Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 26
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any thing contrary to that Law, it is a Crime. Therefore into what place soever a man
shall come, if he do any thing contrary to that Law, it is a crime. (Hobbes 152)
Since libertines let self-interest and instincts guide them, it makes sense that they would not
follow the Golden Rule much less obey civil laws. Their defiance of social institutions such as
the Church, marriage, family, and government similarly keeps them from following the Golden
Rule and obeying civil laws set forth by the sovereign. Libertines, naturally, do not care about
the rights of the commonwealth collectively or the rights of other individuals and only care about
maintaining their own individual rights.
Not only do Libertines defy and harbor contempt for social institutions such as the
government, but they openly express disdain for members of the low and middle classes. As
affluent young men, libertines often possess elitist views regarding members of the lower and
middle classes and view themselves as above and not beholden to secular (civil law) or religious
law (Golden Rule). Hobbes makes a seemingly elitist statement about the fact that the less
affluent members of society make up the majority of the population that lives in
commonwealths. He writes, "But they say again, that though the Principles be right, yet
Common people are not of capacity enough to be made to understand them" (Hobbes 176).
Though this statement initially appears to be an elitist statement about commoners or those
belonging to the middle and lower classes, he is actually making this distinction based on social
inequality rather than political equality.
In fact, Hobbes writes the following about the differences between political equality and
social inequality earlier in the text. Hobbes writes:
For in the Soveraignty is the fountain of Honour. The dignities of Lord, Earle, Duke, and
Prince are his Creatures. As in the presence of the Master, the Servants are equall, and
without any honour at all; So are the Subjects, in the presence of the Soveraign. And
though they shine some more, some lesse, when they are out of his sight; yet in his
presence, they shine no more than the Starres in presence of the Sun. (Hobbes 128).
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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/m1/32/?q=rochester: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .