Very good post. Insightful and highly educational. Especially the dichotomy between Locke's theistic argument that liberty and the consent of the governed is somehow advocated by some divine rationality vs the atheism that permeates Hobbesian thinking.
Self ping for later read.
Because it destroys peace,progress and liberty, murderous Totalitarianism will not be deferred to or co-opted regardless of what Liberal "egg-heads" wish to think.
It's what those regimes "do" that is unacceptable and not what they "think"or whether or not they believe in God.
Thank you for this valuable post.
Bush is right to condemn utterly the malevolent and far from traditional "stability" imposed by murderous totalitarianism. But most forms of stability and tradition, even if they do not fit perfectly with the liberal democratic paradigm (like the religious authority of Sistani in Iraq) nonetheless have merit. And they have a deep legitimacy for which elections alone are not a substitute, and which democracy must defer to and co-opt in order to succeed.
Probably two of the most insughtful paragraphs I've read on this site, but I expect most on here will give them short shrift.
Most American conservatives of previous generations distrusted the idea that we could or should remake other countries in our own image. They shunned crusades abroad. But being American, they couldn't be wholly Hobbesian, and sovereignty-oriented in their thinking, and had to recognize standards above the merely materialist.
I'm not so sure that Burke's thought "inspired the Congress of Vienna and thus laid the foundations for what remains the world's longest golden age of peace, progress, and the advance of liberty," though. Burke may have been an important figure, but the Continental Europeans had their own thinkers and theorists, and their own agenda.
It's doubtful that Alexander, Hardenburg, Metternich, or Talleyrand imagined creating a liberal capitalist order. The international stability that they created may have helped produce such a world, but they themselves may have been more Hobbesian than anything else when they put "legitimacy" above other considerations.
Does a tyrant, who seizes power by force, who is obeyed from fear, have a right to rule?
Instead, we each became ad hoc Hobbesians, accepting (at least provisionally) that force and fear adequately established the other power's right to rule.
First off, nobody has to accept another country's right to rule. Toleration, that is, the negative permission of evil, is possible even for atrocious regimes. Secondly, even if one grants that a murderous regime has no right to rule, one must then establish that those who wish to depose it in fact have the right to do so.
Of course, Leo Strauss and his students have shaken my belief that Locke is all that different from Hobbes. They hold that Locke was just better at concealing his more dislikeable opinions.