Obeying The Law

Essay by xThricexUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2006

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A social structure is mandatory for the survival of humans. Man's natural affinity for evil and conflict has been around since the dawn of time - until order was maintained through the introduction of laws. Without law, the integrity and stability of society would diminish completely. As a strong advocate of determinism, Thomas Hobbes believes that a strict government is the only way to social stability.

Hobbes believed that a state of nature - one without a form of government - would essentially be a "war of all against all." This life would hardly be worth living due to the inherent evil nature of some human beings - selfishness, desperation and greed are the factors that define the "war of all against all state." Hobbes thought that people will violently compete in order to secure the basic necessities of life or for material gains; that people would compete and challenge others out of fear to ensure personal safety and to earn a glorified reputation so as to deter others from challenging us.

Without some form of leadership, laws and government everyone would be in a state of universal insecurity dominated by fear. Even those who aren't selfish or cowardly - those who are inherently good - would behave selfishly and cowardly in order to secure their safety. They would have no problem, for example, attacking a potential threat if it would earn them a reputation of someone who shouldn't be "messed with." In the words of Hobbes "the wickedness of bad men also compels good men to have recourse, for their own protection, to the virtues of war, which are violence and fraud."

Laws have arisen in society as a way for the government to take control - to prevent negative behaviour from citizens in a society. Many behaviours have...