Abstract

Hobbes thinks that people who submit to government can not only hope for, but actually experience, something they recognize as a good life. The good life involves the exercise of harmless liberty—activity that the sovereign should not prohibit. The exchange of harmless liberty in the commonwealth for ruthless self-protection in the state of nature is what might be called Hobbes's peace dividend: the liberty of ordinary citizens to buy, sell, choose, and practice a trade as a source of income, and the liberty to keep some of the proceeds if the state does not need resources for public protection.

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