More Liberty = Less Fear?
Fear and liberty, as discussed by Hobbes, can be very mind-boggling. Personally, I have had the most difficult of times trying to wrap my head around the concept of the two existing together. Hobbes states that “Fear, and liberty are consistent”, and then later “And generally all actions which men do in commonwealths, for fear of the law, are actions, which the dowers had liberty to omit.” It originally seemed to me, from this passage, that liberty and fear are inconsistent. Yet, after discussion, I slightly began to realize what Hobbes meant.
With more liberty, comes more fear. This fear is fear of the unpredictable. When one feels safe, some amount of their liberty must be taken away. Who is this from? The sovereign. The sovereign has laws that one becomes afraid to disobey for fear of its consequences. These consequences are predictable for the most part. For example, if you speed, you will generally get a ticket, which is predictable. It is predictable in part because of this “contract” between the sovereign and you. What if the sovereign was not there? Punishments would then become unpredictable. No matter what you did, you would never quite know the repercussions; there would not be a “contract”.
However, with more fear and in affect more liberty, would humans be better off? It is a natural state of humans to not have any order. Furthermore, if everyone had all the liberty they wanted, would they not be happier, and possibly would this take away elements that would add to fear? If there were never restrictions, people would never have anything to fight against. Would 9/11 have happened? Or, would the Crusades? If people had the liberty to believe whatever they wanted, wherever, without restrictions, would this ruin Hobbes’ argument that fear and liberty exist together? More liberty might be the key to less fear.
Yet, would more liberty just run the same cycle as the beginning of time? In the beginning there was not regulations, nor contracts. Yet people made them through time. Also, this may then prove to be in favor of Hobbes’ human nature argument. Humans progressed from a natural state of war and animalistic tendencies to a much more sophisticated and developed system. It is at this point that I once again come to a point of confusion. As much as I want to think that more liberty would cause less fear, it seems as though history has shown that humans would not settle for this. Eventually systems would develop and a sovereign would be created.