Was Thomas Hobbes the Godfather of the social contract?
It seems his political theory on the social contract which lays the foundation of modern society was enough to influence Rousseau’s ideology and writings on social contract.
Hobbes’ views expressed in the “LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH or STATE, which is but an artificial man, though greater stature and strength than the natural, for whole protection and defense it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints; reward and punishment (by which fastened to the seat of the sovereignty every joint and every joint and member is moved to perform his duty) are the nerves, that do the same in the body natural; the weather and riches of all the particular members are the strength; salus populi (the peoples safety) its business; counsellors, by whom all things needful for it to know are suggested unit it, are the memory; equity and laws, an artificial reason and will; concord, health; sedition*sickness; and civil war, death,” creates the premise for history in the past 400 years.
It outlines much on the nature of man and it is these views that shed light on the mind state of today’s population.
For Rousseau “The Social Contract whose full title is The Social Contract or Principles of Political Right (1762) is an analysis of the contractual relationship to any legitimate government, so that are articulated principles of justice and utility to reconcile the desire for happiness with the submission to the general interest.”
History, in terms of the past 100 years, has shown us or should allow us to intelligently put into perspective what has worked and what hasn’t.
At the time of these philosophers, it was not the age of information on the technology highway as it is today with quick access to information, nor, what is it a time when the slaves were free.
It appears in order to plan ahead for when the slaves would be free, many philosophers writings act as a framework for the science that was to follow the policy that government would instate to rule and govern the colonies.
Since that time, events such as the Emancipation of slaves and the struggles for equal rights or access to untainted services, have demonstrated today many issues that should not have to be repeated.
There was carding known to stigmatize Negro men, and there has been issues like housing biases to name a few that are known practices within Institutions.
There is planned parenthood by Margaret Sanger including the entire topic around Eugenics and supporters from prominent companies that even exist today.
He expresses that the desires for power leads quickly to the desire for power over others and adds that significant human power, depends on uniting our strengths with those of other people. Some of those unions may be between equals; then cooperation may depend on shared goals yet with the greatest powers being possess by the ruler of a state, capable of commanding powers of its all members. Where people have unequal power, cooperation need not depend on everyone’s sharing the same goals.
Here – we have opportunities and setbacks.
If it’s the government and they feel the goals or concerns of its constituents are pale comparisons to the means to the end, then there is openings for what may appear as discriminatory or bias or racist acts.
If others are able to evenly cooperate on shared goals then there is a mutual benefit. But, what if those shared goals are the same such as planned parenthood with Margaret Sanger?
Hobbes work provides delightful insight that can be applied when considering institutional racism and the effects on society.
One piece of Hobbes work in the LEVIATHIAN that is very interesting is his comments on speech.
“The general use of speech is to transfer our mental discourse into verbal or the train of our thoughts into a train of words, … the first use of names is to serve for marks, or notes or remembrance. ” Hobbes
Very key information when using names and titles in todays work across cultural relations.
In section 12 of LEVIATIAN Part I Ch 5 states “seeing then that truth consisteth in the right ordering of names in our affirmations, a man that seeketh precise truth had need to remember what every name he uses stands for, and place it accordingly, or else he will find himself entangled in words, as bird in lime twigs, the more he struggles the more belimed.”
“And therefore in geometry men begin at settling the significations of their words, which settling of significations they call definitions, and place them in the beginning of their reckoning. ”
The World Economic Forum’s ‘The Great Reset’ called by Klaus Schwab and Prince Charles last June has brought together leaders of Countries to table solutions of the future. Some of its goals are to end poverty and address equality. It is just as imperative, if not vital, to have identity restored to a group of people who, for lack of knowledge, may not know that the name used in our social advancements is not authentic to the people it represents.
“By this it appears how necessary it is for any man that aspires to true knowledge, to examine the definitions of former authors and … correct them where they are negligently set down, or to make them himself.” Hobbes
There is more to explore with Thomas Hobbes as his work is quite magnificent in presentation and is an incredible body of work in systemic racism.
We’ll share more on this topic after our panel presentation on the abstract “White Supremacy and The Melanin theory” which explores the connections through anthropology, science and history, with the implications in today’s society.
You are encouraged to consider Hobbes’ thoughts on speech and what it means to use words by its true definitions and perhaps reconsider when calling Melanated people “Black.” Even if we’ve used it all this time.
According to Hobbes, that would mean we do not have any standing in our arguments or reasoning, for where we start off from is already in error.
Some intellectual food for thought that hopefully leads to right action.