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March Pages 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 171 ENTRE NOUS Political candidates and commentators who emphasize “law and order” themes attract both support and disdain. In part, the latter stems from the means by which certain “law and order” proponents suggest their concerns be addressed. Touting the building of more prisons, the imposition of longer or mandatory sentences for certain categories of crime and the use of law enforcement strategies that jeopardize individual rights is not necessarily the best advertisement for the underlying cause. However, disagreement on the means should not deter us from valuing “law and order”—or the order to which law contributes— as an end or, alternatively, as means to other ends, allowing individuals to function and flourish in a context that is stable and secure. Political philosophers traditionally viewed the promise of “law and order” as so fundamental that it induced individuals to relinquish, to government, the powers that they each had exercised in the state of nature. Thomas Hobbes, the English philosopher who wrote Leviathan, famously posited a state of nature in which “the life of man was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. Individuals escaped from an insecure and abbreviated existence in which “our natural passions, that carry us to partiality, pride, revenge, and the like” rampaged by covenanting to submit to the Commonwealth, Civitas or Leviathan, that “Mortall God” that would ensure “our peace and defence”. Various philosophers advanced their own versions of Hobbes’s theory. Consistently, however, some variant of social contract produced some variant of government to provide the security that would allow lives to be lived, property to be preserved and the arts and commerce alike to flourish. Government supplied what was missing in the state of nature: the formulation, application and enforcement of shared laws. According to Hobbes, without a common power to impose peace, individuals in the state of nature were subjected to what was, in effect, a “state of war”. That state of war did not consist simply of particular incidents of violence, but also broader insecurity fed by the knowledge that the “will to con-


March Pages 2017
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