intrinsically moral even in the state of nature, which results in Locke’s strong disagreement with Hobbes’ proposed absolute monarchy.
Thomas Hobbes in his Leviathan and Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Discourse on Inequality and Social Contract each attempt to explain the rise of and prescribe the proper management of human society. At the foundation of both philosophies is the principle that humans are asocial by nature, a precept each philosopher interprets and approaches in a different way. Hobbes states that nature made humans relatively “equal,” and that “every man is enemy to every man.” Life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” he says, and “every man has right to everything.” Rousseau outlines primitive asocial man having “everything necessary for him to live in the state of nature” from “instinct alone,” and being “neither good nor evil.” In contrast to Hobbes, who argues social bonds form to regulate human nature, Rousseau argues that the formation of the civil state results from and in a “change in man,” that humans must of necessity be denatured in the process of forming society. There are similarities between the two’s philosophies, but it is Rousseau, through his arguments that human nature can be changed, who articulates a political vision more consistent with the claim that humans are asocial by nature.