Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Confusing Notions

I didn't catch the name of the author or article, but a cursory reading of a recent NYT article on one of my regular radio shows had me kind of bewildered. The point of said article, from what I gather, was that the Constitution, or rather strict observance of the Constitution, was a hinderence upon society, and that we shouldn't regard it so sacredly. Admitedly, not a novel idea, but one worth talking about.

Where it went off the rails for me was when something like the following (paraphrasing) was said:

"It's just silly to think that circumventing or ignoring the Constitution would somehow return us to a Hobbesian state of nature..."

Alright...what political subset of people are claiming that? I'm no expert on Hobbes, but wasn't his argument that a strong central authority was needed to rescue us from such a state of nature? So how would ignoring the document that presumably narrowly defines and limits such an authority's power throw us back in the direction of "nature"?

The argument for ignoring the Constitution (in this context) is an argument for loosening the self-imposed reigns of government; to give it more sweeping power. By a Hobbesian account, or at least my understanding of such, that kind of move would likely take us even further away from that dreaded "state of nature" thing. Note that my argument isn't that Hobbes is correct. It just seems odd to me to invoke the philosophic bent of an individual and then apply it in a prima facie backwards manner.

I'm sure that I'm missing some bit of additional context here.

No comments:

Post a Comment