The State of Nature on Black Friday

Each year, there is another holiday after Thanksgiving, believe it or not, and it’s called Black Friday. Two holidays back-to-back? Woah!

Black Friday, while it always has always appealed to the masses with deals of the year, has received quite a lot of bad rap these few years.

Millions of people line up early or even camp out stores in anticipation to snag products before others do. When you factor in thousands of cold, grumpy, and greedy customers, it turns violent and even deadly at times.

The malls on Black Friday are jam-packed.  Just look at this! (Labeled for noncommercial reuse by Google)

The malls on Black Friday are jam-packed. Just look at this!

I believe Black Friday is a prominent example of the States of Nature mentioned in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. In Chapter 13, Hobbes writes, “From this equality of ability, ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies; and in the way to their end, (which is principally their own conservation, and sometimes their delectation only,) endeavour to destroy, or subdue one another. And from hence it comes to pass, that where an invader hath no more to fear, than another man’s single power; if one plant, sow, build, or possess a convenient seat, others may probably be expected to come prepared with forces united, to dispossess, and deprive him, not only of the fruit of his labour, but also of his life, or liberty. And the invader again is in the like danger of another.”

Thomas Hobbes and his States of Nature are the underlying causes for the chaos on Black Friday. (Labelled for noncommercial reuse by Google)

Thomas Hobbes and his States of Nature are the underlying causes for the chaos on Black Friday.


Shoppers alike all have the equal opportunity to purchase products at a significantly discounted price, and Hobbes is correct in saying that if two men desire the same thing, they become enemies. Videos on YouTube from past Black Friday’s have shown violent fights in which enemies try to “destroy or subdue one another.” Here is a prime example of one by user “Black Friday Fights”, showing several people on top of each other fighting over a television.

This behavior is instinctive nature. We all have a self-centered mentality and when we see that someone else wants the same thing, we do everything we can to ensure we have it to ourselves. This cycle is continuous, and the “invader again is in the like danger of another.” We go to dangerous measures to ensure this and stabbings and shootings have unfortunately resulted from it.

What really bothers me is the fact this happens the day after Thanksgiving, a holiday meant for people to rejoice and be thankful for what they have. It just seems wrong to be so caring, thoughtful, and respectful one day and then turn to complete savage animals the next…

Yesterday, the shopping frenzy on Black Friday led to an alarming number of violent crimes across the country. According to this article by the Huffington Post, an alleged shoplifted dragged a police officer from his car before being shot by other law enforcement officers. In Las Vegas, two males reportedly attempted to steal a TV from a man who just purchased it, shooting him in the leg before speeding off. Last year, a woman deliberately peppered sprayed innocent people in front of an Xbox console. A senior citizen was stampeded to death in a BrandsMart U.S.A. In 2005, fellow customers knocked a pregnant Grand Rapids woman to the ground.

This brutal competition is referenced by Thomas Hobbes as the first underlying condition of the nature of man, “So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory.”

Thomas Hobbes is on point with his analysis of human nature even before Black Friday was a thing. The fact that we behave like barbaric animals only serves to strengthen his theory in the States of Nature. Ultimately, we are destroying ourselves. Behavior like this is unacceptable and it is only getting worse.   This video shows what we have turned into.  WE are the biggest threat to humankind. We are going to kill ourselves and despite how hard it is to change human behavior, we need to take action before it gets any worse.