Thursday, August 25, 2016

ON AUCTORITAS

 Let us now turn a our critical gaze toward the doctrine of "authority". In order to accomplish this critique I must first define what I mean by the term "authority" and what I do not mean. 
Often the term authority is used interchangeably with power and those who possess it, but this is not the particular use of the term I wish to examine. 
Another way the term authority is commonly used is to refer to a person or persons with advanced knowledge and or experience in a particular field. This is also, not the kind of authority that will under go examination and critique within this text. 
However, I will note that having an advanced degree in a particular field of study doesn't mean that your arguments are valid or that your propositions are true, nor that they should go unquestioned.
When I use the term "authority" in the following text I mean a person or group of persons who have the "right" to exercise power and control over a given populous. That is, a person or group that a given populous is morally obliged to obey. In order to comprehend why I say that this kind of authority doesn't exist, it is necessary to for me to tackle nebulous concepts such as "rights", "natural rights" and "natural law". 
Unlike authoritarians, anarchists and other moralists who argue about what constitutes legitimate authority I refuse to even assume that the concept of "legitimate authority" is even coherent. I will grant no free miracles. 
"The divine right of kings", is a political and religious theory that states a monarchs "right" to rule (authority) is granted by the will of God. Indeed in past pagan cultures rulers were seen as having a "right" to rule others because they were granted this "right" by the gods or because they themselves were believed to be gods. However, even if a God did exist, this fact of existing would not logically produce an obligation to obey (a moral ought). 

Such primitive theories are contingent upon the religio—moral doctrine known as Divine Command Theory and as has already been pointed out it suffers fatal logical flaws and thus I shall spend no more time concerning it. 
How then, can a given group of human primates (or a being called "God") have a moral right to enforce its will on other human beings? And how do these ruled human primates (citizens) come to incur a duty to obey? 
Simple answer: No one has a moral right to rule for as we have seen morality is subjective and non binding. Authority of this kind is a myth. Rights themselves are mere human mental constructs. As already stated within this book there are no categorical moral oughts, only conditioned rational oughts. No one is objectively morally "bound" to obey anyone. At best, one can argue if one wants to avoid un-desired punishment B they ought obey those with the power to inflict such a punishment. 

It is often claimed by advocates of authority, and government 'officials' themselves (Police, politicians etc) that government represents you and that government officials act on your behalf. That they alone have the moral right to do things which you do not have the right to do. That is, those calling themselves "government" claim to have the 'moral right' to commit certain acts that you have no right to commit, while claiming that you gave them that right. But how can anyone give what they themselves do not possess? Also, 'moral rightness' doesn't exist and thus no one who genuinely "represents" you has the moral right to violently rule over you.
It is often claimed that the right to rule is derived from the "Consent of the Governed”. That people (tacitly) consent to be ruled through voting, or using public road ways or living in a given geographic region (and other such non sense). However, "consent” means to be in voluntarily agreement and to "govern” means to control via force. Therefore the "Consent of the Governed" is incoherent as it is self-contradictory. Also, this claim to 'tacit consent' is proven false by the fact that people explicitly express their lack of consent to be governed. I am not aware of any government who has or has had the consent of everyone it claims or has claimed to have authority over. 
Furthermore, as there are no objective moral truths or standards how can it be cogently argued that an agreement can produce the "moral rightness" of a particular government to rule or the moral obligation of the governed to comply with those who govern? Such an argument also assumes that performing an action that has been consented to is morally permissible and that performing certain actions without consent are immoral (Rape, theft, etc) But again, I see no logical reason to make such an assumption. 
Ironically, these same advocates of democratic governance will claim that activities such as 'gang rape' is morally reprehensible while not realizing that such activities are democracy in action. That is, a majority forcing its will on the minority through violent, coercive means. So, by their standards what's the problem? 
A common objection voiced by contract theorist against those who who critique government and authority is what I call "The love it or leave it fallacy." 
That is, the proponent of authority will respond to your critiques of government by stating "If you don't like it you should just leave!" or sometimes the objection is phrased as a command. "If you don't like it, get the hell out!". 
The problem with this objection is that:
1. It assumes that one has the ability to 'just leave' or 'get the hell out.' However, many moral philosophers will contend that 'ought implies can" and as David Hume pointed out impoverished people do not have the finances to leave. It assumes that there exists some habitable stateless region in which to relocate. To my knowledge there is no such place. Every square inch of habitable land has been carved out by those who wish to rule you. As stated above consent is necessarily voluntary. If you cannot leave government because government is omni-present or you haven't the means to escape it, then consent is not possible. 
  1. The 'The love it or leave it!' edict is morally justified (because...)
  2. it is morally justified by 'the social contract' which is morally justified (because...)
  3. it has been tacitly consented to by those who continue to live in a particular region, and use Goverment provided resources etc, which is morally justified because (back to 1) 'the love it or leave it' edict is morally justified.
A common myth believed by the common citizen-slave is that 'Government is a servant of the people'. This however—is a laughable lie! Government gains obedience from its subjects under the threat of lethal force. It perpetuates its existence and expands its power by aggressively gobbling up the wealth of victims. It cages and even kills those who do not get into the goose-step. Government is not your bitch—maid, it is your master! Does the Government provide some 'services'? Yes, but to claim this makes Government your 'servant' is akin to claiming a factory farmer is the servant of his cattle. Sure, he feeds and provides medical services to the heifer he chains to the milking stanchion, but does this really mean that he is the 'servant' of his dairy cow? And by receiving these services will you really argue that the cow has tacitly consented to ending up on your plate? 

There are no beings, human or otherwise with "the moral right to rule" only humans with the power/ability to do so.
"Mastership is eternal. But only for those who cannot overthrow it, and trample it beneath their hoofs...  Strong men are not deterred from pursuing their aim by anything. They go straight to the goal, and that goal is Beauty, Wealth, and Material Power. The mission of Power is to control and exploit the powerless, for to be powerless is to be criminal. The world would indeed be a house of horrors, if all men were “good” and all women — padlocked."
 — Might Is Right — Ragnar RedBeard