Next up in the roll call of “honorable mentions” as we lead up to the overall winner in our search for the world’s greatest thinker ever: Thomas Hobbes.
Area of interest: Fear and its relationship to legitimate violence.
Why great: Because he wrote out of a profound fear that only people such as himself can understand–people who live through civil wars or genocide, through periods of wanton cruelty of man upon man–and drew from it a concise and lasting conclusion: namely, that any society needs a monopoly on legitimate violence in order to avert anarchy. The monopolist is the state (with an army for external violence and a police force for domestic violence). Allow this monopoly to become an oligopoly or “free market”, and you get unspeakable suffering.
Comment: A great one for liberals, lest they forget that a small government can never become no government because that would destroy the freedoms they hold dear. On the other hand, no need to get carried away and overdo it in the other direction either…. 😉