Man to Man is an arrant Wolfe

I have watched a man surrounded by a baying crowd, attacked and dragged towards the ground, rescued from broken bones or murder only by a policewoman’s arm, on the streets of London.  His whole offence was differ from an opinion shared by the crowd that wished him dead.

“To speak impartially, both sayings are very true; That Man to Man is a kind of God; and that Man to Man is an arrant Wolfe. The first is true, if we compare Citizens amongst themselves; and the second, if we compare Cities. …  Good men must defend themselves by taking to them for a Sanctuary the two daughters of War, Deceipt and Violence.”

Hobbes: De Cive

Watch the video and ask where we are.  In the political mobile vulgus we are no longer citizens together but factions, bound together and as against others we have no ties, as in a state of nature:

“the state of men without civill society (which state we may properly call the state of nature) is nothing else but a meere warre of all against all”

Hobbes: De Cive

The events shown in the YouTube clip took place in the heart of the most civilised city on Earth, beside the very places where the laws of the kingdom are made and administered and apparently completely outside those laws.  The victim had expressed disagreement with the crowd’s chosen hatred, in this case a hatred of Donald Trump, and this was enough for them to turn on him in murderous fury.

Man is a pack animal, like the wolf.  Stand in any street or park and see a dog bounding happily beside its owner like a gentle puppy – but when dogs get in a pack they act like wolves and they are deadly.  Young men too behave like a wolfpack, and now, it seems, so does a politicised mob.

The creation of a wolfpack is the creation of a society, bound together with instinctive ties, breaking all ties outside the pack, and that is what we saw on the street.  There is no need for moderation, no “what if” nor “to a certain extent”, no subtle thought – just inclusion or exclusion, and there is no duty to the excluded, only hatred in order to validate to social tie of the pack.

The chant that came louder and louder was without moderation either; “Nazi scum”, as if with no knowledge or care for what those words actually mean.  Those words should make the blood run cold and not be used loosely: it an insult to the memory of the millions of victims of the real Nazis, and to those who still today after 74 years wake every morning in cold terror at the memory from their youth.

The apparent ring-leader apparently says she is an NHS worker – I hope she never looks after me.

The self-supporting crowd is a liberation from the constraints of civil society in which all morality of the wider society is irrelevant and only the immediate crowd and the need to sustain its coherence have any relevance.  An outsider intruding therefore is outside any duties and may be a casualty of the “warre of all against all”.

See also


He that is to govern a whole nation must read in himself…

There is a saying much usurped of late, that wisdom is acquired, not by reading of books, but of men. Consequently whereunto, those persons, that for the most part can give no other proof of being wise, take great delight to show what they think they have read in men, by uncharitable censures of one another behind their backs. But there is another saying not of late understood, by which they might learn truly to read one another, if they would take the pains; and that is, Nosce teipsum, Read thyself: which was not meant, as it is now used, to countenance either the barbarous state of men in power towards their inferiors, or to encourage men of low degree to a saucy behaviour towards their betters; but to teach us that for the similitude of the thoughts and passions of one man, to the thoughts and passions of another, whosoever looketh into himself and considereth what he doth when he does think, opine, reason, hope, fear, etc., and upon what grounds; he shall thereby read and know what are the thoughts and passions of all other men upon the like occasions.

I say the similitude of passions, which are the same in all men,—desire, fear, hope, etc.; not the similitude of the objects of the passions, which are the things desired, feared, hoped, etc.: for these the constitution individual, and particular education, do so vary, and they are so easy to be kept from our knowledge, that the characters of man’s heart, blotted and confounded as they are with dissembling, lying, counterfeiting, and erroneous doctrines, are legible only to him that searcheth hearts. And though by men’s actions we do discover their design sometimes; yet to do it without comparing them with our own, and distinguishing all circumstances by which the case may come to be altered, is to decipher without a key, and be for the most part deceived, by too much trust or by too much diffidence, as he that reads is himself a good or evil man.

But let one man read another by his actions never so perfectly, it serves him only with his acquaintance, which are but few. He that is to govern a whole nation must read in himself, not this, or that particular man; but mankind: which though it be hard to do, harder than to learn any language or science; yet, when I shall have set down my own reading orderly and perspicuously, the pains left another will be only to consider if he also find not the same in himself. For this kind of doctrine admitteth no other demonstration.

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The Leviathan

Nature (the art whereby God hath made and governs the world) is by the art of man, as in many other things, so in this also imitated, that it can make an artificial animal. For seeing life is but a motion of limbs, the beginning hereof is in some principal part within, why may we not say that all automata (engines that move themselves by springs and wheels as doth a watch) have an artificial life? For what is the heart, but a spring; and the nerves, but so many strings; and the joints, but so many wheels, giving motion to the whole body, such as was intended by the Artificer?

Art goes yet further, imitating that rational and most excellent work of Nature, man.  For by art is created that great Leviathan called a Commonwealth, or State (in Latin, Civitas), which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints; reward and punishment (by which fastened to the seat of the sovereignty, every joint and member is moved to perform his duty) are the nerves, that do the same in the body natural; the wealth and riches of all the particular members are the strength; salus populi (the people’s safety) its business; counsellors, by whom all things needful for it to know are suggested unto it, are the memory; equity and laws, an artificial reason and will; concord, health; sedition, sickness; and civil war, death. Lastly, the pacts and covenants, by which the parts of this body politic were at first made, set together, and united, resemble that fiat, or the Let us make man, pronounced by God in the Creation.