Tile Molsteeg: Hobbes

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. (1651)

The most famous book by Hobbes is called the Leviathan, published in Amsterdam on the Molsteeg. The central idea in this book is that people without a strong sovereign, also known as Leviathan, would be in a state of nature. The title of this work refers to the sea monster that can be found in the Bible, and that has an enormous power.

According to Hobbes, the state of nature is not peaceful and heavenly; on the contrary. Everyone is self-centered and harms other people for their own self-interest. A strong sovereign is necessary to curb these forces. The sovereign can punish and even use violence to make sure everyone abides by the rules. The subjects voluntarily give their power to the monarch to be protected against others and themselves. In the quote, Hobbes clarifies how horrendous life would be without a strong sovereign. Of course, many have pointed out that enforcement of rules can also be arranged in different ways, without a strong sovereign.