Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Divine abandonment of the reprobate.

December 28, 2010

This interesting thread reminds me of a topic I heard in a Greek monastery concerning God’s abandonment of certain individuals to a reprobate mind There is an analogous verse in the Qur’an about how Allah will blind the eyes and stop the ears of the unbeliever so that their condemnation may be increased. On the other hand Paul seems to acknowledge “gifts differing” and a tolerance for diversity “let those who fast and those who eat do so for the glory of God” and his saying that “I shall become all things to all people so that by any manner some might be saved.” Now it seems to me that the parable of the sower of seeds clearly instructs us that not every seed would take proper root but perhaps only 1 in 4 (if one wants to be literal and fundamentalist.) I for one have never viewed someone like Paul as “the sock puppet of God” falling into some kind of trance and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through him which (if I am correct) would mean that each Biblical author is a subjective author stating things from their own human perspective and describing their own personal experience of the Divine in a very subjective manner. Maximus the Confessor took exactly the opposite position from Aquinas in the Summa regarding which comes first, understanding or faith. Maximus sees faith as a gift from God which God gives to some and not to others and gives in varying degrees and gives with a foreknowledge from His pre-eternal vantage point of how each individual will receive the gift of faith through their free will cooperation. Understanding develops only after the gift of faith and only as much understanding as might be salvific for a certain individual in certain circumstances. Such a view accounts for what it might mean for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart ten times. Aquinas on the other hand sees understanding as prior and from understanding proceeds faith or belief which explains why Aquinas quotes from Aristotle so often while the Greek patristic writers of the early centuries ignore Aristotle and the other pagan philosophers. Aquinas’s view as well as those such as Anselm who construct PROOFS of God’s “existence” seem to put religion on an equal footing with mathematical proof such that any reasonable person might be forced to believe as the result of some syllogistic line of reasoning.


O.K. admittedly this is from a different Facebook thread:

One would not easily guess that Eisenhower thought in such terms. It was not until his first inauguration that Eisenhower was baptized. Rev. Billy Graham discovered that Eisenhower had not been baptized and inquired as to the “why.” Eisenhower explained “Well, I have been rather busy lately.” It has been observed that neither Eisenhower nor Reagan were particularly religious but chose to use religion to combat the Communist threat which they saw as atheist. I see Reagan as a somewhat simple but sincere person who felt that the end justified the means and that the Communist foe must be defeated by any means whether neutron bombs or whether it was supporting religious movements which might not be all that wholesome or pure in their agendas or all that conducive to fundamental notions of free speech, press and peaceful assembly. I suspect thats why Reagan so easily became entangled in the Iran-Contra scandal.

Yet another thread: I have spent several years all together in New York City working around Orthodox Jews and I know from first hand experience that there are some who are quite middle class small business owners who work very hard and struggle to make ends meet. Then of course there are many very wealth Jews. I never attend parties or groups unless I am absolutely forced because I only enjoy interacting with single individuals in lengthy conversations and I have come to much prefer Internet exchanges. I am more comfortable with conversation as an exchange of small essays which has only become possible with the advent of message boards, instant messaging and social networking. I am very reluctant to tell lies for a complex variety of reasons although I am not incapable of telling a lie when it comes to some issue of self-preservation. But then I am hardly typical or representative and the fact that I do not fit the typical mold in so many ways has a lot to do with why I am a financial and career failure.


Persecution and the Art of Writing

December 22, 2010

William: Nabokov equates curiosity with insubordination (in Pale Fire.) Creativity must be equally insubordinate and stifled under a dictatorial regime.

E. Theater was one of the things that was more creative under communist dominion. This is because, before the age of the ubiquitous cell-phone camera, it was possible to subvert the watchful eye of the censor by careful choreography. It was much more difficult to do in film or recorded music, and nearly impossible to do with the written word. But, theater, as the immediate art, was better in Eastern Europe than in the West during the final days of the Soviet Empire.

William: By “subverting the watchful eye of the censor” I am reminded of Leo Strauss’s “Persecution and the Art of Writing” where one has an external, carnal, safe meaning for the masses, and a hidden, secret meaning for the elite who are worthy enough to deconstruct it (e.g. if The Wizard of Oz were really some allegory about economics, government, gold standard.) Some say that The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is an attempt to escape the censors of orthodox Islam by expressing politically incorrect views in the guise of poetry.

