Monthly Archives: November 2014

What Makes a Good Ruler?

In Hobbes Leviathan, he discusses his philosophy on politics. He believes that one person should have total control to best protect the people. Hobbes states the sovereign “that is to govern a whole nation, must read in himself, not this, or that particular man; but mankind” (8). He is saying that the leader must understand not just one type of person, but all people. To be a good ruler, the sovereign power must understand everyone’s perspective. I agree with Hobbes on this point, but I think it is impractical. If a leader understood everyone, then he or she could be a great ruler, but they could also take advantage of the situation very easily. A ruler with total power and an understanding of why everyone acts the way they do could manipulate people for their own benefit. This type of government has the potential to become a tyranny depending on who the ruler is. Another flaw in Hobbes idea is no one can understand every single type of person. People are very complicated and have many motives to do one simple task. It would be very difficult to understand why one person acts the way they do. Psychologists studying people for years and still do not understand why their subject behaves a certain way. It would be nearly impossible for a ruler to understand every single person under their rule. Also, it is difficult to please everyone. The best type of government and laws, in my opinion, have compromises to help majority of the people. It would be difficult to make a law that encompasses every citizen’s perspective. And while a ruler who knows what everyone wants would make the best compromises, I do not believe it is worth the risk of tyranny to give one person total power in the hopes of generating an amazing ruler.