Hobbes is Wrong About Society

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The idea that society is ordered from the top-down originated from Thomas Hobbes’ seminal 1651 book, Leviathan. And this idea still resonates strongly today: we agree to a social contract in which we give up some of our freedoms to the state, in the hope that it will ensure order and our protection. Yet here, Gary A. Fine discusses why Hobbes was mistaken to think that order must be built vertically, and instead asserts that we should look to our local groups and communities to order society, and drive us towards a more just world. Edmund Burke, the profound English political theorist, noted in his Reflections on the French Revolution:”To love the little platoon we belong to in society is the first principle of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind.”Revolutions, democratic transitions, or conspiracies by shadowy elites all have their basis in little platoons. If we examine the genesis of the First World W…

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