Water Seeks its Own Level

December 19, 2010

It is not likely or reasonable that a nation comprised of a majority of bright and insightful people should decade after decade make the error of choosing the most inferior citizen to be their leader and therefore I conclude that we choose from among the best and are all therefore greatly inferior to our leaders.

No matter WHO is in the White House …

December 15, 2010

I honestly get the feeling that no matter WHO is in the White House, left or right, conservative or liberal, religious or secular, academic or Thespian or sartorial, a lot of people will despise him or her and will blame all the countries and worlds problems on him/her and if they are lucky they will only get 4 years (one term) to fix all the unfix-able problems and if they are unlucky they will get eight years.

Is Liberty a Zero-Sum Game?

December 10, 2010

Here is what prompted me to post my zero-sum statement about freedom: I visited the page of a politician/author and noticed the statement (paraphrased) “It is sufficient if I can live to age 120 so that I may restore liberty to all people.” I found that sentiment foolish on a number of counts IF it was said in earnest. First of all what does it mean to say that all do not possess maximum liberty right now and what sort of world would this be if everyone had the liberty which the author envisions? Secondly, the statement strikes me as some kind of messiah complex. I do not honestly believe that any one person can save the world, or a nation or even a state. So my off-the-cuff zero-sum remark was more or less my way of thumbing my nose at the notion of a 120 year old person restoring all people to liberty. I agree with Viktor Frankl in “Man’s Search for Meaning” that the one freedom which can never be taken from us even in a concentration camp is our inner freedom to CHOOSE how we shall regard the circumstances imposed upon us by forces beyond our control. For me that sort of liberty is not zero-sum and yet it is limited by many factors such as illiteracy, cultural conditioning and any number of things which shackle the mind into seeing things only in one particular way.
Freedom is a zero-sum game. When one gains more others of necessity have less. The only freedom we share in equal measure is within the boundaries of our skulls. Everything said to the contrary is rhetoric and delusion.

If America increases in its freedom to “fight terrorists” then we see a corresponding loss of freedom in Iraq.

If I am free to smoke in the restaurant then you are not free from second hand smoke. If you are free from second hand smoke, then I am not free to smoke in the restaurant.

In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.

Alan: I get your point William. A world of maximum individual liberty would be a Hobbesian state of of Nature. I can do whatever I want. You can do whatever you want. But without mutually agreed upon law of some sort then we both must fear harm from the other–as we both express our unfettered liberty.

Speeches which start MY FELLOW AMERICANS

December 7, 2010

Baruch writes: “My fellow Americans, these are tough times. We all know it, we all feel it, we are all affected. It is in times like these that we need to pull together, each doing our best to live up to the ideals this country was founded on. To that end I am asking Congress to immediately implement a number of measures in order to raise revenues and lift our country out of the mire of debt and unemployment, and in order to protect the natural environment. I propose a new tax on all incomes over $250,000 a year. This tax will be progressive, so that the more a person made the higher the percentage of that income will be paid in taxes. I know that the idea of new taxes is onerous to many but right now we need to do what’s best for the most. The good of the many outweighs the good of the few. This tax will not impoverish anyone, it will only be levied on those who already have more than they need to get by. Likewise corporations with over 100 employees will also see their taxes raised, and loopholes that have allowed multinational corporations to evade paying taxes must immediately be closed. We estimate that these measures will raise over $1 trillion in the next 10 years. A portion of that money is to be set aside for retooling factories for the manufacture of solar panels, windmills, and other green technologies. This will create jobs, lower our carbon footprint as a nation, and help us get on the right track with regards to global warming. These are just a few parts of the plan I will be presenting to Congress this week. When the new Congress convenes in January I will call upon each and every member to put aside their personal feelings and to work for the good of the nation. I ask you to let your congressional representatives and senators know what you want them to do, whether you want them to focus on their election campaign fund raising or to do the work of governance. I am also asking Congress to support an immediate drawdown in troop deployments abroad. My goal is to start closing US bases around the world, and to recall our forces. This will save over $5 billion per week! Last but not least I have set up a task force whose job it will be to collect ideas from you, the American people. No idea is too small for us to consider. What are your ideas for deficit reduction, for environmental protection, for economic recovery?
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”

