Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy has been viewed by theorists as one that sought reconciliation of equality of justice with equality of wealth, status and education (Sparks & Isaacs 83). As argued by Hobbes’ advocates, he placed political leadership in similar class as top religious leadership; one that was to bind the community and whose law was to be ascribed from scriptures. According to Sparks & Isaacs (2004), Hobbes’ civil society was absolutely unnatural and it lacked intrinsic regulatory force. Moreover, its dependence on an artificial sovereign was doubtless (p.69).
Hobbes allowed that private rights were largely governed by natural law and that aggregation of individuals created a pool of power that determined sovereignty. Though the sovereign depended on the private power of a civil society, ability to compel the ruled was inadequate. It is at this point that Hobbes praised the need for unity between the sovereign and its subjects through establishment of a publicly instituted ego, though this view was criticized as naive.
Hobbes’ ardent belief in religious and spiritual values led to conviction that a peaceful political society would sustain itself through proper interpretation of the Scriptures. He was convinced that believers would glue their private rights to form a Christian commonwealth. He believed this would be under a sovereign governor of their rights. His bearing was that all authority, including the religious one, would rest on the sovereign who would interpret the Scriptures according to God’s law thus holding Christian rights together in a respectful manner. Although Hobbes’ political community was highly criticized, a critical analyst would be fast to acknowledge his realism in true and feasible political order.
Unlike the democratic ideology of Hobbes, Aristotle viewed a free society as the one whose people lived for their own sake and never for interests of others. He also believed that democracy increased a number of anti-constitution radicals within a state (Rosler 157). Contrastingly, ancient principles by Aristotle presented liberty as freedom from any external impediments, such as constitution, for example, whereby a free society would view authoritative legislation as a barrier to liberty. This founded the notion that constitution would be seen as a trumpet for spreading slavery. In essence, Aristotle’s world was the one manageable by constitutions while safeguarding security and social welfare. Thus he suggested neutral freedom. In particular, he emphasized that freedom to do whatever one feels like doing left the society defenseless of ubiquitous sins of all human beings (Rosler 157). Hobbes’ tenets of commonwealth were a basis of a true political community, and they seem to be taking the modern political order.
Similarly, despite the fact many ancient philosophers had little if any at all mention of women subject in their works, Plato’s philosophy pioneered a contemporary bearing of significance of women in the society. Although Plato was skeptical in discussing the women question, his thinking encapsulated a feeling that although not all women could share social political powers with men, some were competent enough to hold public appointments (Buchan 3). Plato’s mention of the women subject did not appear to be serious, but later theorists like Marx dwelled on his principles to found the basis for modern feminism.
Women’s subordination to men, according to both medieval and even modern theorists, was an essential prerequisite for men’s freedom thus promoting reinforcement to overall liberty in the society. Women suffrage not only served the right conditions for men to rule well, but it also allowed theorists to define and conceptualize freedom without conflictions - the one that is free from external impediments and realizes true desire.
Modern theories addressing the issue of women are rooted in the Marx socialism theories in spite of the fact his works lacked systematic analysis of the gender infringement. Though Hobbs’ political works offered limited theoretical guidance on the women’s plight and their liberation, his brand of socialism formed a platform for feminist discourses of the nineteenth and twentieth century (Kramarae & Spender 1309).
The modern thinking of an oppressed woman and liberalization of women is founded in the Marxist theorem. The modern theory substantially borrows from Marx’s though that sexual relationships and other tenets which underpin family could be challenged and the false belief of the doctrine of freedom only for men was an oppressive gospel. Though Marxist theorem was a discourse to argue the space of women in economic development, it has been and continues to be the driver of feminist socialism which creates agencies for defense and realization of true liberty for women.
Although Plato and Hobbes thrived in different schools, the congruence of their ideologies culminates in common views that the passions and appetites are essentially insatiable; and that political power is crucial for managing eruption of civic uproars. The two theorists asserted that human desires and anxiousness form a complexion of demands that are usually conflicting. They also spoke about meanness of the mankind characterized by confounded inability of meeting all the demands; therefore an authority to rule over people’s ways and behavior was necessary. Both theorists seemed to agree on the argument of divine creation of the human heart; which they saw as a house of innumerable and irresistible affections.
