Unity in War and Distraction
Unity in war does not always lead to unity in peace. In fact, most people can feel completely opposite about something as soon as they are no longer unified. Hobbes mentioned this in the Leviathan when he spoke of “security that lasts only a single battle.” This fact seems almost intrinsic to so many situations in the real world. You only feel strongly about something when you’re in the heat of the moment and when you’re working for an immediate or short-term goal. As much as it pains me bring up this situation, this style of belief can be seem clearly after the planes hit the World Trade Centers on 9/11. The ENTIRE nation can together in mourning, in support, and in hatred. This hatred was surely justified, but the unification didn’t last. As soon as news footage started coming in from Afghanistan, people began to doubt. Although it is human nature to be wary, this mistrust grew to resentment. This resentment was then turned toward the same body that had been unified just a short time earlier. This epitomizes the point I am trying to make.
The people of a society can always be controlled, influenced, or at least to some extent be distracted by something they can focus on, whatever it may be. It could be a war, a natural disaster, or a phenomenon. Although the movie Gladiator isn’t 100% truth, there are a few lines in it which I think aptly fit these ideas. “Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they’ll be distracted.” My second quote is a little more discrete but definitely gets the point across. “And this is how Rome falls, to the sound of thunderous applause.” The people are so caught up by the distraction of the victory by the “almighty Roman army” that the fail to see through what is actually happening. Their freedoms and the dream of their prior leader and being slowly disappearing because the go from one distraction to another, the war to “the games.”
Hobbes is clearly in favor of a single sovereign ruler. However, this ruler must act in the interest of the people and not himself. He must not try to lead them astray or distract their attention with trite illusions. The actor must act in full accordance with the covenant made with the authors. Otherwise, the laws of nature come to envelop the people once again.