In the rule of law is inadequate and we

In the Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes begins by describing “the state of nature,”
as the state of mankind, in the absence an organized political
power. He claims that our innate goal – self-preservation, is at risk in the natural
state because every man’s central desire is power. This appetite, however, is
controlled through the fear of pain or death. Without a government or
authority, human’s selfish desires and appetite will be the cause of what he
calls “warre.” For Hobbes, the sovereign or state is absolute and the only solution for the problems
within the state of nature. I believe that Hobbes conception of the state is a
valid solution, however it is not preeminent or the strongest. In this essay, I
will explain Hobbes ideal form of state, what it entails and why I believe John
Locke’s perspective to be more prominent.

Hobbes states that in order to live
in peace and survive, the rule of law is inadequate and we have a duty to avoid
the state of nature. To do so, we would need a coherent entity which is the
sovereign or the “common-wealth”. The state according to Hobbes is created to
solve this problem. There are two ways for a commonwealth to be established, it
is either through institution or acquisition. The latter is avoiding the state
of nature through agreement. The former, is establishing a commonwealth through
force, where the sovereign takes over a group and is accepted amongst them. Hobbes
states that the sovereign is above the law and has total power of judicature. Proving
why he believes that the monarchy is the best from of sovereignty.   

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The rights of the sovereign, according
to Hobbes, are as follows; 1) to have complete loyalty form his subjects, 2) insurance
that his subjects cannot be freed form their obligation to him, 3) that all men
must agree with the majorities vote in order to select the sovereign, 4) that the
sovereign cannot be unjust or 5) put to death, 6) that only he can judge what
is required for the peace and defence of the state, 7) that he can choose which
doctrines can be taught, 8) that he can make all the laws and apply them as he
sees fit, including the laws of property, 9) that he has judicial powers in all
controversies and, 10) with whom and when to make war or peace, 11) that he chooses
all of his Counsellors and 12) finally, that he has all power and judgement
over honor and order as well as reward and punishment (Hobbes 1961, XVIII, 229-236).

Hobbes states that the sovereign’s “job”
is to keep the people safe and keep the peace. Not only does Hobbes believe
that a sovereign state is necessary but that it is the only true solution to achieve and preserve the peace. However, I believe
that the problem is the fact that the sovereign can decide what is necessary to
keep the people safe and that no one can second guess his decisions.  Therefore, if his choice isn’t in favor of
keeping the peace, no one can stop him. Therefore, the sovereign is not
actually keeping the citizens safe and not doing his job. However, Hobbes would
argue that even in the case of a corrupt sovereign, it would still beat the
state of nature. He would also claim that it is irrational to not give consent to
the sovereign because you would be acting against your own self-preservation.   

Hobbes presents an argument and
solution for the state of nature that is valid if all of the premises were
considered to be true. However, Locke also makes valid arguments that object to
Hobbes’ opinion. Hobbes and Locke disagree upon fundamental arguments about the
laws of nature and equality. Locke believes that individuals have rights such
as those of life, liberty, and property that are independent to the existence
of a sovereign or political state. He also believes that the authority and
power of the state is limited so that it is only powerful if the state is
working to protect its citizens. In addition, he believes that we are all
equal, not because we are all mutually vulnerable, as Hobbes believes, but because
of status. We are all equal as we all have the same natural rights and there is
no hierarchy among humans. Therefore, the reasons an individual would have to preserve
them self would be the same reasons not to harm others. Hobbes, in comparison, would
disagree with all of Locke’s arguments and argue that the laws of nature are invalid.
Hobbes believes that the goal is self-preservation above all else and that
natural rights would be a threat to the state because when conflict arises, the
state would collapse, returning to the state of nature.

In conclusion, I believe that Locke
makes a stronger argument than Hobbes and a rather more realistic one that the people
could accept. His views about equality makes his arguments more favorable. Although
Hobbes presents a well thought out solution, it is not necessarily the only way
to solve the problems that could arise in the state of nature. I think it would
be an almost impossible task to create Hobbes’ sovereign state without any
rebellion. Thus, I think that Locke suggests a solution that is more reasonable
and satisfactory.