Plato and Hobbes, for instance, argue that human soul is crowned with fear, irrational sense, love and reason, all of which result in appetites and passions with conflicting time series responses. They view the human soul as individualistic and egocentric, guided by desire to fulfill its needs at the expense of others (Plato 145); and they further assert that these functions often cause conflicts between people.
Plato and Hobbes compare individuals and the state, reflecting the masses of people within one state- an institution that maintains the rule of law within people and may often be a target of hate and anger from its subjects. If allowed, absolute freedom would discharge their urges as they wish. This will happen regardless of their sinful characters for the sake of obtaining satisfaction. It will undoubtedly make people ungovernable, and the state will collapse. Plato and Hobbes basically founded their doctrine of unquenchable appetites and passions on state and its citizens, although Hobbes seemed to settle on private rights to analyze the natural series of occurrence of an appetite and corresponding counter emotions.
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Hobbes based his account of insatiable appetites and passions on his observation that appetite and fear operate alternately until deliberation results or occurrence of an accident that makes the series impossible to complete (James 272). He advocates for proper interpretation of God’s law to manage human desires if sovereign control of Christian common rights was to be done in a sustainable manner. However, Plato’s stand can be viewed as a position that criticizes Hobbes’ arguments asserting that they were naive in that simple belief that conflicts between the ruler and the ruled could be averted by simply following the God’s law. Plato’s criticism rests on the idea that Natural law was ambiguous in the way that it did not distinguish God’s law from civil law.
Hobbes argued for a peaceful state whose private rights would be glued under common religious and spiritual beliefs thus forming what he called Christian commonwealth. Hobbes showed no favor with authoritarian leadership; he, however, argued for sovereignty founded on the correct interpretation of the Scriptures to formulate a Godly political power that he deemed the best custodian of Christian rights. His observations differed from those of Plato in the way that totalitarianism was not considered the best approach to a free political society.
However, both Hobbes and Machiavelli based their principles on the very natural law they believed governed all animals and descended from unseen but powerful God. They concurred on elusiveness of God Who tied human soul with commandments through an innate ability to influence human mind thus inducing faith and obedience that necessitate adherence to law and order.
Hobbes categorically insisted that God gave laws of nature for the mankind to exist in harmony and work for the common good, while ensuring that He commanded authority as He was never visible. It was purposefully done to tame the unsatisfactory nature of human desires which are insatiable. Hobbes theory appeared to argue for authoritarianism on account that political power had always been needed to withhold some liberties for the sake of unity of citizens. He further asserted that individual thoughts and desires were unique and the natural phenomenon of language barrier augmented the inability of treating any group of citizens with desired satisfaction. Hobbes defied absolute liberalism in the way that differences were imminent amongst humans and incompatibility of appetites overruled feasibility of democratic excellence (Flathman 11). In his view, just like Machiavelli, principalities were the only sort of governance that would concentrate power to central point for the sake of limiting occurrence of chaos in a state.
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In similar observations, Machiavelli advocated for principalities and monarchs which would be protected and a kingdom that would define the law and social order for its people (Machiavelli & Rebhorn 30). This was seen as a feasible way of maintaining the naturalness of mankind for the sake of common good. However, Machiavelli emerged as a critical challenger of the principalities since he saw them as brewers of unsatisfied subjects. He justified his stand by the frequent invasion of kingdoms by external forces at the request of oppressed subjects. He ironically advocated for republican governance, whose political power he saw more accommodative for citizens. Therefore, though founded on natural law, Hobbes’ and Machiavelli’s opinions on political governments ended in different perspectives.
In the context of liberty it can be stated that many medieval theorists seem to have advocated liberty founded on guidance of natural law. However, the philosophers viewed freedom from a different perspective; for instance Hobbes argued for pleasure which he viewed as the best for a happy and free society while Mills had inclinations on communal liberty which undermined the need for individual rights.
