Patrick Henry vs. Thomas Hobbes vs…. Me?

When something makes me frustrated, but I have to submit work for it anyway (like Ethics homework *cough, cough*), I tend to make fun of things. Sometimes – not all the time, but once in a while – it becomes a GREAT way to make the assignment fun. Now granted, this was one of my more creative entries on our discussion board. The last time I remember doing something like this was when I dressed up as the Joker for a muscle biology presentation.


The discussion went like this:

“Consider the following exchange:

Thomas Hobbes:  “Wee must all of us allwayes obey the soveraign power, even when he restrains our libertie.  For it is he, and he alone, who keeps us from the natural condition of lawless men, that miserable warre of all against all, in which the life of man is solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.”  [He really did spell pretty much like that.]

Patrick Henry:  “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Hobbes:  “Thou art a foole.  For what good is thy libertie, if thou art dead?”

Who is right?  Why?

I was frustrated. I’d had a lot of stuff piling up and my brain was whirling with all of the things I needed to get done. Ethics was the last thing I wanted to do. The argument is based on Hobbes’ opinion that life is better when people follow the government, no matter how restricting, rather than trusting people with their own liberty and freedom. Without rules and higher powers, Hobbes supposes, man would be unruly, will take advantage of his neighbor, and his life will be very violent and mean. So I began with:

“When the government tries to use “the condition of lawless men” as a fear tactic in order to incorporate rules that bind the people beyond their wills and despise any freedom of choice, there will be chaos and ruin and suffering. The government then becomes that “condition of lawless men” and the people must fight to get rid of those who dictate behind paper rules and weaponry.”

Hobbes believed people could not be trusted with their own liberty.

Then I had a thought……

Then I had a thought. Since the dialogue between Hobbes and Henry were in an old-English form, I decided to write back to Mr. Hobbes supporting Patrick Henry’s idea that liberty was all.


My dear Mr. Hobbes,

What good is thy life, when thou art bound to others’ demands and whims? Thou art such a simple man! Should I die for liberty, I shall die content in the knowledge that my children and the generations after live in freedom. I shall be happy, mind-ful that they shall live as they please without over-baring restriction of governments and rulers. Man is not purely violent and miserable. Men desire to be treated as equals with one another and to have a life of freedom and pleasure, that they may do as each pleaseth him: Except thou, Mr. Hobbes. Thou art a coward who liveth in fear of others, and in fear of thine own liberty. Wouldst thou rather live in poverty and suffering, than to be able to walk the streets without meaningless despair? To be able to watch thy children play without anxiety that they may be taken from you by authorities at any moment?

Oh, my soul doeth shudder, to think of that life thou wouldst suggest! – but nay, it will not be so. The people do speak, and be heard: and when they are not, they will storm the gates of Hell to be free once more.


Victoria Shiffler


What do you do to make boring assignments fun?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s