Tag Archives: machiavelli

Part 3: The State of Nature – The Individual, The Environment, and The Rise of the State

This is a post I’ve been putting of writing for a while now because I didn’t really know how to start it and, although I’m not confident, I’ll give you what I have.

“Liberal” theorists from Mencius to Augustine to Locke have argued, in some form or another, that humans are innately good – that is, humans are born pure and clean and are corrupted and/or succumb to evil desires due to extraneous circumstances. John Locke, for example, popularized the idea of tabula rasa, or “blank slate”, which states that all humans are born empty, arguably without any intrinsic behaviors, and learn how to act (thus becoming “good” or “evil”) based on interactions with other humans.

Conversely, theorists such as Hobbes, Machiavelli, and Schmitt have argued that humans are innately bad and have a tendency to act selfishly and in ways that harm greater society and, more often than not, degenerate in pure hedonism and personal expansion.

It is my view, and the view that will be advanced after the jump, that humans are fundamentally irrational and, when unrestrained, resort to violence, environmental degradation, and societal destruction to further their self interests. The result of the above is not “spontaneous order”, which anarchists like to argue, but rather chaos.

Albeit cliché, I believe the statement made in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, “Absolute freedom is no better than chaos”, is fundamentally correct and is a good tool for analyzing governmental institutions.

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