Just today, once again, Virginia Tech was host to murders on its very own campus. Two individuals, including a police officer, were sadly shot down on campus, the second time such an incident has occurred at the exact school within the last 5 years. For those of you who do not remember, in April of 2007 the Virginia Tech Colombine resulted in the shooting and death of 33 individuals on Virginia Tech campus. These individuals are mentally unstable, and a complete danger to those around them. The worst is they are not the only one, and won’t be the last.
Hobbes and Machiavelli both felt that it was essential for a leader to be able to cause his subordinates to fear him. To me, it seems that in our society we utilize essentially the inverse of this theory. If there is any sort of negative feeling a citizen of the US will feel towards the government, fear would be the last on the list. If anything resentment is more of a common negative sentiment citizens will feel about their government. I am more afraid of being jumped walking down Geddes avenue (where a recent assault took place on campus) than I am of my government, and it’s people like the VaTech Shooters, that make me and I sure others feel this way.
So what does this say about our society, how would Hobbes or Machiavelli assess this situation? Machiavelli said that a leader with true power is one who demonstrates to his citizens that he has the power to both preserve life, as well as take it away. Today, I’m more afraid of a fellow US citizen taking a life than I am our government. Personally, I have no idea what it would be like to live under another sort of government, and I am truly grateful to be a citizen of the US and have the rights I do, but, if our government had more power over the individual, would that result in less incidences like those that have occurred in Blacksburg so recently?
This is how I see it. If we live under the rule of a leader who utilized the techniques and ideologies of Hobbes and Machiavelli, citizens would be far more disciplined, and less likely to be deviants. If I lived under the rule of a dictator I would never break the law, because he is the ultimate authority and he has the right to be far more extreme than if the decision were to be given to a court of law. There is a very good chance that a murderer in this country is given Jail time, a more powerful, and one sided leadership, would be more inclined to execute a murderer, which sends a message to the public telling them not to disobey the say of those in charge.
We have seen several incidences before and there needs to be something done about it. I understand that problems like these can;t possibly be foreseen nor can they be prevented, but there needs to be something done that could prevent people from acting in such ways. I feel a more powerful government would solve the problem easily, but that would be calling for a completely radical change to our nation, and that just isn’t in the cards right now.