Montaigne, Michel de. The Complete Essays of Montaigne. Stanford: Stanford U P, 1958.
One wonders if Swift's satirical persona and Montaigne would feel the same way about eating human beings if they had in front of them bowlsful of human flesh. It is easy for Montaigne to sit in his study far from the cannibals' society and wax romantic about their wonderfully pure lifestyle. It would not be so easy to see the cannibals' way of life as this romantic and pure if he were sitting down around their campfire and sharing their human meal, and it would be even more difficult were they in the midst of preparing to murder and eat him.
Swift, Jonathan. "A Modest Proposal." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 1974. 2094-2101.
Hobbes puts the Leviathan in a higher position than even God in terms of political affairs, arguing that if the Leviathan makes a bad law, it is not the right of the people to protest or defy that law (for they have given up such a right when they agreed to the social contract with the Leviathan). Such a bad law will result in God's ultimate judgment on the Leviathan, but the people have no say in the matter.
ntaigne reflects the modern tendency to look at the world and see what one wishes to see, selectively editing out what one does not want to see. His argument also reflects the tendency of many individuals to romanticize a foreign culture in comparison with one's own, especially if the foreign culture is exotic, which the cannibals' culture certainly is.
Hobbes, in Leviathan, paints a negative view of the nature of human beings and a belief in the necessity of a powerful government in order to control the violent self-centeredness of human beings. Hobbes' philosophy seeks to ensure civil order above all other considerations, which means for him the absolute power of the government, or the Leviathan, which power the people have given him through the social contract. Hobbes' views of human natu