On the Duties of Government and the Obligations of the New Prince


Obadiah Mailafia
Obadiah Mailafia

By Obadiah Mailafia

IN his classic allegory,The Leviathan, the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes depicts a state of nature where there are “no arts; no letters; no society”, where men live “in continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. The state emerges, according to him, when men decide to hand-over their liberties to a “sovereign” in exchange for security and protection. In the state of nature, men are wolves. Only within a political community– the polis of Athenian Greece – is civilisation possible.

Hobbes was a pessimist, having lived through an age of upheavals and civil war. He was led to the sobering conclusion that greed and the thirst for power is engraved in human nature. The role of the sovereign is therefore to curb our beastly nature and to stop men from preying on one another.

Hobbes, like Machiavelli before him, maintained that all states are founded and maintained…

Source: Vanguard Newspaper