I dont mean to be cruel or disrespectful but every time I hear someone like McCain say “My friends” (hey he is not my friend, I am a total stranger) or “My fellow Americans” (that is outmoded political rhetoric… I could understand fellow human beings but then that is a given which is understood and if someone feels the need to say it then there is no point in saying it) … every time I hear such overused trite phrases I feel discouraged. I yes all of us live in the same country by the fact that we were born on American soil rather than Canadian or Mexican. That we have any sort of “fellowship” I seriously question. I know that our motto E Pluribus Unum means “from the many one” but I don’t see the unity anyplace. Jesus prayed in the garden of Gesthemene “Father all those whom you have given me, MAY THEY BE ONE, even as you and I are one” and I never saw that religious unity take place either. This is my reaction to your initial phrase “My fellow Americans.” I shall now study the rest of your speech which I am certain has much merit. As a matter of fact, whenever I have occasion to speak to someone from certain cultures (e.g. Pakistan) their habit of speech is to say “My friend…” and then proceed to tell me why they disagree with me and everything I stand for. So whenever I hear someone start off saying “my friend” I automatically know not to see them as a friend because friendship is demonstrated by actions and needs no lip service. I shall now study the rest of your speech. Besides which, there are probably some illegal aliens in the audience and the speech is playing to nations around the world, both friend and foe, so “my fellow Americans” seems like a foolish way to start out.

Everything else in the speech looks great. Sorry to be a curmudgeon but if you wore a top hat and did a photo op kissing babies I would say that is somewhat dated. I think “My friends” and “My fellow Americans” is also dated. I do not see the world as a place where friendship and fellowship exist. I hear a lot of lip service paid to those words, but I do not see the capacity present in most people to actualize what those words friendship, fellowship and unity are supposed to represent. I suppose I should also add that I see nationalism as something outmoded and contrary to human wellbeing because what the world and the human species need is internationalism and world law, world government, world trade, world economy and not factionalism and saber rattling jingoism but I cannot see how this will ever be possible given the shortcomings of human nature and selfishness.

I understand and accept your reason for using stock in trade phrases. I just feel it is important now and then to openly state certain things that I see as obvious. Everything else in your speech makes a lot of sense to me. Your ideas sound promising. It is simply that I have lost all faith in and hope for the human race but that is my problem and not yours.

Actually, Baruch, I must praise you highly for actually coming up with the speech you would like to hear from Pres. Obama. So many times people just criticize and I want to say to them “Well, don’t just criticize everything but rather tell me how YOU would approach these problems.” So, more people should be like you Baruch. I respect that kind of positive approach rather than all the negative criticisms.

My entire human experience has been one of betrayal and disappointment. I no longer expect anything from God if there is a God, or society, or my fellow creatures. I certainly do not see anything in the phrase “my fellow Americans” except hypocrisy and self-delusion. I see no fellowship but only division. I am definitely American but I am not certain what that means beyond place of birth and citizenship. I just object to being called “fellow” or “friend.”

I am reminded of Jeremiah 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” I was born a Caucasian of European ancestry so I cannot change the color of my skin or my ancestry. I was born an American so I cannot change my nationality or my citizenship. I am not proud to be white because I know what my race has done in history and I know what Europeans have done in history. America has done some good things in its history. I wonder if it is too little and too late. I do not particularly like Martin Luther of the Reformation or agree with him, but I can relate to what he said at the cathedral door when he said “Here I stand. I can do no other.” So in the same fashion, at the end of my life, I simply stand here and say only those things that I can feel comfortable saying. I cannot say something different or keep silent simply because it would be more politically correct or because someone is not comfortable hearing how I see things. I realize that America was a superpower for a century. I suspect it is on its way down. Many people in the world dislike America and I think I can understand why. No nation lasts forever. I doubt if any nation even lasts 1000 years.

Large portions of America claim that America is founded as a “Christian Bible based” nation. Christianity sees pride as the original sin, the sin of Satan’s pride which caused him to be cast out of heaven, and the source of all other sins. It is the meek who shall inherit the earth and the peace makers who are blessed.. Yet Americans love to use the word pride. Does anyone sense any irony or conflict in this?

