Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Leviathan, as Our New Reality?

Yesterday, I heard something on NPR that sent chills up my spine. It was presented like a public service announcement. But, the message was one of limiting the public's right under the 'social contract". It was Leviathan.

The announcer stated that "war" is caused by "self-interest", and since "self-interest" is the culprit of "war", man is to give up his rights to "government" under "social contract". That is, one must give up personal interests, so that the public's welfare will be met.

Thomas Hobbes wrote Leviathan under the premised that government was to be the arbitrator, determinor of the individual. The individual would be limited because government would become more centralized, therefore, supposedly understanding more of what "the public" needs.

Centralization was always of concern to the Founders and political theorists, because of the "balance and separation of powers". The limitation of government was of concern because government had abused power over the inidividual. Hobbe's "Leviathan" desired centralization because of the "state of nature". Power being a useful source of promoting peace, and security.

Hobbe's contention was the people in the 'state of nature" war for gain, security or reputation. It is only when a commonwealth is established that men are "domesticated" to act in ways of "peaceful co-existance". This is what colonization did for Western countries. Trade and commerce were easy means of bringing about domestication of certain societies. And today, it is continued by the West, some believe to pillage. But, as Hobbe's affirms, all are not created equal. So the separation and division of powers were not on "his plate". A Sovereign must rule, and the press be manipulated/controlled, so the people's natures will be controlled.

The Church becomes useful to tame the savages to "fear God", as a moral education, bringing about constitutional governments, so tribal societies can breed "independent persons" that have "comme of age". This was always the view of Catholicism. But, America was mainly a Protestant nation. Calvin was America's "theologian" par excellance.

Today, there is "war on all sides" in the areas of science (creation/evolution); in the areas of political theory (Church/State) amd in the area of man, himself, as to his nature and whether it can be trained, conditioned, reformed, or transformed. And each of these views of man have assumed biases about man and his abilities. These are philosophical and scientific wars that have to do with man, his environment and his ultimate end.

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