Being a theorist, I like taking time to think about the world today… and what those who helped shape the thoughts and philosophies we study as a science today would think about them.
With a recent rash of gay beatings and bashings, I’m often taken back to two of my favorite founders of western political thought, Hobbes and Locke; and often think about what they would say about it, among other things going on in the world today.
“In Locke’s state of nature, things aren’t so bad! In Hobbes’ state of nature, it’s DEADLY.”
— Professor Laurel Sprague
I come back to the ideology of each theorist’s state of nature — where, in all things being equal, Man is at his most primal when it comes to social governance. There’s no government to tell them what to do; Man, essentially, has all the rights one could ever want.
Locke’s State of Nature is a pretty laid back utopia of “I respect your boundaries, you respect mine, and we’re all happy.” There are a few commonly understood rules that society in and of itself lives by. Hobbes, however, it a bit more of a free-for-all. Things are a lot more “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” to coin a phrase from The Bible.
In a Lockeian State of Nature, I don’t see such a thing happening. It would go against the very point of Locke’s theory of Nature in and of itself. People don’t inherently harm others in his world.
Hobbes, on the other hand, is dramatically different. If a group of straight guys were to beat up on a gay guy, Hobbes would be the first to say that it’s quite likely a group of gay guys would want retribution and blood for the blood spilled of their brother… either the guys who committed the bashing itself, or just a target to prove a point.
What’s the most likely to occur if we were thrust into a State of Nature today?
- John Locke vs Thomas Hobbes (leekottner.typepad.com)
- A Monster of a Political Text! (politicsnphilosophy.wordpress.com)
- Hobbes in Lieu of Sunday School (garyborjesson.wordpress.com)
- Gotham’s State of Nature (bravenewsworld.com)
- A Calvin and Hobbes / Firefly mash-up tee shirt? Yes, please. (randomdorkness.wordpress.com)
- Thomas Hobbes (socialtheoryencyclopedia.wordpress.com)
- Loss of Knowledge (duttonkimberly.wordpress.com)
- On Enlightenment (sherhernandez.wordpress.com)
- Why the Establishment likes Locke (thehobbesian.wordpress.com)