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| ‘Leviathan’ Essay

“Leviathan” is a work by Thomas Hobbes and was published in 1651. The writing caters to the explanation of a common man and the commonwealth and that they are interrelated. The notion put forward by Hobbes is that if we look forward to comprehend the state, first we need to figure out the nature of mankind as he considers the government as an artificial man whose various parts are like a live human’s body parts. This metaphor is the base of the conclusions drawn. The contention is concern about whether a state of monarchy is the best form of government since every man is competing to be better than the other or to achieve more than the other. Hobbes advocates this fact, and states that this form of government is capable of protecting the citizens in the best possible manner.

In the first part, it is defined that man acts in response to the various activities in the world. Since, this movement is consistent, so it is the desire of a man to achieve various things. The craving to attain more will be with every man but for different needs, desires and interests. This is described as a state of nature and this puts individuals in eternal state of war against each other. In the second part, the discussion is around the commonwealths. The types of commonwealths are monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. The success of a type lies in not ruling but in maintaining peace and security for its subjects. This is the main reason of the formation of a commonwealth and this fact should not be disputed or kept aside. The state should be such which is the best for people that it originates from and is set up for.

It is hence derived that, every man focuses in protecting itself through every possible situation, so the intent is to create such a state where such power rests with the government and a sense of protection is felt by all who reside under that territory.

To explain it further, it means that since the citizens are fighting amongst themselves due to a sense of insecurity in them, such a government is needed to be built which bestows a sense of security and therefore no one is led to a state of war with other.

Additionally, if Hobbes opinion is correct in stating that a particular type of commonwealth is necessary to check the state of war amongst individuals, we would look deeper into the three types of states. Monarchy means that the representative of the state is one man, democracy means that it is all who are involved rule together and aristocracy means that the state is run by few of the entire population.

Hobbes supports the fact that the monarchy is the best solution for a state in war as in this case ones private interest is the same as public. This is the situation where, the public is at its best condition when the interests of government and public are the same. All what the monarch may or will have will be only from what the subjects may or will have. So, the entire living or luxuries of a monarch is followed by the living and luxuries of the citizens. This brings Hobbes to the inference that since, a monarch is a man who will focus on his own good which can only happen when the citizens are good enough Monarchy is the best possible form of commonwealth for public.

If the conclusion is drawn only by the assumption that the thought process of a monarch will be just like a common man, the above case may sound good. But, practically, one’s behavior can never be predicted. Under a condition of monarchy, a monarch may be expected to work towards benefit, but it is contradictory to Hobbes own opinion that the desire of things may differ from person to person. Also, a monarchy may lack support, advice and active working hands. In the dynamic world, advice is imperative, whenever it is a situation of decision making. Monarchy state may not have people to brainstorm and work towards the best interest of the subjects.

Also, since the base of forming the decision is the sense of anxiety amongst the citizens, we need to consider that this is not the only thing that is to be dealt with by a government. There are multiple problems to be solved and these solutions need to be directed towards public welfare. It is worthwhile to notice here that the monarchy form works on basis of succession, so there is always a possibility that the successor to the role is not wise enough. Finally, the monarch is compared with the king, who will be rich if the countrymen are rich. This is not true for all the cases. We can derive from history, that there were rulers who left the citizens in poverty and led a luxurious life by themselves.

There will be existence of pros and cons to all the ideas, but the focus needs to be on building an environment which promotes security amongst the countrymen and that they believe in the government that is deciding every move and hence the future of the citizens. This can only come from commitment.

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