The Leviathan speaks

Thomas Hobbes on races and prizes, including primaries.

Do I get this right? Ms. Merritt, a Hillary supporter, seems to be arguing that at the end of the world’s most extravagantly long and expensive primary race, designed to give the Democratic party an electable candidate with lots of stamina and sane enough not to machine-gun the press however provoked, the party elders (aka superdelegates) should set aside the candidate who’s actually won by the rules of the competition they set up, and only look at big swing states or blue-collar white voters or something and declare that the party should nominate the loser. Regardless of the likelihood that African-Americans, about the most loyal constituency of the party, will draw the conclusion that unelectable is now another word for black. This is an asymmetric risk; Hillary’s supporters, women and the DLC crowd, will be sore when Obama is nominated but can’t sensibly object that the nomination has been stolen.

Thomas Hobbes had words about this in 1660:

But if there be other signs of the will to transfer a right besides words; then, though the gift be free, yet may the right be understood to pass by words of the future: as if a man propound a prize to him that comes first to the end of a race, the gift is free; and though the words be of the future, yet the right passeth: for if he would not have his words so be understood, he should not have let them run.

Leviathan, Ch. xiv

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web