However, the United States—at least in its ideology—is far from Hobbesian. Thomas Jefferson, one of its most influential Founding Fathers, suggested that the country should not go 20 years without a rebellion. The United States is built on ideas of progression, of equality that is seized rather than acquired through adherence to a higher power. The United States itself does not prize “safety and security”—in theory, at least.
But Hobbesian logic may be more universal than that of Thomas Jefferson. People—individuals, not governments—are afraid of death. They value their own welfare, and that of those they love, above lofty ideals of constant rebellion. Patriotism is of secondary importance if they are threatened with physical or emotional suffering. This is especially evident now, while the ISIS attacks cast a shadow over the United States. The country did not respond by evaluating the terrorists’ motivations and considering the correctness of their actions. The country did not for a moment entertain the thought that perhaps this rebellion was justified, and maybe the government should attempt to aid the terrorists if it deems their motives pure. Instead, the country reacted from a human point of view. It instinctively recognized the horror of the attacks and responded by protecting its own people. As humans, safety is our first priority. No supposed governmental ideology can change that.
Perhaps, then, the United States is a nation with Hobbesian citizens but without a Hobbesian governmental foundation. This idea supports Yale Professor Smith’s theory that a bourgeoisie state must be formed by those whose actions directly contrast with Hobbes’ ideals. The United States was created by those who valued the fight for liberty as much as, or even more than, the liberty that the fight achieved, as demonstrated by Jefferson's endorsement of constant rebellion. But the citizens got comfortable surrounded by liberty, and once they had it unchallenged for a sufficiently long period of time, they lost the desire to continue the fight. They developed a Hobbesian mentality of stagnant safety rather than a Jeffersonian mentality of perpetual progress.
This is where Hobbesian and Jeffersonian wisdom intersect, and it is what can be perceived as a paradox. But the two ideas do not contradict each other.
Hobbesian theory has a gap: how can a Hobbesian world be achieved through Hobbesian means? Jeffersonian theory has a different gap: what motivation is there to continue rebelling when one has already achieved one’s goal? A combination of the two theories leads to a more realistic society. Jeffersonian methods fill in the Hobbesian gap, since they provide a way to create the society. Hobbesian methods fill in the Jeffersonian gap, since they provide a way to maintain this society. So this is not a paradox; rather, it is a combination of the two mindsets, but they are applied at different times so as not to create an impossible reality in which they exist in an odd sort of tug-of-war.
This combination of theories is evident in the United States’ past and present. In answer to the question, “Is the United State a Hobbesian state?”, yes, it is now—but it is more than that. It is a state built on the true path to success: first Jeffersonianism, then Hobbesism.