When extreme inequality leads to extreme violence

December 4, 2010

This is an important speech. Thanks. It reminds me of the notion that Dickens wrote “Tale of Two Cities” as a warning to England that if they are not careful they too might have their own “To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity.” — Maximilien Robespierre, 1794 — I’m not saying that what Robespierre did is good or right nor am I advocating it but simply remembering that such things have happened in history when inequality becomes extreme. — Robespierre saw no room for mercy in his Terror, stating that “slowness of judgments is equal to impunity” and “uncertainty of punishment encourages all the guilty”. Throughout his Report on the Principles of Political Morality, Robespierre assailed any stalling of action in defence of the Republic. In his thinking, there was not enough that could be done fast enough in defence against enemies at home and abroad. A staunch believer in the teachings of Rousseau, Robespierre believed that it was his duty as a public servant to push the Revolution forward, and that the only rational way to do that was to defend it on all fronts. The Report did not merely call for blood but also expounded many of the original ideas of the 1789 Revolution, such as political equality, suffrage, and abolition of privileges. Despite executing a good number of his fellow revolutionaries, Robespierre was still one of them in his theory, even if his practice was questionable.

Laughing in the toilet bowl

November 25, 2010

@Lynda: I like to joke. Its fun. I watched the debates on TV over Kagan’s appointment to the supreme court. I was listening to the proceedings and Al Franken of former Saturday Night Live fame was cracking some jokes. So, I thought to myself “This is why America is going straight down the toilet… because in the 1930s through 1950s we were not a comedy, media driven society but now every presidential hopeful (plus the elected ones) make the talk show host circuit and have variety shows in the White House and attend Dean Martin Style roasts. I saw Bush at a “roast” and he was joking about how his wife thinks that he solves every problem on his ranch with a chain-saw …. Now I realize that NOBODY will understand what is wrong with this… but we have become a nation of Henny Youngmen one liners and we are going down the toilet but laughing all the way as we watch Simpsons and Family Guy and Reality Shows and Judge Judy. We are a failure as a society but we dont realize it and we distract ourselves … and we elect former ACTORS AND weigh-lifters and cowboys and people who starred in Bedtime for Bonzo, and we see NOTHING wrong with that… and now Sarah Palin gets a greater following in Twitter than ANY OTHER POLITICIAN! Did you like my little joke? Are you smiling yet? Are you laughing yet? Well, I hope so…


You see, Baruch, (may I call you Baruch?) … Let me tell you why humans are @ssH@les . It is very simple really. Our sun is too small a star to blow up as a spectacular supernova (it would have to be about 4 to 8 times large.) A small star like our sun will increase as a white dwarf and then perhaps collapse to a singularity. All this may happen in about 8 billion years. Now you are probably saying “Not to worry, that is forever…” Ahhh but, you see, in 500,000 years the sun will grow so large and hot that life on Earth will cease… (and you are about to say, “Not to worry… 500,000 years is forever… no problem) and here we have the exact reason that human beings are @ssH@les .. namely, that we do not give a crap about the future. Stephen Hawking is right. We should be planning ahead so that human life and culture might continue… but you see… we will never plan ahead… we will never even plan 50 years ahead or 20 years ahead. So, once human life ends then all that Plato and Shakespeare and J.D. Salinger .. the whole f-ing shebang… what was it all for? Did you like that Noah’s ark story with all the animals in that boat and that flood… well humans could try to build an ark manned by cyborg bots who can repair themselves and it indefinitely, and all live on earth could be carried somehow, like a seed together will all human knowledge and culture, and that ark could drift in space for 1000 years until it found a suitable planet.. and perhaps then we would get another 500,000 years..

Do not put your head in the sand

November 19, 2010

Please take just a few minutes to read this article and then write a brief message

Be polite and respectful in appealing for the release of Asia Bibi. The messages we send could save a life! Thanks. ~ Sam

I think they look like they want some turkey with dressing. After all, we are all one big, happy family on this planet. We are all decent folks. We must TOLERATE each others beliefs. Why, we all worship the same God! Right? G.W. Bush told me that and he was President. And if there is something which seems, well… rather unpleasant… then we can just ignore it and act as if it isn’t even there. In fact don’t you DARE talk about that unpleasantness being there because… well… then you would be hateful and intolerant and that just would not do at all! If some people begin to feel a bit uneasy why we shall just distract them with hand puppets just the way we distract small children.

