Hobbes and Frank on Why Democracy is Overrated

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Book Chapter

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Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was the first philosopher to take seriously the idea that people are essentially equal. Not only do we want the same things, but also we think that we have an equal claim to them. Consequently, Hobbes envisioned a "state of nature," the period before the establishment of civil society, where life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." As a remedy, Hobbes preferred a hereditary monarchy.

Frank Underwood is Hobbesian to the core. He wants to use the harsh and violent reality of political life to satisfy his desire for power and the glory that comes with it. Democracy, as he sees it, is little more than the state of nature with elections.