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Thomas hobbes on property

Updated on December 18, 2014

Thomas Hobbes leviathan view on property

Hobbes believed that each individual should surrender their natural rights to the state. He believed that the Kings and Queens (or head of states) had the 'divine right to rule' meaning they were chosen by god. His famous quote from the leviathan was that, "Life is solitary, poor, nasty, British and short'. His view on the states relationship with a persons property is that the law is in place to protect order and security and therefore the citizens must surrender their natural freedom to protect order and security.

The main aim of his theory is to undermine a possible revolution or uprising but insuring the citizens surrender their powers to the state. He believed everybody has a natural power, this could be anything from giving to charity to fighting in a war against another country. He believed that in the end it was a selfish act, and everything we do turns out to be a selfish act, such as charity donations being an exercise of your power.

On this basis he believed that the sovereign is always just and unlimited, meaning that are always right and should have unlimited powers to do as they wish. Also regarding the sovereigns powers he claimed they needed to be absolute and the absolute monarchy is the best form of government. This goes along with Aristotle's view on that we are social animals who have it in our natural to be ruled.

If we don't obey the state we will fall into anarchy. One of the strongest points Hobbes makes to back up his theory would be that we are all selfish and if their was no state or law what would stop us from stealing somebody else's property? Which i feel is a valid point.

Thomas Hobbes literature

The state of nature

Hobbes believed that we should obey the state as we are in the state of nature as animals and by surrendering our powers to the artificial state we secure a safe and equal place to live. This theory would still work today if you look in the UK as the Queen being head of state and it is indeed a very modern version his theory today.

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