Modernity reframes all authority as “abuse”

August 27, 2013 § 36 Comments

Abuse of authority is pretty pervasive in human societies, because human beings are fallen creatures and we frequently abuse the things over which we are stewards.  A recent thread at The Orthosphere turned into a discussion of the relationship between Christian orthodoxy and slavery.  This discussion in turn depends on mostly unspoken assumptions about property.

Liberalism has always used the fallenness of actual human beings in authority as a rhetorical means of attacking authority in general.  In manosphere terms this represents a colossal multi-century cultural “reframe”: rather than expressing outrage at actual abuse and attempting to get actual abuse corrected, distinguishing between legitimate authority/hierarchy and its abuse, authority/hierarchy in general is treated by liberalism as intrinsically abusive.

Ironically, by attacking all hierarchy/authority as abuse liberalism leaves us with only arid concepts of authority (including the authority of ownership), concepts which are intrinsically abusive.  My comment in the Orthosphere thread:

I’ve been saying for a long time now that it isn’t just slavery that is intrinsically wrong under modern conceptions of property: all “ownership” is intrinsically wrong under modern conceptions of property. The proprietor understood as tinpot god, completely unfettered triumphant Will, unchecked lord and master over some (any) material thing at all is morally problematic.

When ownership is understood properly, as a cognate of stewardship and sovereignty, the supposed problems disappear.

In attacking all authority/hierarchy (monarchy, aristocracy, male headship of the household, etc) as intrinsically abusive – because the mere existence of nonconsensual authority/hierarchy violates the core liberal tenet of equality – liberalism creates a world in which nothing but abuse is possible.

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