Comparing Leviathan to the Realities of Modern Day
Hobbes, through the existence of a symbolic Leviathan, argues that human flourishing cannot take place without the rule of an absolute monarch, also referenced as a sovereign—a living body consisting of citizens, where the ruler of the commonwealth is chosen and followed faithfully by the people through a covenant (Hobbes 160). Although Hobbes felt that absolute rule was necessary in the course of the civil war he authored during, history tells us through economic prosperity and levels of overall happiness in a population that citizens who are given more freedom show higher levels of human flourishing than those of governments closer to an absolute sovereignty. It is essential to understand the circumstances in which Hobbes lived through during his authoring of Leviathan to fully grasp the extent of which his passages should be applied. Factions forming for and against the Cromwellian powers in England fueled Hobbes’ desire to write a case persuading a torn Britain to turn back to a monarchy (Hodges 1). Hobbes ultimately felt (as expressed through Leviathan) that submission of all men to a monarch would allow for protection of its citizens from chaos, seen in his claim that “The only way to erect such a common power, as may be able to defend [men] from the invasion of foreigners, and the inquiries of one another... is to confer all their power and strength upon one man, or upon one assembly of men...”(Hobbes 118). Hobbes believed that a monarchy would fundamentally restore peace to a corrupt England, a statement quite plausible considering the inimical rule under Oliver Cromwell. However, applying ideals reliant upon a specific history to a world that constantly experiences modernization and globalization creates error in interpretation, for the Hobbesian concept of ideal government is inapplicable to the political bodies we experience today. Recognizing that Leviathan was written during a time of...
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