Ah, so the best kind
The hero of Stendhal’s novel “The Red and the Black” Julien Sorel, after reading the writings of the English philosopher [Hobbes], said bitterly: “This philosophy, perhaps correct, inspires a desire to die.”
I take it as symptomatic that the two most towering titans of political philosophy of the 20th century, Strauss and Schmitt, both wrote a standalone text on Hobbes. This is the only figure that both of them wrote a whole book on.
Hobbes published his magnum opus only about a couple years after Charles I was executed. He was on the side of the royalists. Locke was about 20 years old when Hobbes wrote this. The American Founders took the Saxon Roundhead path of Locke in formulating the Constitution, Declaration, and etc.–and here we are.
Hobbes was the first “political scientist” proper, in the technical sense of being an avid follower of the chief theoretician of the Scientific Revolution, Bacon. He saw the knowledge of politics as part of the nature that needed to be dominated.
Hobbes was also one of these people I’m fond of speaking of who had a close connection with antiquity- when he was 14 he translated Euripides from Greek to Latin. When you acquire a somewhat clear view of the ancients, the ideas that Americans tend to believe cease to appear so bulletproof. I remember learning Locke in MIDDLE SCHOOL. Of course they never called it “Lockean”–the teachers themselves probably weren’t even aware–but any of the talk about “separation of powers” derives from Locke. He is the theorist behind why we have a senate and a house of representatives. The telos of Locke is to be ruled by mudpeople. If our Founders had gone with Hobbes instead America would not have this problem today.
If you are squeamish about racism and sexism, just think of it as white plebs in power. That’s part of it anyway. All part of the same mud swirl of anti-reason and brainlessness.
If we wanted to, we could keep turning back the clock even further-
Hobbes lived in a transitional era, and in his views aristocratic, bourgeois and popular elements were closely intertwined.
We’ve seen that this is also true of Shakespeare, who died when Hobbes was 28.
Bourgeois and popular elements are completely lacking in someone like Aristotle.
Like I’ve said, one of my prominent “personas” is of an Englishman- and we’re just very self-deprecating. I’ll burn England to the ground and it will be funny to me.
My point here is that we Americans of today are the “clones” of the old English in significant ways, and they had their high points and their low points–and we can choose to emulate one or the other.
Try reading Aristotle’s Politics and Hobbes’s Leviathan back to back- I find that there is a higher level of realism in Aristotle- so much so that it might make you puke.
Aristotle is more timeless than this
most of the analyzed [scholars] seemed to be distinguished by their desire to connect Hobbes with his era
Scholars are always trying to do this with Aristotle, but I argue that this is largely coping. Our academics are cladistic Lockeans, and Locke was farther from realism than Hobbes.
“Aristotle was a man of his time.” No, he was just right, and you can’t accept it.
They’re the very “slave natures” that he discusses, so I wonder why they can’t accept that he’s right?
“I knew you were going to circle back to that! I hate you!” So sawwwwwwy.
Anyway, something dark to understand about the political context of Hobbes’s England is that… Charles kind of ummm deserved it? So really it was a lose/lose for the English. And now, for the whole world.
The King was bad, the Revolution was bad. Charles was a sham-king as Carlyle calls them. And Cromwell’s revolution was a sham-revolution.
Now today we have a congress of shams and sham-jewry ruling a citizenry that is in an eternal sham-revolution.
This didn’t start with our “Founders”- they didn’t “found” anything in a sense, since they didn’t innovate much from what already had taken place in England.
Carrying on though, Hobbes always reminds me of George Costanza saying “You know we’re living in a SOCIETY!” So if you enjoy learning what society really is you’d appreciate Hobbes.
A Russian sees why I choose to speak of Hobbes
the chronology of the English Renaissance. Let us only note that it was wholly “late” and its highest ascent – Shakespeare, Bacon and Hobbes – act as “epigons” against the background of pan-European intellectual shifts.
Artist, scientist, philosopher, boom boom boom. You need all three for a genuine Renaissance.
Not like Lockean Americans care anything about that!
Ah man, now I’m imagining an artist-version of Elista… I doubt one exists. The Bolsheviks made sure to wipe out any possibility of this.
Here is why I find Hobbes important for “us” though
He justifies the pathos of distance necessary for optimal performance in the royal art.
Fixing the country would require a ruler who was not influenced by the degenerate masses in any way.
Do I expect this to happen? Hell no, you know I’m a total pessimist. I only formulate IDEALS here, and show you who the best formulators of them are.
The last decade of observing (and being part of) contemporary politics has led me to conclude that living quietly away from it all is probably preferable to diving right into the maelstrom. The forces we see in motion today more and more seem to follow laws of necessity put in place many centuries ago. Still, we can dream, we can formulate ideals.