Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Power vs. Authority

Hannah Arendt's distinction between the two might have made The American Conservative's Robert P. Murphy's article clearer — Do Libertarians Have a Problem With Authority?

Those of us old enough to remember the eighties recall that Catholic Church and Solidarność had authority, while Wojciech Jaruzelski merely had power. Also coming to mind is the story of libertarian Lew Rockwell questioning a guy with a "Question Authority" t-shirt on.

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Blogger Elias said...

I like the distinction that you just made. Authority doesn't come with force.

December 13, 2012 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Steve Hayes said...

I couldn't find the story about the "Question Authority" T-shirt at the link you gave.

December 16, 2012 at 5:52 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

THat story was from somewhere else.

December 16, 2012 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

Deacon Hayes,

I couldn't find the story, but I found this lengthy quote by Mr. Rockwell:

"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.


December 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM  

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