Mary Baldwin College, Staunton VA 24401
by Prof. Gordon L. Bowen, Ph.D.
read the whole excerpt from The Leviathan here (pdf reader required)
Without Authority, Man's nature is War, not Peace
"Men have no pleasure, (but on the contrary a great deale of griefe) in keeping company, where there is no power able to over-awe them all." (page 205)
"Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them in awe, they are in that condition which is called Warre, and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man." not just battle but time in which the will to (i.e., the "known disposition to" 205) battle is known.
"...every man is Enemy to every man;... men live without security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them. In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the earth, no navigation,... no commodious building, no Knowledge of the face of the Earth, no account of Time, no Arts, no Letters, no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short." (205)
"Desires and other Passions of man, are in themselves no Sin. No more are the Actions, that proceed from those Passions, till they know a Law that forbids them: which till Lawes be made they cannot know: nor can any Law be made, till they have agreed upon the Person that shall make it." (206)
"...where there were no common Power to feare; by the manner of life, which me that have formerly lived under peacefull government, use to degenerate into a civill Warre." (206)
"To this war of every man against every man, this also is consequent; that nothing can be Unjust. The notions of Right and Wrong, Justice and Injustice have no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no Injustice. Force and Fraud are in warre, the two Cardinal virtues.
"And thus much for the ill condition, which man by meer Nature is actually placed in; though with a possibility to come out of it, consisting partly in the Passions, partly in his Reason." (206)
If Men find security in their State; States can know no security and therefore always are in a State of War
"...yet in all times, Kings and Persons of Soveraigne authority, because of their Independency, are in continuall jealousies, and in the state and posture of Gladiators; having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another;... which is a posture of War. (206)
source: Thomas Hobbes, "Of the Naturall Condition of Mankind, as Concerning their Felicity, and Misery," Leviathan, Part I, Chapter 13, in Classics of International Relations ed. John Vasquez (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986): pp. 204-206.
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