Today’s Shared Post_Link: 02 April 2017

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Published Date: 04.02.2017 

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“Thomas Hobbes writes in Leviathan that in order to rid ourselves of the state of nature and create a peaceful society, we must engage in social contracts with each other by allowing a sovereign to make decisions for all people as a group, which would limit our individual freedoms. According to him, this is the only way to ensure the safety of the people. In traditional cases, this would mean creating an autocracy, which seems outdated in our modern world.

When taken out of their original contexts, however, Hobbes’ ideas are still mostly relevant. For example, when Hobbes wrote that a state must be under the control of a sovereign in order to ensure peace for the people, he was referring to a monarch or dictator. This does not prove applicable to society in the United States today, but if we expand the idea of a sovereign past its traditional definition, it is suddenly relatable to all sorts of modern political thoughts.

This concept can be applied to the United States’ government, for example. We are by no means an autocracy, but that doesn’t mean we are in a state of anarchy either. It could be that, although we have no king or dictator, the people are still under the rule of a sovereign. In this case, it could be said that the Constitution is sovereign because it lays out a complex structured government with laws to control the population. This means that the real sovereign is the will of the people, since the Constitution was created by and agreed upon by citizens themselves.


… Even though Leviathan was written hundreds of years ago, Hobbes’ theories still apply to the modern world today when taken out of their original context and most likely will remain relevant for many years to come because although political ideas come and go, human nature has and will remain generally unchanged…


If the idea of a sovereign is expanded even further yet, it is possible to come to the conclusion that individuals could have personal nonpolitical sovereigns to draw them out of a state of nature just as effectively as a political sovereign. Although Hobbes argues strongly against it, I think the idea of a higher being or God is a great example of this concept. Hobbes believed that a belief in God would not have the sufficient control necessary to pull a person out of the state of nature because he or she would still primarily follow his or her own judgment. However, I would like to argue that religion actually does act as a sovereign in the lives of many individuals today. In lots of different religions, God has laid out a set of detailed rules for His people to follow. For example, followers of both the Christian and Jewish faiths dedicate themselves to obeying the Ten Commandments. Citizens of the United States have no political reason to follow these commands because they are not laws of the nation and so there are no legal consequences. However, many people do obey these orders because they believe they are under the rule of a higher power.

Both of these contemporary sovereigns still operate under Hobbes’ idea of social contracts. In the case of the United States’ government, citizens agree to give up their individual freedoms so that the population can be free as a whole. Although this agreement results in diminished freedoms, it creates a more peaceful society than would be possible without government and still leaves considerably more freedom than would be allowed in an autocracy. In religion, followers form a different sort of social contract with other people of the same faith and with God in which they agree to follow the commandments of the Lord in order to assure peaceful lives (and after-lives, in some cases).

Even though Leviathan was written hundreds of years ago, Hobbes’ theories still apply to the modern world today when taken out of their original context and most likely will remain relevant for many years to come because although political ideas come and go, human nature has and will remain generally unchanged.

Read the article with comments click original source: 

Does Hobbes’ idea of a sovereign still apply today? by Allie Freed at Intro to Political Theory Blog 

Read relevant  article about Hobbes please follows following links: 

1. Archive for the ‘Hobbes’ in Intro to Political Theory Blog category;
2. Leviathan Reality and Hobbes World (First Chapter) ⇒ Kirno Sohochari;
Photo Credit: macat: profound quotes; quotes about friendship: thomas hobbes quotes on human-nature
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