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  • 6/11/2013

Views of Hobbes and Machiavelli and Liberalism


It should be mentioned that the views of Hobbes and Machiavelli are in contrast with liberalism. Liberalist views are optimistic about man, but the views of Hobbes and Machiavelli are based on notions about predatory nature and ill-naturedness of man. Thus, views about government that emerged after renaissance are based on materialism, humanism, and skepticism and value pluralism.

Therefore it is not possible to recognize good in order to use it as general and imperative criteria for regulating and controlling actions. No ethical or knowledge system outside of our wish and resolve cannot control our wish and resolve.[1] Therefore, only freedom can limit personal freedom, that is to say, only actions that violate the freedom of others are illegal.

Hence, those who consider man’s non-material soul as truth of humanity, and attaining spiritual perfection as a result of nearness to God as the purpose of creation, cannot accept these views. With its aforementioned basics, liberal democracy is incompatible with the centrism and perfection seeking.

Religious democracy, however, entails political, civil and economic liberties and freedom of speech within the framework of religion, and if religious objectives and principles are preserved it is compatible with the canon, even desirable.

Skepticism, as an offspring of positivism, is also not acceptable because the mind can show people the way towards happiness and salvation by drawing on self-evident truths and revelation. Although mind cannot perceive all the ways of attaining happiness on its own, but it can do so by relying on revelation.[2]


[1] Ibid, p 32

[2] Sheikh Koleini,  Usool al-Kaafi, Volume 1, p. 10

Ahmad Niazi, graduate of Qom Seminary and Phd student of Al Mustafa international university

Source: political science journal, No. 3

Translated by: Sadroddin Musawi

Other links:

Views of Modern and Contemporary Western philosophers about the Government’s Duties (Machiavelli)

Hobbes view and the Purpose of the Government

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