Thomas Hobbes-Civil Liberty V. Social Security

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Thomas Hobbes is as a pessimist who had major governmental upheaval during his time. This social unrest is what shaped his view of the balance between personal liberty and security. He believes that societies are in need of a strong rule, whether it be a monarch, dictator or oligarchy, but that humans are rational in their ideas and can comprehend a “Social Contract.” People are rational and clear about their interest and are able to govern themselves. At the same time, these people are bad and need strong laws to control and direct. As with most philosophers seeking to legitimatize their political conjectures, Hobbes developed his theory of the state of pre-political people. He hypothesized that all people are very individualistic, alone and solely self interested. With this, they are in a constant state of war; not necessarily fighting, but living with “the Will to contend in the nature of Warre; as is known in the nature of Weather” (Hobbes 133). Without safety or security, advancement of the Human Race is impossible, because if one’s focus is solely on survival, there is not time for culture, progress of the arts, record keeping or even social developments. This type of society is not acceptable, because even though all people are only looking out for themselves, they are not totally irrational should be willing to enter into some type of agreement to guarantee their protection. Using this idea of guaranteed protection, Hobbes developed his Social Contract Theory. In this, a sovereign is created that has complete power over all, but the power is distributed equally. The people to be ruled give their consent to be governed. So, those who were at the short end of the stick during the state of continual war because of lack of

physical strength are now on equal footing with those who are endowed with more muscle. With this grant of power, the sovereign is now above the rules set for the others. Hobbes’ contract was not to be made with the...
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