The Return of Leviathan: its 12 principal rights, from "Leviathan, The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil," by Thomas Hobbes (1651)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell <supremelawfirm@...>
Subject: Leviathan Returns: its twelve principal rights, from
"Leviathan, The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall Date: Monday, November 2, 2009, 5:46 PMhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leviathan_%28book%29
The sovereign has twelve principal rights:
- because a successive covenant cannot override a prior one, the subjects cannot (lawfully) change the form of government.
- because the covenant forming the commonwealth is the subjects giving to the sovereign the right to act for them, the sovereign cannot possibly breach the covenant; and therefore the subjects can never argue to be freed from the covenant because of the actions of the sovereign.
- the selection of sovereign is (in theory) by majority vote; the minority have agreed to abide by this.
- every subject is author of the acts of the sovereign: hence the sovereign cannot injure any of his subjects, and cannot be accused of injustice.
- following this, the sovereign cannot justly be put to death by the subjects.
- because the purpose of the commonwealth is peace, and the sovereign has the right to do whatever he thinks necessary for the preserving of peace and security and prevention of discord, therefore the sovereign may judge what opinions and doctrines are averse; who shall be allowed to speak to multitudes; and who shall examine the doctrines of all books before they are published.
- to prescribe the rules of civil law and property.
- to be judge in all cases.
- to make war and peace as he sees fit; and to command the army.
- to choose counselors, ministers, magistrates and officers.
- to reward with riches and honor; or to punish with corporal or pecuniary punishment or ignominy.
- to establish laws about honor and a scale of worth.
Part 6 is a perhaps under-emphasized feature of Hobbes's argument: his is explicitly in favor of censorship of the press and restrictions on the rights of free speech, should they be considered desirable by the sovereign in order to promote order.
/s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
Private Attorney General, Criminal Investigator and
Federal Witness: 18 U.S.C. 1510, 1512-13, 1964(a)
All Rights Reserved without Prejudice