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Categories: Brittiskt allmänt
Friday, Jun 21, 2019

A disciple of fear and theorist of absolutism, terrified of civil war and collapse, Hobbes may seem a world away from our comparatively placid politics. In the modern British state, fear is dispersed through the buffers of impersonal departments and agencies. It comes in a brown envelope announcing a new reduction in your benefits or an increase in your rent, or keeps you awake at night working out how many meals you will have to miss yourself this week in order to feed your children. It is low-grade and constant, but Hobbes shows that it is also intentional: fear produces biddable citizens. Any prospect for broader change must somehow dissipate that fear; it must also reckon with Hobbes’s insight that political institutions are more fragile than they seem, though their wreckers are more likely to come from the ranks of the wealthy than the insurgent rabble he feared.

Läsvärd bloggpost på LRB av James Butler.

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