Thomas Hobbes advocated for the adoption of monarchy as the best form of government in his political philosophy writings particularly in his book, the Leviathan. Hobbes gives his arguments in support of the monarchy mainly through the adoption of the principle of the state of war (Hobbes 12).
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According to him, man is naturally violent, and thus, there is a need for the establishment of an authoritative government in the form of a monarchy to check and contain the violent nature of man. This paper tries to give an analytical argument against Hobbes’ choice of a monarchy as the best form of government.
This will be done by firstly highlighting the main points used by Hobbes in his support for this type of governance, while at the same time identifying flaws and fallacies in these particular arguments fronting for the adoption of monarchy as a form of governance (Kraus 69).
Thomas Hobbes begins his defense for the adoption of monarchy as the best form of government by firstly exploring the concept of power. Here, Hobbes identifies two forms of power, namely: instrumental and natural power.
According to Hobbes, natural power emanates from the physical or mental ability of an individual, whereas instrumental power is acquired by fortune, which subsequently serves as a means to the acquisition of more power in the form of wealth. According to Hobbes, life is purely a continuous struggle to acquire power. All human beings are in Hobbes view, endowed with equal levels of natural power (Kraus 67).
Due to this equality, every individual makes an attempt to gain more instrumental powers to enable him or her compete with others within a state. People are ever striving to enhance their security and reputation, thus leading to chaos within the society. These ambitions if not well checked by an authoritative government easily lead to a state of war, hence men fights against their fellow men.
I therefore rise against Hobbes ideology of Monarchy form of governance as the most significant form of leadership, since in such state of nature that is depicted being flaunt of chaos, there is nothing beneficial can take place in this state of nature.
Furthermore, War and other form of chaotic conditions bring destruction of properties and deprivation of lives, which at the end of the makes lives of the masses from the community to remain miserable. The only remedy to the chaotic state of nature is the creation of a form of authority in which the implementation rules regulations checks the excessive application of men’s power.
This authority can only be created through the conferment of all people’s individual power to a single man or a group of men with the authority to make decisions for and on behalf of every member of the society or state (Baumgold 79).
The state of nature as presented by Hobbes may not be visible in the real world because the mere absence of a government is not a better reason to transform human beings to beasts as is the case in the state of war.
In addition, Hobbes uses the ability of the monarchy to compel its subjects as the best way to prevent the state of war. However, the ability to instill fear among the subjects cannot be the best way to prevent chaos within a state. This should rather be the establishment of systems where human nature is freely allowed to flourish.
In Hobbes’ view, peace, security and the welfare of the people can best be served when there is a close link between the private and the public interests (Hobbes 34). However, Hobbes use of monarchy does not show us how this can occur in monarchy governance.
The issue of individuals’ freedom is equally essential and it should form part of the basis for determining the success or failure of a particular form of government. Freedom implies that each and every individual is free to do whatever s/he thinks that is right. In this case, people considers different actions and deeds as wrong or right depending on there thinking.
Some individuals like thieves would kill/ murder and hold that action of killing as right, while the religious persons believe this wrong doing. For that matter, giving individuals freedom to make decision on particular matters is hard, and therefore, there is no a guarantee that a monarchy will succeed in meeting the needs of its subjects as it is held by Hobbes.
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With the realty of changing conditions/ situations in the community, there is likely hood that monarchies at different times would end up misusing its authority to the disadvantage of the subjects (Baumgold 39).
Peace and security are virtually important in successful governance of any state, and without them, other individual rights such as freedom cannot be enjoyed. In addition, the atmosphere in the state of nature can actually force people to reconsider their resolves and quickly come into an agreement about a system of rules to govern them.
Sometimes it also becomes necessary for a government to exert its authority and fear to the people for sake of its successful existence (Kraus 79). The absence of laws and government is still a cause of chaos in any state; and this may be exemplified by the current situation in Somalia, which a government less state.
However, the above criticisms are still viable because in real sense, there has not been a chaotic society as the one described by Hobbes in the state of nature. Therefore, man is not a violent being even in the absence of laws and government.
In addition, most monarchies in the world have failed to uphold the welfare and interests of the people, and as such, this is not the best form of government integrating the private and public interests within a state. By government exerting force to its people, this only instills fear to the subjects besides deprivation of their freedom/ liberty and their rights.
Simply, with the Monarchy form of leadership mostly ending up in many failing ways and the aspects of leadership, there is no way people living in a such a state of nature can come to an agreement about the type of leadership to govern them so quickly, yet they had not known the rule of law before
Baumgold, Deborah. Hobbes’s Political Theory. New York: CUP Archive, 1988.print.
Hobbes, Thomas.Leviathan.New York: Mobile reference.2003.Print.
Kraus, Jody. The Limits of Hobbesian Contractarianism.London: Cambridge University Press, 1993.print.