I am criticized as follows:

Oh, William, don’t go down that road. I, for one, am an atheist and am not exactly what you would call tolerant of any religion, but I also recognize when I’m standing at the top of a slippery slope. I would like to discuss this more if you’re open to it, but if not, then we can just leave it here for the sake of peace.

Well, I don’t want to get into a battle about which religions are violent (most are), or what their books say, I’m more interested in tolerating other people’s viewpoints, even if you don’t respect them. Personally, I find Christianity kind of odd, it’s like the world’s first zombie and his followers worship him by either metaphorically or in the case of Catholics (so they believe) actually eating his body and drinking his blood. All religion to me seems a bit suspect in the logic/probability department. But having said that, there are evil people of all stripes and that’s what we need to stand together against, is the evil, not lump good people in with the evil because they have the unfotunate circumstance of having been indoctrinated into some religion.

I am not in denial, considering I feel that Islam is no more foolish (or violent) than Christianity which is no more foolish or violent than Judaism … I’m just saying that what ::you:: might consider relevant, others may not. So, let’s back up a little bit and before we get into some muslim bashing, maybe we should look at the people who are making these claims of blasphemy and what their motives are, and I’ll bet you’ll find they have more to do with some petty politics, like back when the colonists burned witches ….

William, you are hell-bent on hating on Muslims so I’m bowing out of this conversation. Peace to you, and may you find tolerance and forgiveness in your heart.

William replies:
I suspect that the Qur’an may contain passages that suggest the death sentence for blaphemy:

Definitely one finds explicit statements in Hadith which is the redacted oral tradition which came in the century after Mohammad’s death:
Tabari 7:97 The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, “Kill any Jew who falls under your power.” Ashraf was a poet, killed by Muhammad’s men because he insulted Islam. Here, Muhammad widens the scope of his orders to kill. An innocent Jewish businessman was then slain by his Muslim partner, merely for being non-Muslim.

Tabari 9:69 “Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us” The words of Muhammad, prophet of Islam.

Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”
Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.” ……. Quran (33:60-62) – “If the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and the alarmists in the city do not cease, We verily shall urge thee on against them, then they will be your neighbors in it but a little while. Accursed, they will be seized wherever found and slain with a (fierce) slaughter.”

The books say what they say, many different translations are available on line, so it is not true that Qur’an/Hadith are free of such things…

The Sikh religion says “sometimes it is honorable to take up the sword” and two Sikhs assassinated Indira Gandhi because she messed with the Golden Temple… so other religions have notions of violence, and the Old Testament says that God ordered the genocide of Amalek and his nation… these books say what they say… no point in denying that

I am not in any battle… I just posted the relevant excerpts from Quran Hadith…. it is foolish to be in denial. Now the Torah of the Jews DOES say an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but Rabbis are quick to point out that never in the history of Judaism has that verse been invoked as law; rather they have always found ways to work around it… IF you were to post that 2 + 2 = 5 …. I would not be in a battle with you…. I would just say 2+2 = 4 and leave it at that… denial doesnt help Muslims and it doesn’t help the non-Muslims … as Salman Rushdie said IF there is reform then it must come from within Islam AND it will most likely start in the diaspora where people are in a multi-cultural pluralistic secular environment

I never said that I disrespect anything,…. I just quoted Qur’an and Hadith… you are the one who is putting the word “disrespect” into my mouth… I am just stating well known facts.

IN FACT right after Cat Stevens converted to Islam, there is an interview in which he is questioned about the death penalty for insulting Mohammad and he says right on camera that he agrees that such a person should be put to death… I viewed the interview myself… and it was long before 9/11.

How can you even talk about the “strict sense of Islam” ? Have you READ the Qur’an? Have you READ Hadith? I doubt that very much. The state of Texas is very Christian and the New Testament does not talk about the death penalty, but Texans are very enthusiastic about capital punishment. The European Union becomes less religious and more secular with each passing year and yet they forbid capital punishment (although they are indifferent strangely enough with regard to the abortion issue.)

