Human Nature

The English philosopher John Locke held that, absent corrupting influences, human beings are inherently good and as such our ideal state is freedom where people will naturally choose actions which are morally right. Thomas Jefferson borrowed heavily from this line of thinking and from this sprang the great Western ideals of freedom, limited government and human rights. Thomas Hobbes, however, was of the belief that human beings are inherently evil and, as such, are in need of a strong government which will repress our baser instincts and will inflict justice on mankind, against our individual wishes. Although American society began in the spirit of Locke’s ideals, the size of our present government and the proliferation of state, local, and federal laws bear testement to the fact that we are in a downward spiral into the Hobbesian nightmare.

This idea of the elite owing a duty of care to the masses who are ill equipped to deal with freedom is not exclusive to the stuffy old white guys of centuries passed. I was reminded of this in Oprah Winfrey’s criticism of the rapper Ludakris who she berated for his sexually explicit lyrics. Among her arguments was the comment “Ludakris, a lot of people aren’t as smart as you are.” The implication is clear: the masses aren’t smart enough to deal with the rap imagery you convey, they can’t understand that you’re just engaging in artistic license, and since you are smarter than them you owe them a duty of care to not say certain things. This goes all the way back to Luke 12:48 (For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required). This premise is the antithesis of personal responsibility and freedom.

This line of thought is more destructive than simply punishing the more able with tacking on additional duties (giving the less proficient a mortgage on everyone else by virtue of their inability), it also opens the door to further usurpations of freedom. When the government provides you with “free” healthcare, they then (by virtue of their footing the bill) also presumably gain the right to tell you what you can and can’t do healthwise. First you are no longer free to accept the risk of smoking if you so desire because the government is now footing the bill for the health consquences. Next they may set exorbitant taxes on fast food and soda pop because those also contribute to the demise of public health. You already cannot marry and divorce without government interference, now in Michigan you can’t even move away from a bitchy pregnant chick without fear of catching a case. Hey, is it still ok to stomp out of the room?

Little by little, we will discover in this Hobbesian nightmare, that the free things we get aren’t actually free, they all come with a price and the ransom we will pay is our liberty. The Constitution does not have to be explicity revoked. It will simply asphyxiate under a deluge of government initiatives.

The government today exists to save us from the terrors of freedom. But who now will save us from the tyranny of Thomas Hobbes?

18 Responses to “Human Nature”

  1. I am an idiot and need the gumment to tell me what is wrong

  2. Phelps says:

    Hey, Locke and Hobbes are just fictional characters. Cap’n Stabbin is real.

  3. R says:

    I don’t think Hobbes was that draconian in his philosophy, was he? I think he just realized that human nature is such that it makes a distinction between engaging in things that are pleasurable to them and painful to them (i.e., taking something forcefully or having something taken from them) and that to attempt to reign in the “morally wrong” from being perpetrated by threatening the perpetrators with a much harsher degree of punishment.

    Did he really advocate full governmental control over people because he believed people are too dumb? (As opposed to being too greedy…which is a difference.) Or did he just advocate a system that 1) acknowledges that people will do evil things if they can get away with it, and 2) attempts to do something about it in order to preserve basic human freedoms for the rest (read: weaker) of us.

  4. mexi says:

    The progression from Hobbes to Mao is only a matter of degrees. The underlying principle is evil. My question to you is how many spoons of poison are you willing to take in your coffee? Or better yet, if you digagree with me then you love Oprah and you want her to have your love child!

  5. 9/11 was an inside job. The government attacks its own citizens to justify enslaving them.

    There are two constitutions. One is the Constitution of the United States. The other is the United States Constitution.

    I wonder if Oprah swallows.

  6. mexi says:

    Didn’t you see the episode of Southpark where Cartman confronted President Bush and he admitted that the government set explosives in the World Trade Center and sent a cruise missle to hit the Pentagon and when Stan asked why Bush said it was a false flag operation so that America could attack it’s enemies and then when they asked why again Cheney said “For the oldest reason in the book, money. So we could be even richer than we were before! HAHHAHAHHAHAHA!” It really showed how asinine the whole conspiracy theory is. You could learn something from cartoons.

  7. R says:

    “The progression from Hobbes to Mao is only a matter of degrees. The underlying principle is evil.”

    Is it? Or is it “greed?” After all, our government works so well not because it attempts to “right” those who are morally “wrong,” but because it acknowledges the fact that people are greedy and leverages it to our collective – yes, the ‘C’ word – benefit (entrepreneurial compensations).

    After all, why does a capitalist-driven economy work so well? Because people want phat lewtz.

  8. mexi says:

    You’re not speaking a language I understand. What is “greed”? If I work overtime so I can get paid time and a half is that greedy? Why is wanting to satisfy self interest bad? Should we only want the bare minimum it takes to sustain us? Should be all strive to be the minimum daily adult they talk about on the side of the cereal boxes?

  9. Next you are going to tell me that the FBI cannot turn on your cellphone and listen to you whenever they want to.

  10. mexi says:

    THAT one didn’t surprise me because I’ve always been sufficiently paranoid that I never say anything sensitive over a phone. Plus I’ve never owned a cell phone so I’m ahead of the game in that respect anyway.  And I even mentally edit when I’m thinking out loud by myself.

  11. Phelps says:

    And the FBI can’t do that. The one time they tried on a mobster, it took hundreds of thousands of dollars and a leaker ratted them out anyways. It is much easier to put an infinity bug on a land line than a cell phone (who’s battery running down will cause the target to try to get it repaired or replaced anyways.

  12. Phelps says:

    Fox fucked the story up, that is what is up about it. The FBI can listen in on your phone the same way Mosad can use it to blow up your head — if they get physical access to it and gimmick it ahead of time.

  13. I beg to differ. The circuitry is already there. If fact, Google has bragged about being able to manipulate computer microphones and cameras too.

  14. Phelps says:

    No, the circuitry is not there, and you are a nut. If it was, script kiddies would by spying on everyone. You can’t keep it secret when people can access the hardware.

  15. R says:

    “You’re not speaking a language I understand. What is ‘greed’?”

    I thought I was. You, after all, invoked the word “evil” in your post.

    Come on now. If you can use “evil,” I can use “greed.”

    It’s only “fair.”

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