Sovereignty vs. Security

Flipping through old notebooks – if an old notebook of my own counts as a “book” with which I can “discoure” – and I found the following rumination on Sovereignty and Security:

Sovereignty vs Security

These are, fundamentally, the same concept.  They have the same “essence” i.e. the right to life, and all that right implies.

To speak of a trade-off or balance between securitas and libertas is to make an error.  More security does not mean less freedom.  Rather, the logic of modernity implies that more security must mean, or bring about, more freedom.  Precisely: because this security satisfies and upholds my right to life.  So, security – as the desire to have more than one needs – becomes the desire for life itself.

Therefore, we have an asymptotic (?) relationship between liberty and security, not a trade-off.

Sovereignty is the institution that upholds rights.  Security is the activity that does the upholding.  They are essentially the same.

p.s. The Logic of inside/outside is made possible by the noetic heterogeneity of the best/ideal/just regime.

p.p.s. “Security” is a vision of the good society, therefore posing the question of the good as such. cf. Thoughts on Machiavelli, p.268.



Well then. My past self has given my present self something to think about.

  1. Justin Gottschalk said:

    of course — and I think you imply this by referring explicitly to the “logic of modernity” — the relationship you’re talking about between liberty and security only holds on the Hobbesian presupposition of the bellum omnium contra omnes. if that is not assumed, the possibility exists of more liberty existing outside the borders of security/sovereignty, or of those borders being more restrictive than liberating w/r/t life. as for the “right” to life, which obviously is likewise of Hobbesian provenance, the protection of this right as a juridical-legal fact would seem to require sovereignty/security, but the question remains of whether more liberty would be possible outside such a regime than in it, or of whether (if the war of all against all is not presupposed) the concept of life as a right does not, in some conceivable case, detract from the liberty with which life is lived. at the extreme formal end of this speculation, we could perhaps ask whether at least the liberty not to posit life as a right, or to understand it in other terms (as a gift, as a gamble, as a disease…), is not in some sense infringed by the conceptual presuppositions described above.

    outside the realm of the Hobbesian-liberal-modern state, the equation of sovereignty/security is not as clear-cut, though i think it still follows the relationship you specify. i am thinking about the protego ergo obligo of the religious believer, whose obligo does not end at the precipice of martyrdom (as the citizen of the Hobbesian state’s does at the precipice of certain death at the command of the sovereign), but who nonetheless relies on the protego of God for his soul and its eternal felicity etc. is such a “duty” then only a “right” that God must be powerful enough to protect? and if He is not?

    thanks for the interesting post.

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