Authors
Tom Sorell
University of Warwick
Abstract
Thomas Hobbes might seem an unlikely source for a theory of emergency powers applicable to liberal democracies in our own day. He advocated the concentration of political, judicial, economic and military authority, and was in favour of great latitude for a monarch or assembly in the choice of means to security. His theory demands absolute submission to law on the part of citizens, with no constitutional limitations on what laws can require. 1 The same theory demands preventive measures against sedition, and has a very expansive conception of seditious behavior. What is more, the concentration of power with wide discretion is supposed to be politics as usual.
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