ABSTRACT

While the previous chapter sketches a therapeutic approach to political philosophy, this chapter puts it into practice through a post-democratic reading of the work of Thomas Hobbes, one that specifically focuses on his distinction between the subject and the servant. While the subject covenants with others in order to form a commonwealth, the servant is forcibly and violently incorporated into one. This distinction, the chapter argues, parallels the distinction between democratic citizens and self-aware post-democratic citizens under post-democratic conditions. While the former proceeds under the illusion of exercising some control over sovereignty, the latter knows better, preparing the servant for the greater challenges and disappoints of post-democratic life. The chapter ends with a Hobbesian inspired approach to the questions of legitimacy, membership, responsibility, and culpability that emerge under post-democratic conditions, ultimately arguing for adopting an instrumental relationship to the state and an estranged relationship with one’s fellow citizens.