Justice And Injustice What

And in this law of Nature, consisteth the Fountain and Originall of JUSTICE. For where no Covenant hath preceded, there hath no Right been transferred, and every man has right to every thing; and consequently, no action can be Unjust. But when a Covenant is made, then to break it is Unjust: And the definition of INJUSTICE, is no other than The Not Performance Of Covenant. And whatsoever is not Unjust, is Just.

Justice And Propriety Begin With The Constitution of Common-wealth But because Covenants of mutuall trust, where there is a feare of not performance on either part, (as hath been said in the former Chapter,) are invalid; though the Originall of Justice be the making of Covenants; yet Injustice actually there can be none, till the cause of such feare be taken away; which while men are in the naturall condition of Warre, cannot be done.

Therefore before the names of Just, and Unjust can have place, there must be some coercive Power, to compell men equally to the performance of their Covenants, by the terrour of some punishment, greater than the benefit they expect by the breach of their Covenant; and to make good that Propriety, which by mutuall Contract men acquire, in recompence of the universall Right they abandon: and such power there is none before the erection of a Common-wealth.

And this is also to be gathered out of the ordinary definition of Justice in the Schooles: For they say, that “Justice is the constant Will of giving to every man his own.” And therefore where there is no Own, that is, no Propriety, there is no Injustice; and where there is no coerceive Power erected, that is, where there is no Common-wealth, there is no Propriety; all men having Right to all things: Therefore where there is no Common-wealth, there nothing is Unjust. So that the nature of Justice, consisteth in keeping of valid Covenants: but the Validity of Covenants begins not but with the Constitution of a Civill Power, sufficient to compell men to keep them: And then it is also that Propriety begins.

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Hobbes and the Libertarian – 1

It seems a contradiction, to uphold the doctrine of absolute, unlimited, undivided sovereignty and yet to be a Libertarian demanding the minimisation of the state.

The Liberty of a Subject, lyeth therefore only in those things, which in regulating their actions, the Soveraign hath praetermitted; such as is the Liberty to buy, and sell, and otherwise contract with one another; to choose their own aboad, their own diet, their own trade of life, and institute their children as they themselves think fit; & the like.

Hobbes also characterises the social contract which creates the state as if each man were to say in complete abnegation of his natural freedom:

“I Authorise and give up my Right of Governing my selfe, to this Man, or to this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorise all his Actions in like manner.”

This done, the Multitude so united in one Person, is called a COMMON-WEALTH, in latine CIVITAS. This is the Generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather (to speake more reverently) of that Mortall God, to which wee owe under the Immortall God, our peace and defence. For by this Authoritie, given him by every particular man in the Common-Wealth, he hath the use of so much Power and Strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is inabled to forme the wills of them all, to Peace at home, and mutuall ayd against their enemies abroad.

As there is no limit on the authority given to the ‘Leviathan’, and as sovereignty is indivisible, all theories that limit the state must be false ideas. Indeed, Hobbes points to the danger in any state limiting itself by promise only to have to break that promise when new circumstances emerge.

Nevertheless, freedom is prized by every thinking man and woman, and collectively we hold that we created the state in order to preserve our freedom, not to cancel it.

Followers of Hobbes are more likely to be libertarians. This is not an internal contradiction: there is no contradiction between a love of individual freedom and acceptance of the total abnegation of freedom in the state. The alleged contradiction is an error of definition, and:

The first cause of Absurd conclusions I ascribe to the want of Method; in that they begin not their Ratiocination from Definitions; that is, from settled significations of their words

To acknowledge the power of the state over everything is not the say that this power should be used. That is the distinction.

The social contract as explained by Hobbes is a statement of what the state is and what authority it has, not how it should use that authority. The state may act morally or immorally, and it may trespass into areas we do not want it to, but these are questions of ethics, preference and culture: the fundamental is that the state, “the mortall god”, can do whatever it likes, even if morally and culturally it should refrain.

If we read Hobbes and we read John Stuart Mill, the works are written on very different subjects: one explores the nature of mankind and of the commonwealth, which is in modern terms ‘the state’; while the other explores how the state should restrain itself for the benefit of its subjects.

