What is the perpetual state of war in the opinion of Thomas Hobbes?
A society with its subjects under total control of a sovereign will enable the development of civil society. This argument has substance when we consider that within a society where a sovereign has total control. It enables the sovereign to be the highest form of adjudicator within that society. This means that the sovereign will be the adjudicator in cases of conflict and disagreement among the subjects. This renders the sovereign the source of civil law and equity. As a result of this, the possibility of a return to the problems of the state of nature is averted. The social contract enables society to be safeguarded from the threat to life that occurs within the state of nature. For as long as the sovereign serves the subject’s right to life, any subsequent infringement is permitted. However, this is as far as the social contracts consent to the force of the sovereign extends. Hobbes explains that in the instance of the sovereign does not respect the right to life of their subjects then only in that instance is it permissible for the subjects of the sovereign to be permitted to engage in rebellion against the sovereign.
It seems rational for an individual to enter into a Hobbesian social contract if we consider that when a commonwealth is formed by acquisition, the incentives are clear. Should an individual be faced with the choice of either being colonized or certain death, individuals will engage in a contract with the colonizer in order to maintain and to preserve their lives. Choosing to be governed by the sovereign has more benefits to the individual for the distant future. As previously mentioned it will enable the individual to remain protected from death by foreign invader and a contented way of living that would be impossible to find within a state of nature as the same securities found under sovereign rule would not be granted within a state of nature, this is because a state of nature is feudal by nature. In a state of nature each is in possession of the same amount of power and natural right meaning that the individuals within a state of nature are consistently in a situation of conflict, Hobbes describes this as the perpetual state of war.