Good versus Evil

Very interesting comparison—a good versus evil, nature of man discussion—between John Locke and Thomas Hobbes and how they’ve shaped modern society via their influence on the framers of the constitution. I’m in the Locke camp as I prefer to believe that man is essentially good, that existential circumstance tends to bend and force us into straying from that ideal. I am also in agreement with his view of the contract we make with the government and almost entirely opposed to Hobbes’ version as his ideas make no facility available for the relief of oppression, just that it’s (in the form of any government) better than reversion to nature.

While it’s an interesting read, where it fails to connect to today’s reality is that we no longer deal in the gross execution of the powers cited and instead are left dealing with the innumerable minutia that daily bombards us. These billion (and counting) details are the white noise of society—media bias, partisan politics, liberal versus conservative, this program over that program—with which we must constantly filter, compare and contrast in order to arrive at some coherent view of where we, as individuals, exist within the societal framework we’ve intrinsically agreed to. The funny thing, I think, is that this “intrinsic” agreement is manifested by us by not overthrowing the current government. After all, we’re born into it so we don’t actually choose the government at that point. We show our agreement by not violently disagreeing.

Think about that for a second.

Both Locke and Hobbes were brilliant at discerning those macro movements, the contractual relationships between a government and the governed but they did not, nor I believe could not, recreate in words or even conceptually the massively complicated world that exists now. They both identified and advocated very few levers that could be moved to affect society as a whole so extrapolating their concepts has, in my opinion, become so problematic as to render them useless. While they spoke with the authority of a time and place, that authority has been abrogated repeatedly since then, both by science and society itself, until what we’re left with are (regardless their genius) merely echoes and stains left on the collected consciousness.

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