A third voice which might to be heard, of the generation before Thomas Hobbes, is that of John Calvin, who built a state in Geneva hoping to exclude the imperfections of man and his “mortall god” by substituting instead the will of the Immortal God, a republic resting upon strict morality. However he found that it was still built of men, and of that crooked timber no straight thing can be made.

All these are lessons to us if we are to build government that allows a free nation: build governing systems that grant freedom and so benefit those governed, but build them on truths, cold, uncomfortable truths though they may be, not pleasant-sounding fancies.

Where there is no Common-wealth, which is to say in the state of nature, there is perfect freedom for every individual, in theory. However this is a state of war of one with all, and so there is no freedom in reality. When men create between them a commonwealth by the social contract there is no freedom at all in theory, but a greater freedom in practice. Therefore a true libertarian state must be a Hobbesian one.

That is something to be looked at again in another article.

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We cannot win on social media

Social media belongs to the angry, the malicious, the conspiracists, the unreasoning corner of the brain. There is no point in discussing how to convert it to rationality any more than to moderate a rabid dog. Rage beyond the edge of sanity is fundamental to its nature.

Nutters will dominate social media because they are less likely to have settled jobs and responsibilities.  They have the time and presumably little sense or they would have jobs (or they are academics, which comes to much the same thing).

There is no need to recite yet again the ills of social media; the slanders, the wounding insults, the depersonalising expressions of hatred, the incitements to hatred or to violence (which are not the same thing), the threats. The conspiracy theories, well, those are a whole new topic. We know all this. There are articles aplenty on it, electronic jeremiads, bewailing the contents of YouTwitFace or whatever.

The big players of social media take the overwhelming bulk of traffic, though a discussion board or social exchange medium may turn up anywhere, for local groups. Where it is among friends, they will write rationally because they are known and judged by their peers; or there is the wilder tavern gossip we love which goes far beyond any moderation, because we are liberated from talking sense, and we know we do not mean a word. The internet takes it beyond even this. An anonymous board is licence for every explosion of the brain, and that dominates – be it on Twitter, Facebook, the BBC HYS columns, and many more.

This does not apply to profession fora where contributions are from those who putting their professional reputations and those of their companies on line in front of their potential customers and suppliers. You won’t get ‘Q’ trying to whip up crowds on LinkedIn, There is the distinction: the constraint of enforced respectability against the liberating sense given by anonymity.

There are many articles asking what can be done to clean up social media. My answer is ‘little or nothing’. We know what goes on, and what we also know, but do not want to admit is that all this is just a reflection of humanity. It Twitter is a sewer, it is simply because it reflects mankind.

Nutters will dominate because they are less likely to have settled jobs and responsibilities. The Devil makes work for idle hands: so does ‘Q’ apparently. Things said online have no consequences so there is no limit to what can be said, whether you believe it or not, and it could become addictive. Actions without consequences can be a dizzying liberation, as they were to the Washington crowd last week, right up to the moment that a shot rang out and Ashli Babbitt fell dead. That moment marked a sudden change in their dynamic, as it was the first time that a real world consequence struck, and with deadly force.

A way then to moderate, control or even eliminate the abuse of social media? There is none, while it lasts in its current form. The platforms might try to become active publishers, picking and choosing contributions, and they know that would kill their customer base and their business model.

Regulation of some sort would be barely different, and drawing the distinction between vigorous free speech and dangerous incitement is not something which I would entrust to any politician, frightened official or social media magnate.

(You must also ask yourself what sort of person would volunteer to be ‘Controller of the Internet’, and whether you would allow a person of those characteristics anywhere near the levers of power.)

If anyone wants to start fighting falsehood and conspiracy theories on social media, go ahead, if you have the time and resilience. Do not start though with things like QAnon, which is just too ridiculous, but with the most pernicious and commonplace conspiracy theory; the one which preaches that all your misfortunes are caused by rich people hoarding all the wealth to keep you down. Sometimes there is a racial slur added to it, and we all know where that leads. Can the champion of truth react to every post or tweet about ‘fat-cats’ and ‘Tories’, and who should do it? What fact-checker sites can be established to direct those caught in the delusion? It is a political issue, for politicians, and that is how they should be working.