Hobbes was an ardent advocate of individual happiness and his followers exercised prudence in politics seeking answers to specific socio economic matters at a time. Though Locke and Mills had similar goals of liberalized society with legitimate authorities, Mills’ thinking was oriented to anarchy whereby the monarchs would accrue benefits from loyalists without working for it. On the other hand, Locke advocates tended to favor a free society where everyone is involved in decision making and wealth created by hard work from all, though his love for property was seen by many as defective politically in the sense that his disciples unethically worshiped wealth (Rusell 587)
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Although Hobbes’ and Mill’s theories sought liberty for people, Hobbes’ democratic society would bear elements of inequality: property would eventually accumulate to few, while Mill’s approach was destructive in terms of bestowing power on communal aggregations without reserving room for private liberty (Fitzpatrick 1). Both Hobbes’ and Mill’s political doctrines advocated devolved governance where the power lies with the masses. However, Mill’s principle was defective stating that social injustices were amplified by the fact that the communal unity held strong influence – so strong that the pressure tortured individuals coercing them to surrender their rights in order to wrath of the majority.
Alternatively, Hobbes and Rousseau had commonness that was elusive in other theorists in their approach to the state nature; Rousseau seems to have had the best argument for development of a political society where all groups have equal opportunities of realizing true freedom and happiness. Rousseau was a strong critic of his predecessors as he accused them of piling on historical claims instead of working towards targeted hypothetical scenario beyond simple assertions that social groupings were aroused by state of nature. He sought more light to understand the genesis of inequality as he believed that equality was a basic necessity for cooperation in achieving the common good of the mankind.
Though the philosopher consents with existence of nature, he claims that human beings existence is led in total ignorance of it and they could not discern any difference between them to a point of comparison within which they would see each other as enemies. He views development of society as a complex phenomenon that is underpinned by multistage of transition. For instance, Rousseau points that the original state of nature comprised people who lived independently of each other and would only come into contact monetarily and by pure chance; and that women would meet men in these nomadic scenarios and mate, with the full ability to bring up the young alone and letting them go when they became of age. He argues that union between man and woman was not essential and was not a result of nature. This precludes an observation that if monogamous nuclear families were a result of nature then so would be civil institutions and, the arts and commerce (Scott 134).
The discourse of state of nature or a natural condition as a genesis for economic and political society was widely appealing to theorists who sought justification of emergence of political power. Unlike his predecessors, Rousseau opted for a different discourse that was to overturn the traditional use of state of nature. Thinkers of the seventeenth century, for instance Hobbes and Hugo Grotius, had sought safety from criticism by slicing descriptions of humanity that incorporated any forms of civil associations or codes of law in a quest to yield the best definitions of governments (Rousseau & Coleman 24). The natural right of an individual was featured as the fundamental element in life that no one would give up for whatever reason as an urge that everyone sought to protect their lives. The common argument within many thinkers of the 17th century was that people saw survival independently as unpredictable; and that the desire to ensure certainty made them seek a central point within which they would deposit all their rights for management of common good. This was seen as the cause for political society, where the society valued its survival more than other valuable things.
However, after years of keen observations, Rousseau devised a different school of thought that would overhaul the use of state of nature in civil associations. Rousseau started by criticizing his predecessors for unduly introduction of passions and conflicts regarding the description of human life in a state of nature; phenomena which, according to him, occurred only after the society started developing. Rousseau’s view on independence presented it as an invaluable treasure. In this context, the argument he embedded wisely to depart our belief from the simplicity asserted by prior theorists that transition from nature to political society was a simple process.
Hobbes’ approach was vested in the belief that men did not have any capacity to perceive nature and that nature defined the fate of its components, thus in no way should people have fear regarding the unpredictable survival leading to congruence of their rights in a political body for protection. He added that death strikes so easily and randomly within a population that feared of death was not a feasible cause of any political aggregation. He further asserted that if people used strategies to protect themselves from any natural calamity like flooding, this would negate the naturalness.
In conclusion it should be mentioned that eruption of political society according to Hobbes was a fruit of necessity that was facilitated by emergence of language and willfulness to co-operate with each other but without personal conscience. Development of language was feasibly linked to evolution that enabled men to notice the differences between individuals and they started banding together to provide common goods for all. He was keen to point out that for any form of social co-operation to thrive obvious disparities, like excessive control over others, must be overlooked. People realized the need to combine efforts, both poor and the wealthy, for protection of each other; and the difference here is that unlike traditional theorists who argued for differentiated power, Hobbes pointed absolute equality for meaningful cooperation. The genesis of political society was founded on primary mutual respect and consideration of neighbors.
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