Do Libertarians Question Authority?
- "Question Authority!" says a leftist bumper sticker popular in libertarian circles. But libertarians are wrong to blur the distinction between State authority and social authority, for a free society is buttressed by social authority. Every business requires a hierarchy of command and every employer has the right to expect obedience within his proper sphere of authority. It is no different within the family, the church, the classroom; or even the Rotary or the Boy Scouts.
Giving trade unions license to commit violent crimes subverts the authority of the employer. Drug laws, Medicare, Social Security, and the public schools sap the authority of the family. Banishing religion from public debate undermines the authority of the church.
In a recent article, Jerome Tucille claims he's fighting for freedom by battling "the orthodoxy of the Roman Catholic Church." But there is nothing libertarian in fighting orthodoxy, Catholic or otherwise, and by deliberately confusing his prejudices with libertarianism, he helps perpetuate the myth that libertarianism is libertine.
Authority will always be necessary in society. Natural authority arises from voluntary social structures; unnatural authority is imposed by the State.