Quarrels and War
“So the nature of war, consisteth not in actuall fighting; but in the known disposition thereto, during all the time there is no assurance to the contrary.” (The Leviathan, Chapter XIII)
Hobbes identified “three principall causes of quarrell. First, competition; Secondly, Diffidence; Thirdly, Glory. The first maketh man invade for gain; the second, for Safety; and the third, for Reputation. The first use Violence, to make themselves Masters of other mens persons, wives, children, and cattell; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles, as a word, a smile, a different opinion, and any other signe of undervalue, either direct in their Persons, or by reflexion in their Kindred, their Friends, their Nation, their Profession, or their Name.”
What we heard and saw in this week debate, held on 16 October 2012, is one man, President Obama, defending himself against false accusations and false accusations may eventually lead a man to say: “You’re lying.” The debate turned into a quarrel and President Obama defended himself, for his own safety. Human beings are born equipped with an instinct for self-preservation. John Locke opposed inneism, but to my knowledge, he did not negate the innateness of man’s instinct for self-preservation. It is the instinct that motivates individuals to protect themselves and, at times, to enter into a Social Contract to ensure their safety.
In Chapter XIV of the Leviathan, Hobbes writes that “no man can transferre, or lay down his Right to save himselfe from Death, Wounds, and Imprisonment.”
In the case of the October 16th debate, no one had to fear death and imprisonment, but wounds were being inflicted. Mr Romney indulged in machiavelianism: the end justifies the means. I therefore believe that the winner in the October 16th, 2012 debate is President Obama. Defending oneself seems legitimate.
The Near and Middle East
Moreover, if war is a constant feature in human behaviour, the US and the world may be at risk again (please see the New York Times, 20 October 2012, for an analysis), “Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.”
Mr Romney should know better. It isn’t in the best interest of the United States to wage war in the Near and Middle East. Citizens of the Near and Middle East loathe the United States. I would rephrase the above quotation. It would read: “The world must stand firmly in opposing nuclear threat.”
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, is no choirboy. If the US takes sides, it may provoke him into greater adversity.
Besides, we all know that Mr Romney is seeking the Presidency of the United States in order to spare the rich their fair share of taxes, which is the freedom we surrender, the social contract, in order to live safely.