@William: Last Thanksgiving dinner I had a Muslim student from DC, a reformed Jew from the Naval Academy and a couple of Catholic friends at my home for dinner. (I’m Presbyterian.) We had an incredible discussion and understanding. It was a great American Thanksgiving.

@Sam, you can do all sorts of lovely things, but that has no bearing on what the text of the Qur’an and Hadith says, or the Torah or the Talmud or the Adhi Granth. I mean a lot of people like to sweep things under the carpet where no one sees them, but that doesnt mean they have a clean house.

90 percent of all Roman Catholics arnt very Roman Catholic. 90 percent of all Muslims aren’t very Muslim or observant and will have a beer with you or eat some pork. 5/6 of the Israel Knesset is secular non observant… more than half of Israel is probably non religious… and they can all have great Thanksgiving dinners and parties… but that doesnt mean a thing… and it is the 10 per cent of each religion who is serious and does practice and determines what the nature of that religion is… The ostrich stick its head in the sand and thinks that no one sees it… but we all see the ostrich..

I have NEVER ONCE used the words HATE… you are putting words in my mouth. I dont think you have the background to even understand the history of Islam. I have friends who are Muslims. I can speak a little Arabic… I can have these discussions with Muslims who will agree with me and say “yes the Qur’an does say these passages.” You have to read and do your homework if you want to discuss things intelligently. The problem with American RIGHT NOW is that a huge number of people who rarely read a book and love watching Dancing with the Stars are enthusiastic about a media ho like Palin who QUIT her post as Governor because she could make more money with books and reality shows, and that is what people are turning to to run the nation. I dont want to be mean, but if someone wants to discuss these things they have to have some education, read some books, and do their homework. You cannot come to Show and Tell unless you have done all your homework. That is just the way life is.

Sam just posted a video of an entire town raising their hands and saying “Yes the woman should be executed for blasphemy.” Do you people even BOTHER to watch these video clips? I am not bashing anyone or hating anyone … It is a fact that Texas is in favor of the death penalty. GW Bush signed more death warrants than governor in a long time. That is not “bashing” Texas or bashing Protestant Christianity or hating anyone… it is simply a fact. Kurt Vonnegut pointed out that Bible belt folks are always anxious to put up a monument to Moses 10 commandments but no one EVER wants to put up a plaque to Jesus’ beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. Kurt Vonnegut was not “hating” or “bashing” anyone. He was just stating an ironic fact. There is a huge segment in America who INSIST that the founding fathers loved the Bible and wanted this to be a Christian nation. They condemn abortion and stem cell research. The only thing they DONT try to outlaw is DIVORCE and that is one of the few things that Jesus bothered to condemn: DIVORCE – that you should not put away your wife except for reason of ADULTERY. Now I am not hating or bashing America or Christianity if I simply point out the irony that no one wants to criminalize divorce in America yet divorce is one of the FEW things that Jesus openly condemned. I am not bashing or hating Switzerland when I state the fact that euthansia and heroin use is legal in Bern and not criminalized. I am not hating or bashing the European union when I say that they allow abortion but forbid capital punishment. I am just stating well known facts.

I just now wondered if perhaps the source of those quotes was biased so I went to a different site which seems unbiased and gives even STRONGER reasons why the blasphemer should be condemned.

At least Philip Combs agrees with me.

You can all have a shot at tolerating Cat Stevens in this interview. Perhaps Sam if you have that Pakistani town over for Thanksgiving you can get them to lighten up a bit

Locke vs Hobbes

November 16, 2010

I found a table once on the Internet with two columns (Locke on the left and Hobbes on the right) comparing and contrasting how those two thinkers differed or agreed on various points. I will search for that page now. From what I can remember Hobbes saw human nature as basically corrupt and so there could only be ONE free person (free in the natural sense) namely the sovereign or king and all others would yield their natural freedom in exchange for protection, security, etc. Locke saw that humans were capable of great good as well as great evil. It is said that all of today’s constitutional democracies trace back to Locke. Hobbes lived under a King, and I rather imagine that his life would have become more difficult had he not produced a book (The Leviathan) which praised and supported the “divine right of kings.” Now, in the Book of Samuel the prophet Samuel actually warns the people of the drawbacks in having a king (which some scholars see as an element of anarchist thought in the Old Testament.)