Social media will continue though to belong to those who have too much time on their hands and no responsibilities. Bringing calm reason to bear with the aim of creating a space for respectful collaborative development of ideas is an impossible dream.

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Melchizedeck was King of Salem

This Melchizedeck was King of Salem, Priest of the most high God, vers. 2. First being by interpretation King of Righteousnesse, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace. Whence it is cleare, that Christ the King in his Kingdome placeth Righteousnesse and Peace together.

Psal. 34. Eschue evill and doe good, seek Peace and pursue it. Isaiah 9:6,7. Unto us a child is born, unto us a Sonne is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderfull, Counsellour, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Isaiah 52:7. How beautifull upon the mountaines are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth Peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Sion, thy God reigneth! Luke 2:14.

In the Nativity of Christ, the voice of them that praised God saying, Glory be to God on high, and in earth Peace, good will towards men. And Isaiah 53:5.

The Gospell is called the chastisement of our Peace. Isaiah 59:8. Righteousnesse is called the way of Peace. The way of Peace they know not, and there is no judgement in their goings.

Micah 5:4,5. speaking of the Messias, he saith thus, He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the Majesty of the name of the Lord his God, and they shall abide, for now shall he be great unto the end of the earth; And this man shall be your Peace, Prov. 3:1,2. My sonne forget not my law, but let thine heart keep my Commandements, for length of dayes, and long life, and Peace, shall they adde to thee.

from De Cive, by Thomas Hobbes

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Dissolution through private judgment

Private Judgement Of Good and Evill

In the second place, I observe the Diseases of a Common-wealth, that proceed from the poyson of seditious doctrines; whereof one is, “That every private man is Judge of Good and Evill actions.” This is true in the condition of meer Nature, where there are no Civill Lawes; and also under Civill Government, in such cases as are not determined by the Law. But otherwise, it is manifest, that the measure of Good and Evill actions, is the Civill Law; and the Judge the Legislator, who is alwayes Representative of the Common-wealth.

From this false doctrine, men are disposed to debate with themselves, and dispute the commands of the Common-wealth; and afterwards to obey, or disobey them, as in their private judgements they shall think fit. Whereby the Common-wealth is distracted and Weakened.

 Erroneous Conscience

Another doctrine repugnant to Civill Society, is, that “Whatsoever a man does against his Conscience, is Sinne;” and it dependeth on the presumption of making himself judge of Good and Evill.

For a mans Conscience, and his Judgement is the same thing; and as the Judgement, so also the Conscience may be erroneous. Therefore, though he that is subject to no Civill Law, sinneth in all he does against his Conscience, because he has no other rule to follow but his own reason; yet it is not so with him that lives in a Common-wealth; because the Law is the publique Conscience, by which he hath already undertaken to be guided. Otherwise in such diversity, as there is of private Consciences, which are but private opinions, the Common-wealth must needs be distracted, and no man dare to obey the Soveraign Power, farther than it shall seem good in his own eyes.

 Pretence Of Inspiration

It hath been also commonly taught, “That Faith and Sanctity, are not to be attained by Study and Reason, but by supernaturall Inspiration, or Infusion,” which granted, I see not why any man should render a reason of his Faith; or why every Christian should not be also a Prophet; or why any man should take the Law of his Country, rather than his own Inspiration, for the rule of his action.

And thus wee fall again into the fault of taking upon us to Judge of Good and Evill; or to make Judges of it, such private men as pretend to be supernaturally Inspired, to the Dissolution of all Civill Government. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by those accidents, which guide us into the presence of them that speak to us; which accidents are all contrived by God Almighty; and yet are not supernaturall, but onely, for the great number of them that concurre to every effect, unobservable. Faith, and Sanctity, are indeed not very frequent; but yet they are not Miracles, but brought to passe by education, discipline, correction, and other naturall wayes, by which God worketh them in his elect, as such time as he thinketh fit.

And these three opinions, pernicious to Peace and Government, have in this part of the world, proceeded chiefly from the tongues, and pens of unlearned Divines; who joyning the words of Holy Scripture together, otherwise than is agreeable to reason, do what they can, to make men think, that Sanctity and Naturall Reason, cannot stand together.

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