May 12, 2010

Hereby it is manifest that during the time men live without common power to keep them all in awe; they are in that condition which is called war and such a war as is of every man against every man.

History has shown us various instances wherein time has witnessed upheavals, revolutions and also establishment of regimes. The concept of common power has evolved and redefined itself from time to time. It is very clear that men do not tolerate tyranny and anarchy- but branding such forms of rule as failures is lot easier than tracing out why did we feel the need for rule. Common power has come up in various processes and all citizens of all states have their own understanding of it. Very few of them are fully aware of this concept. But it is equally clear that all of them, in some proportion need it and accept it.

a) Man- under the common power

The common power is what is generally known as government. It doesn’t imply the natural authority derived from supremacy of some powerful men over the others. This power is created. Men willingly give away a share of their power not to a group of individuals but to some machinery that will be safeguarding this share and utilize in exercising force. A common power is a collective system of securing oneself against regress and infringement and projecting this power in the fear of aggression.

Such a center of power has its functions of two kinds- instigating progress in economic, social and intellectual aspects and regulating the law. The second function is the role of a disciplinarian; it includes issuing rights to every citizen and controlling its violation. This check system watches one for the other. Thus it creates fear in the minds of people; with that people extend their will to the government and develop respect for this authority. Men live in awe of the common power. This sense enforces discipline on the criminal mentality and that is the reason why such instincts aren’t always seen translating into actions. When that happens, the victims have an access to justice and beliefs about unhindered crime are reinforced.

b) When the common power is absent…

Let us consider a situation where there will be no common power among people. Its most natural implication is that citizens won’t be having rights. There will be no provisions that give them social security and economic opportunities. There will be no normal setup for men to have direct or indirect political interaction. But apart from this obvious absence of requisites of a state there would also be crime. Such crime will be the result of brutal and unhealthy competition among men- the want of growth if not development. The powerful [those who have economic or intellectual power] can exploit others and the others will develop latent aggression. There will be some point of saturation where the weak will externally demonstrate the antagonism and thus the much dreaded war will come up.

c) The war

War is about some armed force against another, there is a strong motive to overpower the other. The strength in a war is equated with collective might and is driven by collective desires of men. But when the war is between individuals it is much more disastrous. In a state of absent common power man’s internal motivation will recklessly drive his actions. There will be no external factors that contradict his own ideas of achieving what he aims for. In such a society there will be a victim and an abuser; the abuser will pay no heed to morality and the victim will become hostile towards the abuser because he suffers. There will be no one who thinks not only form his own perspective but overall and thus initiate a course of action; actions that not only put an end to instances of exploitation but end the war. Why is it so that such individuals come out with force when such wars take an ugly form? Isn’t crime- overt or covert a form of such war? In absence of common power men violate each others’ human rights, then there is revenge; there is constant insecurity and uncivil race.

d) Necessity of this condition

A necessary war in the absence of common power implies: 1- man only follows given disciplinary system 2-man naturally has no understanding about societal peace.

If men need disciplinary systems, they also need minds to conceive of it and hands to form. If self-discipline is easy, then most men think alike. But different people have independent actions and almost all of them have social desires. But this very understanding of posing limits for oneself and introspecting about ideas of rights- of oneself and others is not easily acquired by every man. Thus when he gets educated about the inseparability of his lone self and his social self, he extends support to any such disciplinary system. But if he remains uninformed of the need of common power, he may not discard the warring desires. Also there will be clashes of interests and the war will get worse if there is no intervention at that point.

This brings us to the crucial point of the topic- is it man’s natural tendency to be at war with other man?

We speak of transition from state of nature to a civil society and never think about a civil society without a government. Has it ever happened in history that before common powers came into being there was peace? The primitive man had his groups with whom he shared interest, later they became sects and communities. But there was conflict among this disjoint sect. Let alone the fact that they weren’t aware that these sects aren’t really disjoint and we all are members of human family; the primitive people took ages to come together for sharing mutual benefit too. There are instances in history where common power had lost its form, like the French society before the French revolution. The ineffective common power bred class hatred, where every individual partook of the outrage because she felt the need to wage a war as a struggle for life.

Being human doesn’t naturally and by sense of it implies being in a state of war. But such unchecked struggle for survival along with some subjective ideas of development is equivalent to that. Why can’t men think of progress and devise their own ways of achieving it without infringement on others rights [even when they don’t know it as a legal term]? Their desire to live can and has resulted into certain collectivist ideas that have shown substantial results to their own ends. But men tend to go for the easier route of not thinking- about others and themselves in turn. Man isn’t wild but can always choose not to change. Common power is acceptable to him- something to look at, a known standard to determine future actions.

Natural law is a highly impractical concept. Some of men will stick to their ways and some will have stronger inclinations to alter. In such a situation the backward thinkers can’t blamed for what their ambitions should be.

a) Conclusion:

i- Human beings collectively aim for establishing common power when they feel the need for it. This concept is acceptable to them and by consensus they hold it in awe.

ii- Without common power men may tend to be in a state of war with one another. Even if some of them think differently, at a large in society it is almost unattainable to have all individuals follow such thinking.

iii- Throughout history we have seen such wars because of absence of common power [also effective in action] and such wars where men participate only out of outrageous anger towards each other.