Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 20
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Golden Rule unless, of course, one resorts to physical violence because one wants others to use
force upon them.
Hobbes continues his discussion about the laws of nature, along with providing
instructions for inhabitants in commonwealths about when to engage in war and his views about
attempting to maintain peace. He defines the "Second Law of Nature" in the following:
From this Fundamentall Law of Nature, by which men are commanded to endeavour
Peace, is derived this second Law; That a man be willing, when others are so too, as
farre-forth, as for Peace, and defence of himselfe he shall think it necessary, to lay down
this right to all things, and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he
would allow other men against himself For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of
doing any thing he liketh; so long are all men in the condition of Warre. But if other men
will not lay down their Right, as well as he; then there is no Reason for any one, to devest
himselfe of his: For that were to expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound to)
rather than to dispose himselfe to Peace. This is that Law of the Gospell; Whatsoever you
require that others should do to you, that do ye to them. (65)
Implicitly, Hobbes suggests that implementing a commonwealth form of government not only
works best in ensuring that all citizens possess rights, but also that a Christian commonwealth
adheres to the Golden Rule written in the Gospel of the Bible. In establishing these rules,
Hobbes also implies that the state of nature is chaotic, anarchic, and fundamentally unchristian
because in the state of nature, individual self-interest rules men rather than a common guide or
social institution, such as the Golden Rule, the Church, and God.
As noted previously, libertines would arguably prefer to live in the state of nature, a place
in which no government, sovereign, or social institutions exist, or at least a place in which they
can rebel against such authorities and the parameters established by them. Goldsmith
paraphrases Hobbes as writing the following in Leviathan: "if there is no sovereign then we are
not in a civil state, but in the state of nature" (32). Though chaotic, the state of nature and its
natural laws afford libertines the ability to follow their instincts, defy social institutions erected
in commonwealths and other forms of government, and engage in anticipatory violence and war
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Smith, Victoria. Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell, dissertation, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6051/m1/26/?q=rochester: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .