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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Power vs Authority

David Warren: An authoritarian writes --
Power, that is the thing. It is what I have been reading about, all through this summer: the use of Power to destroy a magnificent civilization. Power, verily in opposition to Authority. For it is Authority that holds a civilization together, Power that blows it apart.

I’m afraid this truth is little understood, in our age of Power Triumphant. Little Man has stood against the gods, & in the euphoria of his hubris, declared them to be overthrown. Henceforth Little Man will make the rules. He will no longer answer to Authority, to the philosophia perennis. By Power he has usurped the Authority, & need not listen to it any more. Henceforth, words will mean whatever Power will choose them to mean, in our looking-glass world. (Take for instance a term from time out of mind, such as “marriage.”)
And in the end, Authority is restored; the truth is vindicated by an accident of Nature; Humpty Dumpty tumbles from his Wall. For here is a mystery: that in despite of Little Man, the universe is held together by Authority.
The thing is, Authority protects the "Little Man" from the abusive Power of the "Big Man" ... and yet, the fool is *always* willing to listen to the would-be "Big Man", who always promises, and always fails to deliver: "If only you will give me unlimited Power over your life, I will *free* you from the shackles of Authority; I will free you from your father and from God."