War on terror has become one of the biggest issues of the current era. Almost all the countries in the world have experienced or suffered from the effects of terror activities. Many methods have been devised to contain this menace and huge economic resources exhausted on the war on terror. Terrorists are said to follow an ideology that is instilled in them by their leaders, peers, and relatives among others. However, these suggestions are not conclusive. The best way to eliminate terrorism is through understanding its causes and knowing how human beings relate and behave. Among the perspectives that can be used to explain terrorism to counter it are Thomas Hobbes and John Locke’s view of human nature and war on terror.
In the Leviathan, Hobbes describes human nature to be driven by motives of acquiring power. He further explains that once a man acquires power or satisfies a particular desire, he aims to attain something more. Human beings are thus never satisfied by any achievement because once a certain challenge is achieved another one occurs (Hobbes, 1996).
He continues to explain that for human beings to achieve their desires, they must compete with fellow humans. This creates a circuit of hostility and a constant threat to a human. This is because people who have similar desire to possess a common thing they automatically become enemies and a threat to each other’s life. To contain this threat of war on one another, Hobbes proposes the creation of a government to guard against natural vices. The government creates a political order of fear for all men to maintain peace under their lives’ threat as leverage.
This view, when applied to the war on terror, implies that the government should contain this problem by threat and war. Tak (2008) asserts that terror is viewed as a crime of not recognizing the government created and thus should be dealt with ruthlessly. The government by using Leviathan it aims to rule domestically through terror (fear) and beyond through war. Thus, helping in the containment of terrorist threats both internally and externally.
Locke’s view on human nature agrees with the Hobbesian view of human nature. Locke further concurs that human are likely to react to threats by violent means as a defense mechanism. However, Locke view is based on the notion that human beings have no right over anything or another human apart from themselves. This is taken from the belief that God created Adam and charged him with everything else. Therefore, since human beings are his descendants, they are all equal with no special rights.
Bollyn (2017), further, adds that this school of thought also stands for the common saying of “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” It acknowledges that there may be a threat and it should be dealt with by a common judge. This common judge is the government, but it does not rule by fear but by preserving human integrity. Although there may be terrorist activities, the terrorists should be treated as criminals and served with justice.
Both Hobbes and Locke’s perspectives of war on terror have their weaknesses. For instance, as Hobbes uses fear to eliminate a terrorist, it would be a never-ending war because of the impossibility to capture and eliminate all terrorists. On the other hand, Locke’s view on terror is somewhat soft towards the culprits and may not be an efficient way of dealing with hardcore “criminals.” Therefore, both perspectives can be used interchangeably depending on the severity of terror activities on the affected areas.