Hobbes; LeviathanHobbes wrote the Leviathan and divided it into four different sections.
For sake of brevity, I will only discuss the second book in, which Hobbes discusses the Commonwealth. He, like Rousseau, holds up the idea that the people of a society are better off by joining the social contract, which all humans are unintentionally apart of. In Book II, Hobbes asserts that there must be some form of leadership, which holds the people together and keeps them from following their natural instincts to gain power and use it in a malicious way. The contract only works because when a government is set up and laws are put in place, there are punishments, which make the citizens afraid to act out of line, thus making a more peaceful place for everyone.The Leviathan comes from the Hebrew word for “sea monster” however; in Hobbes context it is used as an allegory to represent something close to perfection.
The Leviathan represents the man or men, which form the perfect government that the people give up their rights to be a part of. Hobbes calls the coming together of all the people, the commonwealth, thus making it the most important. Without this commonwealth peace cannot be achieved and civil war will continue. An analogy that Hobbes also uses is one, which makes the soul of the body similar to the Leviathan i.e. the perfect government. Further into the book, when he talks about liberty, he says that when the government stops looking out for the people and providing for them, then they have lost their freedom.
This is when the soul has left the body, because there is no longer freedom within the body. Thus, the commonwealth has fallen apart and there is no longer a social contract for the people to subject themselves to the rule of the law.Hobbes notes that there are two ways of achieving this commonwealth. “One by natural force The other is when men agree amongst themselves” Within this sovereign state, there are certain guidelines, which Hobbes argues that people ought to give their sovereign state. They are as follows: “The subjects cannot change the form of government. Sovereign power cannot be forfeited.
No man can without injustice protest against the institution of the sovereign declared by the major part. The sovereign’s actions cannot be justly accused by the subject. Whatsoever, the sovereign doth is unpunishable by the subject. The sovereign is judge of what is necessary for the peace and defense of his subjects” These are only half of the guidelines, however they go to show the trust Hobbes puts in the state. He gives the state a lot of power expecting them to be perfect and to uphold moral laws. Unfortunately, as a critique I think that Hobbes is wrong to not only give the state so much power, but to allow them to make all of the decisions based on their discretion.Hobbes continues though to analyze the laws that should be made and discusses how they must be made public and a man cannot claim ignorance.
The laws also must be judged and then enforced. Upon enforcement, when a citizen doesn’t follow the law, he can be punished. Punishment, according to Hobbes, is a means of keeping the commonwealth safe and protected. He also insists that rewards ought to be given as either a gift or a salary.
In the end, Hobbes feels that his doctrine is the best because he says that no other philosopher, even Plato, has put forth and proved such a compilation of how to govern and how to rule. His hopes are that eventually, a sovereign will take hold of his book and follow it and eventually make his writings and turn them into practice.