I was ghoulishly amused by Kamal Hasani’s allusion to Thomas Hobbes in the context of Iran:
The misrulers of Iran claim inspiration from the Qur’an and other Islamic sources, as well as Plato’s concept of the “philosopher-king.” But it now seems they are inspired by a more recent Western thinker, Thomas Hobbes. In his classic [sic] on the state, Leviathan, Hobbes wrote, “the aim of punishment is not revenge, but terror.” The Iranian government takes Hobbes as their guide for maintaining the Ayatollahs’ Leviathan in power.
Of course, Hobbes didn’t envision the Islamic theocracy of the Iranian Republic when he wrote this, and he qualified what he wrote with reference to the rule of law as well as other safeguards against the misuse of arbitrary power and indiscriminate force. In Iran, the Vali or Supreme Leader holds the reins to power and there are no effective checks or balances to prevent him from using the full might of the police and paramilitary units such as the Basij against the Green Revolutionaries.