Hobbes warns us in chapter 13 of Leviathan about three elements in our nature that cannot fail to engender quarrels and war. The first is our competitiveness, which makes us try to master the persons and property of others. The next is our associated lack of trust, which prompts us to anticipate and react to any threatened assaults. The third is our thirst for glory, which leads us to regard with hostility any apparent signs of being undervalued. These propensities render us ‘dissociate’ from one another, as a result of which ‘men have no pleasure, (but on the contrary a great deale of griefe) in keeping company’. Still worse, we are ‘apt to invade, and destroy one another’, whether in the name of making gains or protecting ourselves or upholding our elevated sense of our worth. Cumulatively these invasions give rise to a war ‘of every man, against every man’ in which everyone is equally condemned to live ‘without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall’.
If any form of social life is to be possible, these destructive tendencies will need to be curbed and controlled. Hobbes concludes that the only means of winning security will be for everyone to agree on a ‘visible Power to keep them in awe, and tye them by feare of punishment’ from engaging in acts of violence. More specifically, the one and only route to security is said to lie in covenanting, every man with every man, to ‘conferre all their power and strength upon one Man, or upon one Assembly of men’, thereby agreeing to ‘submit their Wills, every one to his Will, and their Judgements, to his Judgment’. By this means the sovereign will have ‘the use of so much Power and Strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is inabled to conforme the wills of them all, to Peace at home, and mutuall ayd against their enemies abroad.’
Hobbes's analysis in chapter 13 of the unsociable qualities that dictate this drastic solution appears at first sight to be complete. If we turn to chapter 15, however, we find that he has more to say.