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Welcome to the 70’s and the “Misery Index” is back as the “Hobbes Index”

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood N J, the “Hobbes Index” is the new “Misery Index” . The name is taken from 17th-century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who popularized the observation that life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

Seventeenth Century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes is among the theorists most associated with the concept of the “social contract,” the process by which members of a society surrender some of their liberty to a higher authority in exchange for that authority’s protection of their rights.  Hobbes’ magnum opus is the treatise Leviathan (1651), in which he described the “state of nature” that existed before order was established via the social contract.  Hobbes described the state of nature as a “war of all against all” with nothing preventing one neighbor from killing another and taking his property.  In Leviathan’s most famous passage, Hobbes characterized life in the state of nature as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  Life in America has recently taken a Hobbesian turn.

The Hobbes Index improves on the “Misery Index” that during Jimmy Carter’s presidency described the combined effect of high inflation and high unemployment.

Solitary. Lockdowns and mandates frayed the bonds of social interaction. One in eight Americans now report having no friends at all. Suicide attempts have soared.

Poor. The highest inflation rate in 40 years cost the average household $3,500 last year.

Nasty. Our last two presidents have represented a coarsening of the political culture. Biden has even escalated the trend – “Stupid son of a b—-,” is what Biden called a White House reporter recently.

Brutish. The murder rate increased by 30% in 2020,as mass theft has forced retailers to close stores in inner-city locations.

Short. Average life expectancy decreased by almost two years in 2020, as COVID and drug overdose deaths skyrocketed.

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