The the ruler (the Leviathan) gets his power


The three enlightment philosophers in our readings are inrelative agreement that freedoms are unlimited in the State of Nature.

Thisstate (or lack thereof) however has no security, order, or accountablity. Forthis reason, despite the fact that he will have to comply with certain rules, theyprefer a social life which involves a social contract. A social contract isalmost a quid-pro-quo, if you will, where by the citizen gives up certainfreedoms in exchange for that security and order that is absent in a state ofnature. In every socialcontract, however, arises the prisoner’s dilemma. The prisoner’s dilemma is aconcept understood for ages, though was only coined as a term 1950 by threegame theorists in the RAND project.  Itbasically poses situation: if I give up my violent ways – but you don’t, I willnot be safe; therefore there must have some assurance that you have in factgiven up your violent ways as well.

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So in all instances there is some sort ofenforcement mechanism. In Hobbes’ case, itis the Leviathan. Hobbes holds a very According to Hobbes’ idea of humannature, people are innately evil, selfish, and self-righteous – and aretherefore prone to war in a state absent of governemtn (a state of nature). Hobbesattributes the tendency toward conflict to three reasons: competition,diffidence, glory. Hobbes believed it was necessary to have one,authority-holding power to maintain peace – though did not believe that a kingwas given his power and authority through God (as many at the time did. Instead,he said that the ruler (the Leviathan) gets his power from the freedoms whichthe people give up. The Leviathan then uses that power as his enforcementmechanism, by executing it when others act “unjustly” as Socrates would say.

Hobbes sees people as innately greedy and self-interested,and for that reason he believes that Leviathan is necessary to keep them tamedand to avoid quarrels. The three factors that lead to quarrel are competition,diffidence, glory. Hobbes believes the political society is needed tocounterbalance human nature. In Locke’s theory of the social contract, hisproposed enforcement mechanism is the responsibility of the masses rise up inresponse to violation of the contract. Locke believes that peopleare not innately evil, but that the only way to quell that evil is for societymembers to give up certain freedoms, in order to come together to fight thosewho transgress.

For example, if a government ignores, or violates the rights ofits people, it is the duty of that citizenry to revolt and create a new socialcontract, which respects their life, health, liberty, and possessions. Lockehas a better view of human nature, and a less “war-like” idea of the state ofnature. He believes that we are all the work of God, and as such everyone should respect each other. These rulesare determined by natural law.

In the case of nature, a person who is violatedis entitled to punish it. Everyone has the right to punish their attacker andto enforce the ‘law of nature.’ However, in nature, the right to punish thesepeople can lead to an extreme situation due to the inability of people to be impartialjudges, as well as other human tendencies such as revenge. The end result:confusion, irregularity, and irrationality. This is what leads people to establisha political society – to protect human nature. 

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