Hobbes Government

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Hobbes' theory of government is set out in Leviathan (1651). Hobbes challenged the two predominant views of governmental authority. One held that the authority of kings derived from God (Divine Right) and that a king's power should be absolute, as it came from God. The other held that government existed for the benefit of the people and derived authority from that. Hobbes began his argument with his pessimistic theory of human nature. He thought that people were by nature greedy and selfish, and would look out only for themselves. He argued that before there was organized society, people lived in the state of nature, a "war of all against all", in which life was "solitary, poor, brutish, nasty, and short". Everyone could do as they pleased, they had absolute liberty, but could not enjoy this liberty because the war …show more content…
Chaos and disorder would rule. Hobbes argued that, eventually, human reason prevailed and that people organized themselves into societies to overcome the perils of the state of nature. They agreed to give up their individual liberty to the state, which would protect them from each other. This was the social contract, wherein individuals gave to the state their liberty in exchange for protection from themselves. Anyone who enjoyed the benefits of the social contract is a party to it, whether or not they agree explicitly or tacitly. It was not something you could have opted out of. It was binding and permanent, it came before you and would continue after you. To Hobbes, the greatest evil is a return to the perilous state of nature in which the rights of all people to enjoy their lives is in danger. This means that people must obey their government, no matter how unjustly it behaves, because it is the only thing that protects them from themselves and returning to the state of