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Ma y 11, 2007. About Hobbes and the Liberty Paradox In/Security. Administration. About Discussion Leaders: each week two students will be responsible for leading our class discussion.

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Ma y 11 2007

May 11, 2007

About Hobbes and

the Liberty Paradox



  • About Discussion Leaders:

    • each week two students will be responsible for leading our class discussion.

    • To do so, the students will have read the weekly reading and be in charge of asking questions or offering an analysis of the material

Posting questions
Posting Questions

  • After the class, please send me your complete list of questions about the reading and I will post them alongside the class notes

  • We can post along with the notes any thinking/writing/analysis that you wish to include about the reading you did.

About presentations
About Presentations

  • Final presentation is the core requirement in the course.

  • This project will be given in the form of a presentation which can either be made as a Powerpoint or else web page

  • Last week of class

  • Posted on our web site

  • On a topic related to the class


  • The topic is up to the student, but must be made in consultation with the professor.

  • If your project covers a topic already addressed in class you are expected to go beyond our discussions in class

    • Find other readings and material

    • link readings or discussion points from class to the new material being presented.

Deffi in security
Deffi: In/Security

If we focus on human security we are automatically focusing on insecurity, right?

What does automatically mean?

When we talk about the social world, it is not perfectly mathematical -- things often have invisible and unaccountable elements.


  • Where Security and In/Security represent 2 different philosophies and/or methods

    • Do you know who Richard Reed was/is?

    • Talk about 10 years ago -- what was the security on airlines like? (minimal)

    • Then there were changes because of terrorist acts

Airline procedures
Airline Procedures

  • What are the procedures now to get on an airplane?

    • Have to show a ticket (security measure)

      • Not an effective measure completely because people will gladly kill themselves to harm others

    • scan to check for bombs

      • Avoid/solve the first problem of not being able to stop suicide bombers

    • Check your shoes

      • Because the terrorists “innovated” in their technique to avoid security thereby creating more insecurity

Inside out viewpoint
Inside/Out Viewpoint

  • Looking at our human problems from an “insecurity perspective” is sometimes different than seeing it only from a security perspective

    • Leads to different analyses of problems and solutions

Think about hobbes
Think about Hobbes:

  • Was Hobbes looking at society from a security or an insecurity perspective?

    • Oscar: he was looking at it from insecurity, because he saw the menace of people

  • He says that there are laws that control their activity

    • He is asking: “can we stop the menace?” And “how can we stop the menace?”

    • He has an idea that it can be stopped through the creation of a COMMONWEALTH

What is a commonwealth

  • Common: shared (belonging to all)

  • Wealth: value or riches

  • The Place where we share the value “The Commons”

    • Parable of “The Tragedy of the Commons”

    • The commons is the place where the interests of the people in the community mix

  • Is this the same as “The State”: the government’s job is to rule

    • Over the nation

About nation and commons
About Nation and Commons

  • Is the nation the same as the commons?

  • Is there a difference between “public-public” space and “private-public” space? There is also “private-private”.

  • If there is a breach of the “rules” about these spaces we can call the police.

  • Who are the police?

    • Public workers

  • Who gives them their money?

About government
About Government

  • The government gives police their salaries and also money for their equipment.

  • Where does the government get their money?

    • From us. Japanese and people who work in Japan (Japanese businesses or government)

  • Why do we pay the government money?

    • In exchange for services like protecting me against people who want to do things against me.

About government citizen relationship
About Government-Citizen Relationship

  • What if I don’t want that service? Do I have to pay my taxes to the government?

    • Because it is for common use/service I am “forced to”

  • Is it a good thing that we have to pay for things we don’t want?

    • We have no choice if we want the benefits of the State

    • There is also the view that we may not care about this service, but another one we get that others don’t want to pay for we can receive.

How possible is this
How Possible is this…

  • Can we live in a place without a state?

    • On the ocean???

  • One of the conclusions is that we have moved very far from the time of Hobbes

    • Why do we know that this is true?

    • Because we have “evolved” to a point in which there is more “state” than there is free/private space

    • The amount of private space has dwindled in relation to the amount of State power that there is…

Key question
KEY Question

  • Has this made us humans MORE or LESS secure?

    • In the times of Hobbes the situation was characterized as “nasty, brutish and short”

    • This is why Hobbes said that creating a Leviathan (a artificial beast) to rule over all people was better than not having that beast.

    • It didn’t matter if this Leviathan was a tyrant (unfair and dictator) because -- having one was at least predictable and made people’s lives more certain.

What do you think
What do you think?

  • Scale with degrees of freedom

  • Where would you place your country

  • The role of rules (related to action/behavior) and norms (moral/value)

    • These come from the common thinking

  • In Japan the thinking is fixed

    • Is this a result/reflection of norms? Or informal social rules?

  • These are “informal” controls and they don’t come from the state. They are enforced by the social group. Why?

What is the purpose of control
What is the Purpose of Control

  • To create more security

  • Done through the State but also through the group

  • So what does this have to do with the liberty paradox …

What is the liberty paradox
What is the liberty paradox?

  • How is it related to Hobbes?

  • To be free we have to take freedom away?

  • To be secure, you have to remove the freedom that makes people insecure.