authority is seized by individuals, rather than granted.
It is the position of being “in” authority,
as it is based on an office held or popularity, rather than “an” authority, which entails an
expertise over the political process.
The two individuals in question in our inquiry, Thomas
Hobbes and Robert Wolff, hold polar opposite views over the nature of this authority.
is a staunch defendant of de facto authority, the other is perhaps its greatest opponent.
Robert Paul Wolff’s work,
In Defense of Anarchism
, highlights the need to throw off the
oppressive shackles of those who have allegedly hold authority over ourselves.
The premise of
his argument is that individual autonomy is completely incompatible with the concept of
authority, and that any attempt to reconcile the two is mostly a waste of time.
As Wolff shows
disdain for authority of any form, the chances that he would support a de facto authority is
entirely against reason.
When we consider our quote, claiming that “at most, Hobbes's social
contract theory generates what Wolff calls de facto authority," it is reasonable to accede that this
is precisely what is the case under Hobbes’ style of government.
in the existence
of legitimate authority, for of course a
state is simply a state whose subjects believe it to
be legitimate… [t]hey may be wrong” (Wolff 10).
When taking this under consideration, the
legitimacy of an authority, or an absolute one as Hobbes suggests, is questionable, and for all
intents and purposes, against what Wolff holds to be true as an anarchist.
Hobbes’ system of
government deprives the individual citizens of their right to have an active role in the political
process, specifically regarding how they are able to lead their lives.
There can be no sense of
legitimate authority, as it stands in direct violation with the autonomy that we all possess and are
responsible to maintain.
Thomas Hobbes and his famous work,
demonstrate a very different viewpoint
regarding legitimate authority and
Hobbes presents and champions his
solution to the problem of political authority in proposing the idea of an absolute authority.
There is a state of nature that mankind existed in prior to government and civil organization,