Robert Lewis Dabney on Hobbesian absolutism

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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
... The essence of political power, then, is force; and in order to gain the end of government, repose, it must be an irresistible force. Government, then, should be absolutely despotic. And it is much more consistent that it should be an absolute monarchy in the hands of one man. The ruler is absolute proprietor of the persons and property of all the citizens; he is wholly irresponsible to them, as to all earthly authority. For, in passing from the state of nature into the political state, each person surrendered his individual independence absolutely to the Ruler, and a surrender of this kind is final and beyond recall.

For, by this act, right of resistance is for the people annihilated; and they have reduced themselves, as holders of such a franchise, to non-existence. The entrance of the integer into political society is, as to his separate rights, final suicide. The Ruler is master, and the citizens are property: property has no appeal against its own proprietor. Any right of conscience against the Ruler’s fiat is, of course, out of the question: for Hobbes does not believe in any conscience that can have rights. ...

For more, see Robert Lewis Dabney on Hobbesian absolutism.


Puritan Board Graduate
I believe the political philosophical landscape in unbelieving thought is basically a dialectic between Hobbes and Rousseau. A recognition of our animalistic nature (war of all with all, Hobbes) and the innocent view of "social contract" ( innocent "pure" nature, Rousseau). One is a denial of original sin (Rousseau) and the other a denial of common grace (Hobbes).
But Chritianity has no structural dialectic in that we hold both realities to be true at the same time. Regardless of ones view of Christ and culture every view holds these two truths to be fundamental not dialectical. Every view has a solution to the problem namely Christ and his work, however defined.
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