Hobbes’s Leviathan in Post 9/11 America

Topics: Thomas Hobbes, Political philosophy, United States Pages: 3 (837 words) Published: October 9, 2008
The “State of Nature” in this post-9/11 21st Century America is one of self-induced fear, not by the US citizens but by our president. With constant reminders of terrorist threats against the US, as well as the constant state of high alert, the president has placed Americans in a tough place. US citizens are in constant fear and are looking to their government for protection. This idea stems back to the writings of Hobbes in Leviathan. Hobbes critiques the effects of government, or as lack there of, on man and society.

Hobbes first describes man’s state of nature, in which he states that all men are by nature equal in their strengths as well as their minds. He states that even “the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination, or by confederacy with others, that are in the same danger as himself” (Hobbes, 1). This state of equality, however, creates considerable conflict between man because it leads people to seek power. He said ‘if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies” (1), at this point the men would “endeavour to destroy or subdue one another” (1). Hobbes believes that without some type of power to mediate between man, they will remain in this constant state of war, as well as in a state of “continual fear, and danger of violent death” (2). He believed that every man would become every man’s enemy because he felt that “the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (2).

Therefore, Hobbes’ belief of man’s “State of Nature” lead him to the idea that a central power, or government, was needed in order to unite man and prevent a constant state of war. This is some ways reflects the ideas of the president as well as many Americans. They believe that everyone should have a central, democratic government in order for them to get along in the world. Hobbes states that “where there is no common power, there is no law; where no law, no injustice” (2)....
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