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Where Does Authority Come From?

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posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:34 PM
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Many people conflate "society," "government," and "authority" as mutually inclusive concepts, but they are not.

Unfortunately, concepts like society, the state, government, or "We the People" are not living, breathing entities, and by ascribing to them a thing that only real objects can possess (in this case, authority), we are committing the reification fallacy:



Ambiguity in this form is a tool, used either by the ignorant doing "good" even if their premise is naive at best, or the manipulative who strive for power over others.

Society can be defined as some arbitrary number of humans, greater than one, living in close proximity to one another. That alone does not lend itself to us to be able to deduce the derivation of authority. To do so, we have to define authority:



The first part of the definition deals with what authority is: having the absolute sole right to exact obedience from another.

But, how do we gain authority?

For instance, let us imagine that three people--person A, person B, and person C--are living within close proximity of one another.

1. If person A gives his explicit consent to person B, to allow person B to hold authority over him, does person B's authority also extend to person C?

2. If person B and person C began trading goods and services with one another, does person A automatically gain authority over 1 or both of them (or neither)?

3. Does person A, person B, or person C have some qualifying, natural characteristic that automatically ascribes the right of authority to them over the other two?

Remember when thinking about these questions: we are discussing the right of a person to both make rules and to force others to obey said rules.




posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:36 PM
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a reply to: CharlestonChew

Authority is derived from consent and/or power.

So one can not answer your questions without knowing the relations of power between the three.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:43 PM
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Having the 'power or right to give orders. In that nobody will step up and stop even if abusive or harmful. Thats from power not from being in the right.

I just watched parts of Schindler's List again. Within the confines of the Camp the Nazis had complete authority. One misstep and you're dead.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:44 PM
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originally posted by: Tiamat384
a reply to: CharlestonChew

Authority is derived from consent and/or power.


Consent is the only moral justification for gaining authority over another human being.

If person A consents to be governed by person B, person B's authority does not lend itself to exacting obedience from person C. It can't. We could deduce that authority is derived from the individual.

Having the "power" to hold authority is an immoral argument in the sense that authority is being justified by one's ability to beat people up who may disagree with your authority. It is a "might makes right" argument and is inherently circular logic:

"He has the power to enforce his authority and his authority is derived from his power because he can enforce his authority...."


So one can not answer your questions without knowing the relations of power between the three.


There does not have to be any relation. They just have to live close enough to one another to count as a "society." In the same sense that someone living in California can agree that person A (whether Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders, etc) may hold authority over them, and somehow that authority extends to people living in Ohio, or Tennessee, or Florida, etc.
edit on 25-2-2016 by CharlestonChew because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:44 PM
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Authority is derived from a monopoly on the use (or potential use) of force.

Or, the people with the guns make the rules.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:47 PM
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originally posted by: NthOther
Authority is derived from a monopoly on the use (or potential use) of force.

Or, the people with the guns make the rules.


I mean, for our current use of organizational powers that is the most honest argument for what we actually do.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:47 PM
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a reply to: CharlestonChew

Your question has nothing to do with morals. Simply about authority. Power and consent are the allowances to authority. If you are looking at it that only consent is the means to power you are only looking at it from a liberal view point.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:49 PM
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originally posted by: Tiamat384
a reply to: CharlestonChew

Your question has nothing to do with morals. Simply about authority. Power and consent are the allowances to authority. If you are looking at it that only consent is the means to power you are only looking at it from a liberal view point.


There is no justification for the use of power to force people, who do not consent to your authority, to obey you.

My argument is that someone who uses that justification has no authority.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 04:51 PM
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a reply to: Tiamat384

What about the 1st question:

If person A gives his explicit consent to person B, to allow person B to hold authority over him, does person B's authority also extend to person C?

Do you think that person B's authority extends to person C?



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 05:01 PM
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a reply to: CharlestonChew

Except that using your definition it is still authority.

Depends on power relations. I am taking both a liberal and realist view of the world which is how it really works.

Look. Im just answering as IR theory has it and how the actual world works and using your definitons.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 05:24 PM
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Authority us derived from a glorious and manly mustache. Everyone knows this.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 05:25 PM
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a reply to: watchitburn

That explains so much about the 1930s.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 05:38 PM
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Animal Instinct perhaps?

In nature, there's always the Alpha, Pack Leader, Group Leader, Troop Leader... etc.

Seems to be part of our genetics that we have to "follow" or "obey" somehow.

Thus, I love Loki's quote in the first Avengers movie:

Loki


Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It's the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life's joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.


Oh, I forgot then the old man stood up and said: "Not to men like you."

But in my version, there's no Captain America and the geezer gets turned to dust.
edit on 2/25/2016 by truthseeker84 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: CharlestonChew
It might be useful for you to go to the older philosophers like Hobbes and Locke and read up on the concept of the "Social Contract".
This is a corporate agreement among the members of a society to accept a source of authority to provide order amongst them.
It is best to think of this original "contract" as something implied and only half-conscious, rather than explicit.
Hobbes was responsible for the statement that human life without some such arrangement would be "nasty, brutish, and short" (as it might be again if the anarchists got their way).



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 06:17 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

You beat me to it. I would throw in Roseau.

Locke and Kant disagreed about Hobbes state of nature comment. They all were part of different revolutions. Some 'bloodier" than others.

Personally I like Roseau and even Spinoza on the social contract and freedom.
edit on 25-2-2016 by luthier because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 06:34 PM
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It comes from the man holding the largest stick. That's the US government with the army.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 07:20 PM
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From the outfit/badge.

South Park even has a bit on it.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 07:23 PM
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a reply to: CharlestonChew

If I'm attacked, I have the right to fight back. So, natural rights can be a source of authority in addition to consent. I have a right to fight off an attacker whether or not the attacker has granted me consent to do so.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 08:08 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Have you read my signature by chance?

The social contract is complete make believe. A contract requires review, counter-offer, and acceptance/rejection by all parties involved. Did you read that? A contract can be REJECTED.

The social contract implies that authority is derived from the consent of the governed, but in practice it is used to excuse enslaving person C when person A consents to be governed by person B, when person C gave no such consent.

The only reason to use a "social contract" is to excuse any evil done to a person under the guise that said person "tacitly agreed" to the mistreatment.

Don't want to be robbed? You tacitly agreed to it.
Don't want to be raped? You tacitly agreed to it.
Don't want to be murdered? You tacitly agreed to it.

It is an intellectually dishonest argument for abusing other humans while pretending any alternative would result in chaos (without being able to see the chaos it causes).

Want organization? Build a society on the concept of explicit contracts according to contract law. Psychopaths would rather stick to the ambiguity of the "social contract," though, because it gives them the power necessary to abuse others with impunity.



posted on Feb, 25 2016 @ 08:17 PM
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Person B has the potential to exercise some authority over C by using A as a proxy. The extent to which B gains from any trade between A and C is dependent on the level of authority granted by A to B and the level of autonomy C is able to exercise when dealing with A.

Both A and C should cut B out completely.



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