Hobbes: Recognizing Corrupt Power

Our Founding Fathers recognized the impending doom of France when it no longer embraced a political ethos informed from Christianity.  Instead, France fervently embraced an ideological abstraction of ‘man’ which favored the criminalizing of political differences.

Madison was capable of navigating this political minefield for he was throughly familiar with texts demonstrating the error that France so lovingly pursued.  I personally find it amazing how both Madison and Jefferson remain permanently divided over allegiance to Britain.  How is it that Jefferson could not foresee what Madison understood so firmly.  Perhaps the answer is found not in political acumen but temperament.  Jefferson was passionately drawn to idealisms, Madison understood implied political outcomes.

Throughout Madison’s diaries we read how Robespierre ascribed to the French Revolution ever more absolute goals in order to multiply the obstacles to achieving them, thereby creating permanent political paralysis, enabling him to acquire the means to rid himself of domestic rivals.  In this respect, Madison knew the limitations of both Hobbes and Machiavelli.

Witness this today with North Korea!

All violent revolutionary regimes are alike.  Just as Mao would plunge China into the bloodbath of his Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward.  His real purpose was to regain supreme power wrestled away since 1960.  His goal was lethal in its simplicity:  decapitate the State, reassert personal control over a purged Party.  Robespeierre was no different than Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and many others who under the banner of liberty seek to liquidate both political rivals and the people of the nation whom they serve.  Everything was used to politicize, dramatize and ultimately strengthen the hold of power.

About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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