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 and 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 the 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 publicly instituted ego; although this view was criticized as naive.
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Hobbes’ ardent belief in religious and spiritual belief led to conviction that a peaceful political society would sustain itself through proper interpretation of the scriptures. He believed that believers would glue their private rights to form a Christian commonwealth; that would be under sovereign governor of their rights. His bearing was that all authority would rest on the sovereign including religious, and that sovereignty would interpret scriptures according to God’s law thus holding Christian rights together and respectfully. Though 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 one whose people lived for their own sake and never for interests of others; and that democracy would increase anti-constitution radicals within a state (Rosler, 157). Contrastingly, ancient principles by Aristotle presented liberty as freedom from any external impediments like constitution, 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 one manageable by constitutions while safeguarding security and social welfare thus neutral freedom; 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 basis of true political community, and they seem to be taking the modern political order.
Similarly, although the ancient philosophers had little if any mention of women subject in their works, Plato’s philosophy pioneered a contemporary bearing of significance of women in the society. Despite the fact that 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, p. 3). Plato’s mention of the women subject in 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 essential prerequisite for men’s freedom thus reinforcement to overall liberty in the society. Women suffrage not only served the right conditions for men to rule well but also allowed theorists to define and conceptualize freedom without conflictions; one free from external impediments and one that realizes true desire.
However, modern theories addressing the women gained mention in the Marx socialism theories, though his 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 Marxist theorem. The modern theory substantially borrows from Marx’s though that sexual relationships and such 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 and continues to be the driver of feminist socialism which creates agencies for defense and realization of true liberty for women.
Though Plato and Hobbes thrived in different schools of the congruence of their ideologies culminates in common views that the passions and appetites are essentially insatiable; and that a political power is crucial to manage eruption of civic uproars. The two theorists asserted that human desires and anxiousness forms a complexion of demands that are usually conflicting and the meanness of mankind confounded possibility 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 divine creation of the human heart; which they saw as a house of innumerable and irresistible affections.
Plato and Hobbes for instance, argues that human soul is crowned with fear, irrational sense, love and reason; which all result in appetites and passions with conflicting time series responses. He views human soul as individualistic and egocentric, guided by desire to fulfill it’s needs at the expense of others (Plato, 145); and he further asserts that these functions often cause conflict between people.
Plato and Hobbes compares individuals and the state, reflecting the masses of people within one state; an institution that maintains rule of law within people and which may often be target of hate and anger from its subjects. If allowed absolute freedom to discharge their urges as they wish; regardless of their sinful characters for the sake of obtaining satisfaction, then people would be 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.
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 criticized 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 rested on the idea that Natural law was ambiguous in that it did not define God’s law from civil law.
Hobbes argued for a peaceful whose private rights would be glued under common religious and spiritual beliefs thus forming what he called Christian commonwealth. Hobbes showed no favor for authoritarian leadership; he however argued for sovereignty founded on true interpretation of scriptures to formulate a Godly political power that he deemed the best custodian of Christian rights. His observations differed from those of Plato in that totalitarianism was not 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 in commandments through an innate ability to influence human mind thus inducing faith and obedience necessitate adherence to law and order.
Hobbes was categorical on insisting that God gave laws of nature for mankind to exist in harmony and work for common good, while ensuring that he commanded authority as he was never visible; purposefully to tame the unsatisfactory nature of human desires which are insatiable. Hobbes theory appeared to argue for authoritarian on account that there was always need to political power to withhold some liberties for the sake of unity of citizens. He further asserted that individual thought and desires were unique and the natural phenomenon of language barrier augmented to the inability of treating any group of citizens with desired satisfaction. Hobbes defied absolute liberalism in 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.
In similar observations Machiavelli advocated for principalities and monarchs, which would be protected and a kingdom would define the law and social order for her 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 to be a critical challenger of the principalities as he saw them as brewers of unsatisfied subjects and 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 seemed to advocate for liberty founded on guidance of natural law. However, the philosophers viewed freedom from differed perspective; for instance Hobbes argued for pleasure which he viewed as the best for happy and free society while Mills had inclinations on communal liberty which undermined need for individual rights.
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