Hobbes Gun Control
Memorandum for: President Obama
Grounding Gun Control in Hobbesian Philosophy
The state of the nation is in peril due to many conflicting circumstances and an ever present threat of war and chaos. The executive branch of the U.S. Government is responsible for guiding the country in the right direction according to the dictates given to the President and his staff by means of election. The moral and ethical duties of leadership are needed to help guide the American people into a new and brighter future.
The purpose of this memo is to provide political and philosophical guidance to help relate the current clash of ideas relating to gun control and violence. To accomplish this, the works of Thomas Hobbes will be used to frame the argument and provide a template of action that is based on popular social theories explained in Hobbes work. The advantage of using Hobbes’ ideas in this case relate directly to the issue of gun control, and control in general over the masses of population that are under the blanket of government protection.
Gun control is an issue that is based in the fundamental liberties of the Constitution as the right to bear arms is an explicit mandate to allow the citizens of this country the opportunity to possess fire arms and use them in any way they see fit as long as it does not infringe on another’s right to peacefully exist. It is important to realize however, that the Constitution is a living documented that has gone under many changes in its existence to this date, and it should not be a concern for a leader who can explain himself using Hobbes’ ideas on the social contract of government.
Using Hobbes for Political Advantage
When Hobbes wrote ” so far in the nature of man, we find three principle causes of quarrel. First, competition, secondly, diffidence; thirdly glory,” he expressed a simple manual for governance in a trinity of qualities. This ideals are useful in understanding how the common man thinks, but more importantly reacts to the political pressures that are placed upon him by his government. This struggle of ideas can be used for positive ends if the right tension is applied in the right places. To use the guidance presented by Hobbes, Mr. President, it is of primary importance of describing and explaining your objectives in an explicit manner.
The will of the president is all that prevents him from achieving the goals and desires that he wishes. Hobbes gave premise to this argument as he explained the common man as a very simple creature who must obey the natural order of things and the universe. This state of nature urges man to seek out his own individual needs and desires as a first reaction where self preservation is of the highest importance.
Politically, this view point can assist in modifying the opponents of gun control legislation. By identifying the major opponents on the efforts to quell gun control, and determining their most sacred self-interest, a compromise may be reached to help accelerate the legislative process that contains the control measures that you desire. Attacking an opponent’s ability to self-preserve makes them much more willing to compromise and cooperate in political undertakings. For these reasons, it also very important that the Executive branch keeps their intentions for self preservation as secret as possible to help distort the political battlefield and confuse the enemy. All war is deception, and using Hobbes’ ideas in this fashion may provide the necessary element in shifting the collective opinion in your favor.
Hobbes’ language is dependent on the word “nature” and the images and emotions this idea creates. This approach is also very useful as the idea of natural law is very pleasing to the lay man and creates a sense of superiority and destiny that cannot be argued with. Like Hobbes, it is important to separate this gun control movement from any sense of divine intervention or religious overtones, but continually focus on the ideas of self preservation. Fomenting this instinct amongst your political enemies gives you the opportunity to interject counter ideas that support your ultimate objectives.
To obtain political objectives it is important to keep your enemies on edge at not at ease. Hobbes explained this in chapter 17 of Leviathon: “irrational creatures cannot distinguish between injury and damage and therefore as long as they be at ease, they are not offended with their fellows: whereas man is then most troublesome, when he is most at ease: for then it is that he loves to shew his wisdom, and control the actions of them that govern the commonwealth, ” (p. 113). In other words, by keeping your enemy distracted with trivial nonsense, that ultimately distracts him, will keep that enemy preoccupied with a competing idea. This notion can be used conversely as well. When the population needs to be quelled, assure them at put their mind at ease in order to satiate their need for peace. It appears that a constant push/pull method may work best to keep your political enemies off guard and vulnerable to surprise attacks.
In a more explicit approach to the problems you are facing gun control efforts, may require making appeals to the population itself in attempt to emotionally sway them to your desired place of standing. According to Hobbes, reasonable and rationale men ultimately subside to the control of government, because they know by subjecting themselves to this power their natural urges and desires can be controlled. Appealing to those who Hobbes’ philosophy may apply to may be prudent in your attempts to realize your legislative goals. Emphasizing and drawing upon this yearning to submit to government, according to Hobbes, may gain political points throughout the geographical areas that are more prone to this type of philosophy.
Creating a social contract in the Hobbes’ model of government, requires creativity, courage and the will to accept the responsibility of power and will. The natural state of things has brought this power structure into being and it should be respected as very “natural” and definite process. Understanding Hobbes leads one to posit that regardless of divine interpretations or spiritual tendencies, it is important to realize that man’s ability to organize himself in government is itself a natural and inescapable process that must be incorporated into the grand schemes of existence.
While Thomas Hobbes does not provide a complete solution to the problems you are facing, there are many useful models that can be created based upon the ideas and writings of Hobbes. Using such political tactics appears to be a useful and well tested attempt at achieving your own self needs and realizing your own self potential that cannot be ignored whether you are the president or anyone else.
Hobbes, Thomas. Of Man, Being the First Part of Leviathan. Vol. XXXIV, Part 5. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909 — 14; Bartleby.com, 2001. www.bartleby.com/34/5/. [
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