The Hobbersian Agenda

The Hobbesian Agenda


The legitimacy of government is often linked to its ability to maintain order and secure peace. Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy provides a clear description of why government is necessary, as human nature and the structures emerging out of human social interaction are such that order and peace will not naturally emerge to a sufficient degree. Hobbes’ general argument is often accepted at the national level, but in this article, I explore why a Hobbesian argument for the international level—an argument for world government—is deducible from his philosophy. Hobbes builds his philosophy on his conception of human nature and argues that individuals’ interests and preferences should be the determinant for evaluating the value of a political entity. By emphasising these aspects of Hobbes’ theory, I argue that several contemporary phenomena suggest that a world government could be preferable to the states system. The cases used are the outbreak of war in Europe in 2022 and the continuing and accelerating environmental crisis. Through this examination, the continued relevance of Hobbes’ political philosophy is demonstrated, and according to Hobbes’ own logic, those who accept the argument should also seek to implement such a solution.