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Stellenbosch Theological Journal

versión On-line ISSN 2413-9467
versión impresa ISSN 2413-9459


DE WIT, Theo W.A.. The modern state as mortal God. On rogues and rogue states. STJ [online]. 2020, vol.6, n.2, pp.201-233. ISSN 2413-9467.

Prisoners are confined in the name of the state as the holder of the monopoly of coercion and violence. To delegitimize religion as a political factor, the modern European state has often been upgraded to a divine authority, endowed with sovereign, that is: unlimited power. For Hobbes, this state was an answer to the "state of nature", a state of permanent threatening violence, where everyone has a "right to everything". His sovereign state even has the right to punish and kill innocent citizens if he thinks it is necessary. However, as a citizen I do not have to obey when the sovereign wants my death. Both Hobbes and Hegel defend the state, inclusive its roguish behaviour. Is "rogue state" perhaps a tautology? Remarkable, also twentieth-century scholars like Schmitt and Kahn defend this state: in a dangerous world, we have to be prepared for the exceptional situation. Kafka points to the societal and psychological roots of our roguish behaviour - the gap between our self-caressing (collective) self-image and our treating of others, especially strangers and people in prison. It is very tempting and pleasant to get judgmental and to encourage the mortal god (the state) to judge people.

Palabras clave : mortal god; rogues; sovereignty; prison; Hobbes; Hegel.

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