I have some problems with Hobbes.
First is the fact that he simply choose to ignore the law of human nature that power corrupts. I think it this has been proven in practice many times in human history and it is ridiculous for him to either not recognize it or ignore it. Didn’t he watch Lord of the Rings?
Second: if people can’t question government and are forced to obey it in every sense of the word even if it is explicitly wrong then we are all pretty screwed. Am I expected to find solace in the possibility that this ruler will be punished by God if he enforces the wrong rules? What if I follow a different God than he does, what if I am an atheist? Then what happens? If government isn’t good enough per se and if its mediocre then are all fucked.
Third: If I, not only get a mediocre and incompetent government (granted democracies often choose mediocre and incompetent governments) but also get a government that might not be incompetent but is adamantly against what I believe then I am thrice as screwed. I get a highly effective and competent government that follows a different set of values than me, call it what you want, and is determined to exterminate me! But it gets even worse: that government is doing what is right according to its own set of values and to its people, who see all these atrocious acts as something that is not only correct but admirable. It sounds a lot like Nazi Germany.
This things makes think that Hobbes’ ideas aren’t universal, sorry to disagree with Robert Crawford. How can such a brilliant philosopher discard something as certain as gravity as is the law that power corrupts? It is ridiculous.
While I disagree with Hobbes I can’t think he is stupid or ridiculous so I am forced to draw this certain conclusion: The Leviathan is not only not universal but it is also very specific to the political situation in England at the time. This brings me to my fourth problem with Hobbes.
Fourth: His political ideas are based on a country divided within itself in the form of kingdoms and feuds with different legislations, private armies and two conflicting religious ideologies. It is a country that desperately needs a strong central power to unite the country and enforce a unique set of laws to avoid the fragmentation of said country. This state will impose order and law and prevent the people from falling into the state of nature so proudly feared by Hobbes. It will enforce peace even if its forced, despised and oppressive peace.