Has anyone yet noticed the pattern of events in the Middle East? Surely some of us have read the daily news about the region over… well, however long they’ve been alive, and noticed something quite peculiar about the people who inhabit the states that comprise the region. Perhaps they’ve noticed something about the kind of leaders that rule with such ruthless and unforgiving contempt for their subjects. One would hope that those observant among us would have noticed both, and with any luck, noticed a correlation between the two. Does the situation remind you of anyone? If you said Thomas Hobbes you are ahead of the curve. If you don’t quite get the reference, allow me to elaborate…
… Jesus H. Christ! I probably should have elaborated before drinking a half a bottle of Fireball whiskey. To the whiskey purists out there, I feel you. Trust me I feel you. I used to think that whiskey was meant specifically NOT to taste like candy, but rather like a campfire, or at least a lightening-struck-oak. A friend of mine, nope, wrong word… one of the best people I’ve ever known introduced me to Fireball whiskey. Since their taste is nothing to (generally) scoff at, I recently indulged. (Well actually I indulged back in December ’11, but I tasted it for the first time that I can remember.) I attribute my future cirrhosis to Fireball whiskey.
Okay, getting back to the Middle east, Hobbes, and the Leviathan…
Thomas Hobbes believes that that we are all born into a state of nature, and that being in a state of nature (SON) we are all at perfect liberty to do damn near anything the fuck we feel like. It’s true: being fully endowed with all of the liberties that the Grand Architect has designed us to have, we have full privilege to do as we please with respect to satisfying our desires, governing ourselves, pursuing our amusements, and so on. (Locke, and Mill disagree, but more on that to come.) So in this state, there’s shit we want. Unfortunately, there’s more people wanting “X” than there is “X” to go around, so now we have the birth of conflict. This conflict typically has nowhere to go but even worse, that is, that people will start aligning themselves with either side of the conflict, and shit starts getting super crazy and escalates. Before long, all-out-war has broken the peace of perfect freedom. Why is this so? Why couldn’t people, as Rodney King so aptly inquired, “Can’t we all just get along?” Here’s why…
Psychological egoism. People, Hobbes avers, naturally are looking out for number one, number one, of course, being themselves and their interests. This psychological egoism that we are all said to have provides ample conditions for shit “getting real.” It makes it so that instead of just being happy with all that is required for your sustenance, people are driven to want more, and more, and more, until the point where it’s necessary to take from others. As will most often be the case, those people will not just give up what they have; what they have worked for, what they have potentially fought for, and what they have very good reason to claim as entirely theirs is, in fact, fuckin’ theirs! But Hobbes avers that in a state of nature, anything goes. In a SON, it’s the survival of the fittest. The one, or one’s with the most strength are properly exercising their rights in a SON.
It goes further than this. Hobbes goes on to say that it is a lack of development that leads to these conflicts, and it will not, and does not ever stop at the mere acquisition of things. He states that even those who disagree with the ones with the most power in the SON will seek to bend everyone’s will to their own, in essence commandeering even the independent will from those whom they have despoiled. There, then, is literally no end to the barbarism that follows from such a state of “nature.”
So what’s the solution? Hobbes avers that the reason that the people, endowed with such a precious gift as liberty, behave so badly is because there is nothing to reign in their behavior. Anyone ever hear, “While the cat’s away, the mice are at play?” We humans aren’t much more civilized than mice, evidently. Well, at least some of us aren’t. Anyway, Hobbes has quite a good point that we do not have the “sensus divinitatus” that Calvin suspects we do; we have no natural sense of God, or his version of right and wrong, so we do whatever the fuck we feel like if it makes us happy. Solution time: instill the fear of God into the people by an earthly agent of his, perhaps duly elected, or perhaps he is just the one that God puts into the position of power to properly subject the people into conformity of his will. The point is simple:
People misbehave by nature -> People need authority -> God can’t/doesn’t intervene -> a human authority figure is needed -> if that human authority figure is going to be successful, they’d better have the might and power of a vengeful, sin-hating god -> the only way to have a civilized society is to have an absolute monarch, or, Leviathan.
There’s Hobbes in a nutshell.
So how does this apply to the Middle-shit-bag-east? Wake up stupid – every time the US “frees” some shithole out there, the people go buck wild and end up killing way the fuck more people than ever before, even under the insidious reign of whatever 2-cent dictator was ruling the mudpile. I don’t (or shouldn’t) need to remind you all of the recent turmoil throughout the land, and how the turmoil has invariably gotten worse when the iron-fisted dictators are deposed with our help; chaos ensues, and when it is, the US is typically on the receiving end of the shit explosion.
So here’s my rather unsophistical appraisal of the situation…
The commoners in the Middle East NEED a Leviathan to keep them in check, to maintain peace, and to subdue to will, passion, and vitriol of their unevolved underclass. Remember that even Plato recognized the danger of this low-dwelling populous; he views them as dangerous, and entirely subject to the will of the authority of the upper echelons of society (the Philosopher Kings). The “auxiliaries” in place are meant to remind the base humans that they are allowed to live and be “free” withing due bounds; bounds clearly drawn by the tenancies of that groups propensities. It just so happens that the propensity in the Middle East is one toward non-stop and pointless violence, murder, misogyny, arson, theft, rioting, and so on. They have NO RIGHT – deontological or otherwise – to behave the way they do. As such, Hobbes’ solution works. They don’t deserve the freedom to voice their opinions because they can’t do it as civilized human beings. As such, they need to be oppressed. They need to be subdued by the unshakable power of an absolute monarchy that guides them to the decisions that they clearly cannot rationally make for themselves.
Middle East peace = problem solved. Not bad for a totally shit faced man who fears the rejection that is almost certainly awaiting him on his last trip this summer… this shitty, shitty summer.
Yours In Contemplation,