Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), a well-known English philosopher is best known for his political and social thoughts. He had a unique vision for the world.
He was concerned with the social and political order of the world (Michaelis 101). Hobbes implied that every individual in this world holds obedience to an unaccountable sovereign, e.g. each person or group has been empowered to decide their political and social order (Williams 213). Hobbes had a complex view of human lifestyle. His philosophy reversed the ancient perception of relating reason to passion (Pink 541). He purported that the world as a society ought to be a peaceful place, where everyone lived in harmony (Michaelis 104). Despite his political views, Hobbes concentrated his efforts on the social aspects of the world.
He availed temporal understanding of human beings’ privileges that the future held (Michaelis 104). Hobbes frame social issues as a state of nature. He believes that every human being ought to avoid implications that cause harm (disharmony) to the society (Thivet 709). According to him, it is easy for a society to avoid social vices like violent deaths and civil wars. Hobbes often empowered people to embrace freedom. He advocated for freedom because it was the key to liberty, right and liberation.
The right to liberty authorizes an individual to exercise power (Pink 559). Moreover, he cautioned the use of freedom as a multi-way to gain power. Hobbes vehemently condemned the illegitimacy of political orders, lack of ideology and knowledge (Williams 213). Currently, the world has taken a different twist from what Hobbes had in mind. Every society holds different duties and responsibilities towards moral obligations. The natural law, which all philosophers in the medieval period used in their philosophy, no longer applies in the current world (Pink 550).
People in the world today disregard the moral instructions and governing principles set by natural law (Pink 559). Societies have resorted to make laws that govern themselves. Many people have resolved to disobey the laws enacted by the government.
In addition, the ethics of freedom is overstepped. People are using it to kindle uprising and movements whose objectives are to overthrow sovereignty (Michaelis 104). A good example is the current uprisings and political movements taking place in the Middle East. Moreover, there is an increase in human rights and vocal protests by religious clergymen. These protesters believe they are attesting universal moral truth. Hobbes advocacy to right to liberty no longer applies (Pink 559). It was overshadowed by obligations of law imposed on people. To add to that, religion has been ignored.
Hobbes thought and believed that all individuals will be at the fore front in respecting and obeying the natural law of religion. The law of nature set up by God strictly demands that all religious individual obey God’s commandments (Pink 550). On the contrary, the religious conscience is a thing of the past. Immoral laws have taken precedence over God’s commandments. Furthermore, national political authorities have taken control. They are responsible for a majority of wars and conflict facing the world as a society.
This has left people with no choice but to rely on moral obligations and ethical considerations when making decisions. The moral demand will necessitate an individual to make decisions based on ethics and the law. Consequences availed by breaking the law has become the governor of the actions and decisions made by people (Pink 550). Hobbes stressed out the importance of moral justification in obeying sovereignty (Thivet 703). He came up with 19 laws that would govern the state of nature. He also believed that any person that wields sovereign power automatically holds the right to all things. This is quite vivid in the current world.
Political leadership is driven by greed. Political leaders have gone to the extent of depriving less fortunate individuals’ wealth. This has led to an increase in poverty levels in the society (Pink 546). Hobbes believed that the society holds an obligation to obey sovereignty. He inferred that individuals are not bound to obedience because the threats associated by force and power do not deprive them liberty (Pink 552). The liberty that every individual enjoys allows them to move whichever way they wish.
Obeying sovereignty still remains a personal choice. He adds that obeying sovereignty carries immense moral weight that dictates the dos and don’ts for the society (Williams 213). Once members of the society stick to these laws of the sovereign, peace and harmony will be enhanced.
There will be minimal cases of conflicts between the society and sovereignty. Sovereignty holds greatest responsibility to protect its subject. Citizens under sovereign protection and safety measure enjoy maximum security and a happy life (Thivet 709). Hobbes has foreseen the resulting implications of people tempting to follow their ego and disobey sovereignty (Thivet 710). This is exactly what is happening in the world today.
Many people opt to go against rules and laws that govern them. The punishments of disobedience are wars, violence, and conflicts that have arisen in almost all regions of the world. The effective threat caused by disobedience is in the self interest of each individual (Thivet 706). However, Hobbes philosophy has been neglected by many scholars and leaders in the sovereign. This is the chief cause of the implications evidenced in the modern world (Thivet 714). It means that human beings need authority and systems for them to coexist peacefully. The world today has taken a totally different dimension from what Hobbes had in mind. The society of today faces several challenges of insecurity, poverty, epidemic, violence and civil wars.
In my view, violent, death and conflicts are not the only fear to bring disharmony in the society. There are other numerous factors that cause disharmony (Williams 213). The line of thought Hobbes took does not give a clear account of a reasonable sovereign between human beings and state of nature. Every human being has a mandate to assess the state of nature and avoid the implications that may arise.
Much of the civil war and conflict have led to key players using the advantage of war and conflict to hoard the much desired peace (Michaelis 104). The current world governments are imposed on the society through corruption or fraud. News of corruption and fraud in government cycles has become the order of the day in the world today.
Leaders promise change and development during elections. They later become consumed with personal greed. It is the same in almost all governments, in the world. It becomes extremely difficult to defend or remove the existing governments. This is because they are very powerful.
This prompts the need to go for vital necessity of reasoning for economic subsistence, as advocated by Hobbes (Thivet 708).
Michaelis, Loralea. “Hobbess Modern Prometheus: A Political Philosophy for an Uncertain Future.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 40.1 (2007): 101-27. Print.
Pink, Thomas. “Thomas Hobbes and the Ethics of Freedom.” Inquiry 54.5 (2011): 541-563.
Print. Thivet, Delphine. “Thomas Hobbes: A Philosopher Of War Or Peace?.” British Journal For The History Of Philosophy 16.4 (2008): 701-721. Print. Williams, Michael C. “Hobbes and International Relations: A Reconsideration.
” International Organization 50.2 (1996): 213-250. Print.