A Visible Power for the Commonwealth

When do words possess authoritative quality? At what point can we differentiate a simple promise from a formal contract? These are just some of the questions that arose when I thought about the “social contracts” that Thomas Hobbes mentioned in his book, the Leviathan. The portion of the Leviathan that I will be referring to is titled “Of the Causes, Generation, and Definition of a Commonwealth” (Chapter 17). The arguments and philosophies presented in this chapter were intended by Hobbes to describe the necessity of sovereign institutions for peace and security. Hobbes insisted that a visible power(s) needed to be exist in order for humans within their regions to be free from the condition of war. The condition of war is a term coined to describe the natural state of humans to preserve their own lives against his/her enemies; in this state, all other beings are considered enemies. A consequence of this state would be that no person would have security no matter how adept they were.

Original copy of the Leviathan. Credits to Wikimedia Commons.

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Oil Production and Social Contracts

Final-GraphCurrently oil producers face a problem that they would not have expected in years past, a glut of oil. While refiners and consumers are reaping the benefits of low oil prices do to a supply flood in the market, oil-producing countries are hurting. For the first time in years the price of a gallon of gasoline is down to below three dollars a gallon. For producers of oil this means lower revenue and some nations are trying to do something about it. The three philosophers who wrote about social contracts would have something to say about this.

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North Korea and the Fool’s Challenge

Kim Jong-un, the current dictator of North Korea

Kim Jong-un, The Current Dictator Of North Korea

In his book Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes introduces us to the “Fool’s Challenge”: the idea that contracts between people or nations can be broken at anytime no matter the resulting consequences. Thomas Hobbes spends part of his book refuting this point because he feels that breaking contracts with allies decreases the chance of survival because the allies become less and less willing to help out going into the future. North Korea’s communist regime has been, for the last couple of decades,doing exactly that and my blog post will, hopefully, leave you with a thorough understanding of what I think Hobbes would have to say about North Korea’s current policies concerning diplomacy.

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Residence Staff as a Political Institution

Most people that have attended college have a clear memory of how they felt about their residential advisers. As one of the first people they meet in the college dorms, they can either make or break the initial impression of college for freshmen. Residence staff (Resstaff) is an important institution at the University of Michigan dedicated to the well-being and safety of students living in the residence halls. As a Resstaff member myself, I try to keep these things in mind when I interact with the students that I look after. At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that new students are safe and feel welcomed and cared for. In this blog post, I will establish correlations between what we have learned in our Political Science 101 course and Resstaff as an institution.

Picture inside of Stockwell residence hall at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (credit to Wikimedia).

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