What am I, chopped libertarian?

If Severian had a choice in the matter — but never mind, let him tell it:

As Libertarianism attracts mainly college kids, who don’t know what they don’t know, I present the following as a public service:

This “non-aggression principle” you keep going on about … that’s been covered. As always, a Dead White Male got there first.

Thomas Hobbes said the first Law of Nature — the very first one, and please note the capitals — is: “seek peace.” Problem is, no individual man is powerful enough to guarantee peace for himself against all the other people he’s forced to interact with. So we form covenants — what comes to be known as the famous “social contract” — in order to secure peace for ourselves and our posterity. Hobbes spends the rest of a fairly long book exploring the consequences of this social contract.

That book is Leviathan, and it ends with the most absolute monarch that ever could be. Hobbes’s reasoning is irrefutable if you grant his premises. It’s worth reading. Our forefathers thought so, at least, since all that “by the people, for the people” stuff — Locke, Montesquieu, the whole schmear — is an attempt to wrestle with Hobbes’s premises without arriving at his conclusion. They used to teach this stuff in Humanities 101, I swear.

Yeah, but that was before navel-gazing became the Prime Directive. Hobbes saw that coming too:

“For such is the nature of man, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other men’s at a distance.”

The contemporary social-media equivalent is the liking, even the retweeting, of one’s own posts.

1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    21 February 2018 · 3:16 pm

    My definition of aggression, informed by more than half century of inhabiting the real world, is far from dogmatic. Big-L Libertarians should have had my big brother, or spent lunch recesses in the schoolyards I remember.

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