A Condition Without Government
In Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, Hobbes invites us to consider what life would be like in a state of nature, that is, a condition without government. It is sometimes easier to imagine that people might fare best in such a state, where each decides for him/herself how to act. A state where each person is judge, jury, and executioner and stands to adjudicate disputes in their own interest. Arguably, this state is the appropriate baseline against which to judge the justifiability of political arrangements. In this state of nature people would posses the right to do whatever one sincerely believed necessary for their preservation; yet because it is at least possible that virtually anything might be judged necessary for one’s preservation, this theoretically limited right of nature becomes in practice an unlimited right to potentially anything, or, as Hobbes puts it, a right “to all things”. Given this perspective and based on lecture and your reading and understanding of chapter 13 of the Leviathan; imagine that you must lead a group of people that have survived the Zombie Apocalypse. While the zombies have been eradicated and the virus contained, people are still largely fragmented and tribal in their alliance and organization. As the leader of a community, you are now tasked with rebuilding societal structures and creating a ruling model capable of governance while hopefully avoiding the pitfalls of the conditions that cause conflict as noted by Thomas Hobbes. 1. Develop a list of the five (5) most central/ important rights, rules, policies, or regulations that your new society would develop and implement. Why do you believe these rules, regulations, and policies are necessary for society to function, and thrive? Are these rules and policies capable of eliminating or limiting political struggle and the need to utilize influence to achieve goals? How? 2. Describe what methods of enforcement your new society would use to deter unwanted behavior and ensure compliance with these new laws. Would these methods encourage the use of punishment, rehabilitation, or incentive-based compliance, or some combination of all three? Why or why not? 3. Given these considerations do you believe Hobbes is accurate in his assessment that a government is necessary to control the self-interests of people, or can we exist peaceably without a “Leviathan?” Why or Why not? Be certain to cite arguments or content from chapter 13 of the Leviathan that support your position.
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