Looking Back on the Second Trump Administration

Thomas Hobbes.

by Richard Farr at 3 Quarks Daily: Historians often ask what led to Trump’s landslide victory back in 2024. All those guilty verdicts in the “PornHush” trial certainly helped — the final proof, for many, that the President was an innocent lamb set upon by crooks. And the November exit polls showed that millions of patriotic Americans found democracy a chore anyway, or were actively Fascism-curious, or simply got a buzz out of the fact that, being disempowered in every other meaningful way, they could at least step up and play a part in destroying their own children’s future. But surely the decisive factor was Trump’s inspired choice of running mate — philosopher and controversialist Thomas Hobbes.

Sharp as a tack, a hard-bitten political realist, an intellectual heavyweight, and a precise, stylish communicator — he was so different from anyone else Trump could have chosen! The sore losers claimed he had not been born in the United States, or pointed out that he’d died in 1679. None of that mattered when the electorate saw what an ideal ticket it was.

Like the other VP aspirants, Hobbes described Trump as our only hope in dark times. In fact he iced that particular cake by calling him “our very Salvation, our Messiah, in whose Second Coming should we not earnestlie beleeve?” Like them, he also said that modern intellectual fads such as democracy, the separation of church and state, an independent judiciary, a free press and the rule of law were “monstrous and absurd Doctrines, manifest Phantasmes of Satan” and “beleeved in not, save by Idiots.” But he didn’t just say those things because it was the only way to land a lucrative government sinecure from which he he could denounce the evils of government, or because his highest aspiration was to visit Palazzo a Lago and rub shoulders with the shiftless rich. No — he said them because he could prove them.

His election-cycle bestseller Leviathan used rigor and logic to demonstrate two key political facts: 

First, the ideal system of government — indeed the only system of government a rational agent will choose — is absolute monarchy. Argument in a nutshell: (i) it’s not just Trump who’s a vicious, self-interested brute — we all are; (ii) human nature being so dire, safety is more important than liberty; (iii) sorry but you can’t have both.

Perhaps even more striking than this was his second thesis. You might have the chance to choose your absolute ruler or you might not, he said. But either way, the right absolute ruler, the one whose boots you will find yourself grateful for the opportunity to lick, is precisely whoever is capable of becoming the absolute ruler. In Hobbes’s fanciful State of Nature, that could be the person with the biggest stick, but it’s more likely to be the person most cunning about other methods of  acquiring power over others…

More here.

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