StudyBoss » Democracy » Thomas Hobbes: Source Analysis Research Paper

Thomas Hobbes: Source Analysis Research Paper

The source argues that in the name of protecting civil liberties, the mass people have too much of a say over things, and that those strong leaders in power do not “get a chance to serve the common good. ” The ideology presented in the source is that a single, strong leader provides more stability than a democracy. The source presented advocates in favour of a collective, authoritarian form of government. The philosopher Thomas Hobbes would have supported the source by referring to society’s need for a “leviathan” or centralization of power, since he believed that people were incapable of governing themselves.

However, this source is not a complete rejection of the values and principles of liberalism as it still maintains democracy as the system of government used, and democracy is the system of government that was born out of liberal ideals. On the contrary, it is too easy for a person to become power hungry and lead a government into a dictatorship. A strong leader who carries out democracy is better than a strong leader in general. The ideology presented should be rejected to the full extent. Instead a modern liberal government would be able to present a tenacious leader who upholds democracy.

In order to fully maintain the stability of the state, a society must adopt a democratic form of government in order to provide citizens with civil liberties, which in turn will serve the common good rather than having a strong leader in place to overrule these liberties. This can be seen through the investigation of Stalin, Hitler, the October Crisis, the Japanese Internment and John Locke. In societies where a strong leader is present, civil liberties are undermined in order to protect the stability of the state. However, by not protecting such liberties, the stability of the tate may be placed in jeopardy as the common good is not being served. In the cases of Stalin’s Russia, the presence of a strong leader along with an absence of civil liberties destroyed the country from within. The citizens of Russia had primarily no civil liberties, and lived under Stalin’s oppressive rule. Stalin sought to use the five year plan to stabilize Russia. The initial five-year plans were created to serve in the rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union and thus placed a major focus on heavy industry. He increased industrial production by 20% per year.

The acceleration of economic development ended among a profound economic crisis in virtually all areas of Soviet economy and drop in production. During this time, the Ukraine famine occurred. There was not enough food produced and millions starved. This devastation was due to the civilians not being able to oppose Stalin’s repressive leadership, due to their lack of fundamental rights. The same goes with Hitler’s Germany: his oppressive views did not serve the common good of the people, and he tore the country in half with racism.

Adolf Hitler began his climb to becoming a dictator by eliminating specific parts of the German government, such as the Chancellor. This made it possible for him to become the Fuhrer, which made it impossible for citizens to vote him out of power. Hitler was very charismatic, and even though what he was saying in his speeches was not completely justified, he managed to convince people into believing he was right; that the plan he had in mind for Germany was the only way to bring it out of the Great Depression and out from underneath the Treaty of Versailles.

After doing such, he was able to slowly begin the transition of turning the once democratic nation into a full on dictatorship. Once in power he accomplished his approach to rebuild Germany’s economy. He did so by manufacturing weapons. At the time, it seemed like Germany would finally be advancing from the devastations of their past. Instead, Hitler used his power over the citizens and techniques of propaganda to brainwash people into the Holocaust. The first enforcement of illiberalism was revealed when the Enabling Act came into place.

Hitler used this new established power to be able to start using the Jews as scapegoats. As a matter of fact, Hitler was using his “strong leader” title to accomplish his own personal goals. He turned the citizens of his country against one another. Furthermore, he convinced the Germans that their main objective was to eradicate Jews since they were the ones who supposedly flawed Germany. Instead of creating a stable society where the needs of each individual was being met, it created chaos and instability within the nation.

The danger of electing a strong leader in a liberal democracy is that their ability and leadership skills may lead to the implementation of personal desires, rather than for the common good. Whereas if civil liberties (including the rights and freedoms that come along with it) were in force under Hitler and Stalin, the citizens would have been able to convey dissent towards their leaders’ goals. Therefore, preventing the devastations that the strong leaders created. In reality, even in a long-established democratic liberal state acts of illiberalism have occurred.

The rights and freedoms of citizens have been taken away to obtain safety. This is exemplified by the October Crisis. During the 1970’s, Prime Minister Trudeau was telling people to “Just watch [him)” on how far he would go in the suspension of civil liberties to maintain order. A few days later the legislation that was put in place was called the War Measures Act. It was created to aid the police in tracking the FLQ, who were terrorizing Quebec. Thereby, it conferred emergency powers to the Canadian government to maintain security and order during war or insurrection.

However, instead it also eroded the rights and freedoms of Canadians. It is not acceptable to round up people for no reason, because their freedom of mobility is being taken away. Their fundamental rights are being infringed upon, which causes instability and civilians to erupt into hysteria. This also applies to Vancouver mayor Campbell who wanted to round up yippie groups and Maoists. Another instance where this is shown is during the Japanese Internment. The Canadian government made citizens with any Japanese blood either live in internment camps or be shipped back to Japan.

The government perceived it as a safety measure to ensure the wellbeing of Canada. The whole case was developed from a discriminatory standpoint where the government seized control for a period of time of making decisions across Canada. Those decisions were not as informed or effective because they were based on a racist policy that could have been avoided had more people been allowed to have further input. In Canada after the events had ended, the government handed the power back to the people, while Hitler, for example, never did. The Emergencies Act was created to compensate anyone suffering injury or damage as a result of the Act.

It limited the powers of government in means to restore civil liberties. These time periods in the Canadian history demonstrates why civil liberties must be protected in order to maintain a stable state. When the civil liberties of citizens are protected through a government such as democracy, and the decisions taken by the government are truly for the citizens, the stability of the state is not undermined since the common good is truly being served. This way of thinking aligns itself with the philosopher John Locke. He is known as the Father of Liberalism and his ideas surrounding individual rights and freedoms.

His philosophy encompasses itself on the basis of “life, liberty and property. ” This is the philosophy on which the American Constitution and all Western political systems today are based. His ideas are used in today’s modern liberal states such as Canada and the United States. Thereby, these states are known to be stable. This stability came about through protecting civil liberties, rather than suspending them. In the most thriving democracies, there is a separation of power; a system of checks and balances to keep power away from a centralized point.

The most effective way to achieve stability is by holding the government accountable. When the people of the state are collectedly aware of the intentions the government possesses, they will be ensured that the will of the people is being met and rather not for personal desires. Otherwise, the state would become unstable as the people would want to overthrow the government. More importantly, this allows for the citizens to exercise their freedoms by being capable of expressing dissent towards the government.

Once again, Locke’s idea of delegating towards the will of the people corresponds to the government’s actions. This act is further carried through by the periodic elections that have been put in place. If the government is mindful of the fact that the people can choose to remove them from power, they will be more conscious in responding to the people, in means to be re-elected. WRAP IT UP (mention Trudeau trying to change voting policy? ) Protection of civil liberties is essential to the maintenance of an effective democracy, otherwise the majority can just prohibit all diversity by law.

A strong leader can lead their people through explanation of the merits of their plans, not by restriction of the rights of those who oppose them. Time and time again, it has been made evident that states ruled by a single member of power has led to calamity. For this reason, the source should not be embraced, as the absence of liberalism often leads to instability of a state. Whenever the basic principles of liberalism are rejected, the state ends up collapsing. Since the power should always lie in the hands of the citizens, they will determine the future of the state.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.