Freedom Vs Security: Analytical Essay

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The problem of reliance on something more powerful in order to achieve individual security.

In this essay, I aim to outline Hobbes's account of the state of nature, as well as evaluate it as a theory to see how it has affected the current climate of modern politics and the benefits it has provided by giving us societal security and freedom. This essay will also show how Hobbes believes society`s state of nature can transition into a modern political state through the collective surrendering of certain rights such as the rights that we are entitled to anything and everything that furthers our individual security. The second part of this essay will look at the Effect on our individual freedoms from ascending from the state of nature to a modern political state. The problem is that by surrendering the right to acquire your own security, the state has all the power, and no one is strong enough to stand up to them if they abuse this power. And also, the fact that this security is achieved by limiting the freedom (laws), of all those who are part of the state.

Hobbes's concept of the state of nature that he proposed in the Leviathan was defined as a condition of war, without the creation of a civil society he suggested that there would be a war where every man is the enemy to every man, as every man would be in constant fear of another. Hobbes bases his assumption of human nature around the absence of a political society such as a government; where no laws or rules are present (except that of the natural law In which the powerful prey on the weak to survive) to prevent one an individual from acting. This condition creates a society Hobbes stated that an individual`s natural condition is seen ultimately as one, with no concerns of morality each is driven by a desire to amass greater and greater power to protect one`s own security from others who are also equally powerful. This instinctual drive cannot be restrained due to the lack of an overarching authority in society, and the fact that there are no rules preventing them from taking action. Thus, Hobbes assumes that each human is continuously seeking to destroy the other in pursuit of reputation and self-preservation, and the acquisition of more power. This ultimately leads to life being nasty, brutish, and short (Hobbes, 1982). filled with individuals living in constant fear which necessarily leads to conflict. This is conflict born out of the desire to gain power and ultimately security for the individual. In the state of nature, there is no overarching overlord who seeks to protect you, you have to gain your own security. This is achieved by amassing more and more power whilst eliminating the competition. Hobbes Outlines that there are 3 key main elements that characterize the state of nature: glory, competition, and diffidence. These are known as the causes of quarrels. We are primarily concerned with our own safety and Hill (2006 pg. 134) and these three elements lead to perpetual war.

There is an objection to Hobbe`s theory, of the state of nature put forward by Locke. It puts forward that Being in a state of nature doesn`t necessarily mean it is also a state of conflict, as we bring people into our spheres of influence and power all the time (wives, children, etc), and if it were a state of perpetual conflict between all individuals then we would be unable to this. Locke states, impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another (sec. 6). To Locke all men are born equal, with no more power than the man next to him, and that this power will not lead to a constant conflict between individuals. Hobbes reasons that because all men are created equal as well but they have a restless desire for power which means that endeavor to destroy, or subdue one another, if one possesses a convenient seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared with forces united, to dispossess, and deprive him of his life or liberty. And the invader is in the like danger of another. But is this the correct way to view the state of nature? Or should Locke`s view on the state of nature be viewed as the correct way, saying that we don`t intrinsically want to be in conflict with others? And we don`t need to be in conflict with others as the ability to share your security and freedoms with someone else shows that there can be cooperation and peace within the state of nature In conclusion Hobbes`s state of nature might not be a true account of what the state of nature would actually be like for individuals living within it. That is the idea that it is a state of war,

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Hobbe`s view on the state of nature is one of freedom. Whereas his view of the modern political state shows that he believes that we lack freedom. Describing the fundamental differences between both stages should go a long way toward explaining the differing concepts of freedom that arise in both. As we have seen Hobbe`s analysis of human nature is a pessimistic one, in which we are all selfish and devoid of morality if it is not being enforced on us. He believes the man to be deeply self-interested and motivated by personal gain only. In the state of nature, this personal gain is security which can only be achieved through immoral and selfish actions with the intent to benefit the individual. In the state of nature, each individual is responsible for their own security. This means that by the very nature of man the state of nature is the individual striving to further their own individual security whilst trying to prevent others from doing the same and conflict ensues after. Hobbes also places the importance of freedom in his leviathan Freedom, for Hobbes, is mainly determined by the external shackles placed upon us by a state or Political system. Freedom in his view was then the lack of any obstacles or rules preventing one from achieving the intended action on the individual, Hobbes`s view of freedom was one in which freedom is based on the regulations imposed on one. The liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; doing anything which, in his own judgment and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means there unto (ch. 14, ¶1). An individual`s will is only free when there are no extraneous obstacles placed between the individual and his goals So, Hobbes believes that we find absolute freedom in the state of nature, but a consequence of this freedom is the risk of conflict with others who also have this freedom to do as they please. In this state of nature, we are free, that is free to act in a way that furthers us, individuals. Security of the individual is paramount in the state of nature, with this freedom everyone is entitled to further their own individual security. So unlike in the modern political state where we are reliant on another for our security, in the state of nature we are free from the fear of relinquishing our own ability to provide our individual security. In Modern times we are reliant on the state to use its power to protect us as individuals the problems that can arise from this are serious, if the state goes rouge, we as individuals have no way to combat it as we have no personal security or the freedom in which to acquire it. We are totally reliant on a state to be

Just and if it isn`t there is nothing the individuals can do. In conclusion, This is the problem that could arise as a result of surrounding the ability and freedom to acquire one`s own security.

In a modern political state, Hobbes`s view of freedom would deem that we actually have very little freedom. Hobbes believes that freedom is the ability to achieve a goal with no restriction of obstacles being designed to stop the individual from achieving their objective. In short in the modern political state, there are countless rules that prevent us from achieving our individual goals. Thus can we conclusively say that we are free in a modern state? To Hobbes`s no. Hobbes writes that in the state of nature, the liberty each man hath to use his own power as he will himself for the preservation of his own nature; doing anything which, in his own judgment and reason, he shall conceive to be the aptest means theirs unto (ch. 14, ¶1). An individual`s will is only free when there are no obstacles his will for self-preservation will be guided by his reason. Residing in the state of nature without extraneous obstacles signifies an individual`s convictions of freedom are endless.

But in the modern state, there are advantages to having limited freedoms. With the rules that are placed to restrict our freedom provide security for the whole society. By having these rules in society it is no longer a state of perpetual war as it is in the state of nature, by having these groups' limited freedoms allows a community to be formed. Such a community can only be achieved by the individuals of the group surrendering their natural rights (the right to do whatever is necessary to provide security for an individual), it eliminates the fear of conflict. However, in the state of nature were we truly free to act? It is true that there was no government imposing rules on us but there were other factors that did. Thomas. J (2009) researched to conclude that men have always been under the influence of some degree of authority, and even when there has been no control exercised by the state it has been god that has inspired them to act in a kindly manner with generosity. Men have the natural habitual ability to live with other members of their society without becoming a social animals. He developed his ideas further and stated that even before the state emerged, fathers were seen as the dominant figure in households and ruled over their wives and children; families were seen as a unit of social organization. So even in the state of nature, we cannot say that we were truly free as there were other factors determining how we should act such as God. So Hobbe`s assumption that we are without influence or shackles in the state of nature is wrong.

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Freedom Vs Security: Analytical Essay. (2023, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
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