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Robert Filmer about Thomas Hobbes

Image result for richard nixon futurama

With no small content I read Mr. Hobbes’ book De Cive, and his Leviathan, about the rights of sovereignty, which no man, that I know hath so amply and judiciously handled. I consent with him about the rights of exercising government, but I cannot agree to his means of acquiring it. It may seem strange that I should praise his building and yet mislike his foundation, but so it is.

That was Robert Filmer, the divine-right-of-kings theorist, apologist for the whims of the Stuart family.
I take the quote from Yves Charles Zarka's book about Hobbes, newly translated into English by James Griffith. Griffith also contributes an introduction, stressing that though Leo Strauss is "to some degree an ally of Zarka's in the argument against historicism, they are not involved in identical projects."  
I have a full review of Zarka's book in a forthcoming issue of The Federal Lawyer.  I go into more particulars about the Filmer/Hobbes contrast there, as well as going further into the issue of historicism in political philosophy.
The last time I mentioned Filmer in print it was in my book about the politics of Supreme Court appointments, where I briefly allude to Nixon's apparent aspirations for the power of a "Filmeresque monarch." I think that's the phrase I used.
I remember at that time wondering whether it might not be better to use a Hobbesian reference, but decided against it.
Can't say that I remember why.   But perhaps I was anticipating the eventual cartoon Futurama, and its fascination with Nixon's posthumous preservation. See image above.

Or ... not. 


  1. You wrote "Filmer-like monarchy." Are you too lazy even to look in the index? Or do you expect an editor to do it for you? :-)

  2. Yes, in my hobbyist blogging I'm careless about quotes. Especially of myself! I appreciate your industriousness in looking that up, though.


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