Consent doesn’t create authority, even in marriage

July 20, 2014 § 153 Comments

Malcolm suggests that in the case of marriage it is the bride’s consent to marriage which creates the husband’s authority. This is mistaken.

A man – even an unmarried man – has natural law authority over his household. Just as someone may in some cases decide by (mutual) consent to become a citizen of a country and place himself under a particular sovereign’s authority, a bride decides by (mutual) consent to become part of the groom’s household and place herself under his authority.

But in neither case is it true that the authority in question derives from the consent of the governed.

§ 153 Responses to Consent doesn’t create authority, even in marriage

  • yes! people need to stop pretending that everything is a contract between equals.

  • Alte says:

    She’s not supposed to be part of his household until they’re married, though. That’s what she’s agreeing to, in matrimony, and that’s her free choice.

    Of course, if she moves in beforehand, then she’s confusing things, and strife is just around the corner.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    That’s what she’s agreeing to, in matrimony, and that’s her free choice.

    Yes. Much like joining the army, you must freely choose to join. However, you may not freely choose to un-join, so you’d better make damn sure you want to be a part of it before signing up. You can’t quit after you commit. Part (but not even close to all) of the problem with marriage today is how casually people get into it. After all, there’s always divorce if it doesn’t work out. People nowadays just despise the idea that another fallen human being can create a moral obligation in them.

    Of course, the flip side is that those fallen human beings with authority – like generals and husbands – have a responsibility to use that authority well; in such a way that it is directed at the good. In fact, anyone with authority who attempts to use said authority in such a way that it is directed at evil fails in his attempt to do so. Authority is the capacity to create moral obligations, and no one can create immoral moral obligations. When General Heinrich gives me the order to execute Ezra Goldstein the innocent Jew, he fails to create a moral obligation in me to do so.

    Of course, if she moves in beforehand, then she’s confusing things, and strife is just around the corner.

    Yes, I concur. Cohabitation before marriage is part (again, but not even close to all) of the problem with marriage today. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking it precludes the possibility of the existence of legitimate authority. Should a cohabitating couple get validly married, the marriage will still have all of the metaphysical characteristics of a valid marriage. The fact that you’ve performed sinful actions in the past is not an excuse for performing even more sinful actions in the present, and it certainly doesn’t invalidate any sacraments you receive. The husband still has marital authority, even though he didn’t while they were cohabitating.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    Malcolm wondered where the Magisterium has expressly condemned the notion of “the consent of the governed”. As my comments are awaiting moderation over at his place, I figured it might be handy to post these two notable references here:

    (1.) Pope Saint Pius X’s Notre Charge Apostolique : http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius10/p10notre.htm

    (2.) Pope Leo XIII’s Diuturnum illud:
    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo13/l13civ.htm

  • Zippy says:

    Alte and JSG:
    Even a guest staying in my household is under my authority as long as she stays. My household, my rules.

  • Zippy says:

    Catholic Economist:
    Folks tend to think that Humanae Vitae was unique. But there are plenty of examples of encyclicals falling on deaf modernist Catholic ears, leading to the slaughter and damnation of millions.

  • Zippy says:

    A man who adopts the idea that he rules by the consent of his women is setting himself up for some very serious problems.

    This is just another example of modern liberal sociopathy. It is true that male authority exists for the good of everyone under his rule, especially women and children. But men who “rule” by the consent of women and children are no good to anyone, including women and children. Women instinctively know this – feminism/liberalism is “beta” – and widespread sociopathy is the result.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Even a guest staying in my household is under my authority as long as she stays. My household, my rules.

    Yes, but a guest may choose to leave your area of authority. That may or may not remove some or all moral obligations previously created by your authority – depending on precisely what moral obligations you created – and prevents you from creating new ones (assuming you don’t have a separate, distinct source of authority over this individual).

    A wife, however, has joined the army. She may not resign on her own authority once she’s signed up. (Actually, the analogy breaks down very soon because her husband may not fire her either. As long as they both consented to marriage at the time the marriage took place, the indissolubility of marriage is unaffected by the prolonged consent of either party.)

  • Zippy says:

    True enough JSG. My point is just that marriage – the consent of a woman – is not where a man’s authority over his household comes from. A widower or single person has just as much authority over his household as a married man.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ Zippy:

    Sorry. I have a bad habit of seeing implications where there are none, especially when it comes to common fallacious arguments I’m sick of having to refute. I had this image in my head of King Zippy the Magnificent sitting atop his stone gulag, where none that enter may leave except at his pleasure.

    Turns out you were just, like, citing natural law and stuff and I’m off my rocker.

  • sunshinemary says:

    Well, I think people get confused because under modern law, a man’s “right to rule” is subject to his wife’s consent. That doesn’t mean that this is morally correct, only that this is how it plays out in real life in the temporal realm.

    Having authority that one cannot exercise is undoubtedly frustrating.

  • Zippy says:

    Sunshine:
    Positive law though cannot take away rightful authority. Enforcement and authority are different things, and liberal modernity is a sociopathic tyrant.

  • irishgirl says:

    Is it that Malcolm is saying “that particular man’s authority over that particular woman is because she consented to marry him” and you are saying “that particular man’s authority over his domain is pre-existent to his authority over that particular woman and she enters the domain of his authority when she marries him”? Her consent is to enter his domain, which automatically puts her under his authority?

  • Zippy says:

    irishgirl:
    More or less. I am clarifying that a husband’s authority over his wife is like the sovereign’s authority over an immigrant. The choice to immigrate does not create the authority, it is merely a choice to enter into the jurisdiction of a preexisting authority; and as JSG says, in the case of marriage it is an irrevocable choice.

  • donalgraeme says:

    You’ve been on a roll lately Zippy. Keep it up.

  • Malcolm suggests that in the case of marriage it is the bride’s consent to marriage which creates the husband’s authority.

    Well, not quite. More like until the mutual agreement that both parties will be part of a marriage exists, there is no “husband” to hold authority in the first place.

    But regardless, good post, and enlightening discussion.

  • SSM,

    Well, I think people get confused because under modern law, a man’s “right to rule” is subject to his wife’s consent.

    To be fair to (ahem) myself, that actually wasn’t what I was thinking of at all. The agreement made isn’t that she only submits to her authority when she wants to. It’s that she submits to his authority.

    That modern women would take this and run with a twisted version of it would hardly be the fault of the contract as it is originally intended.

    I am writing this under the assumption my original post was correct, which I’m not really feeling confident about right about now. The point is only that this line of thought had nothing to do with my original post.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:
    Thanks for stimulating the discussion.

    My take on “authority arises from consent” theories is that they follow the general pattern of weaponized nihilism. Defenders of consent theories equivocate between banal but unobjectionable meanings and problematic ideological meanings.

    Examples of the former include that (e.g.) authority doesn’t exist for the self-serving purposes of the people in authority, that specifics of positive law and formal arrangements arise when men make choices, that jurisdictions are limited and therefore sometimes a person comes to be under a particular authority voluntarily, that governments only endure as a material matter as long as they aren’t overthrown via rebellion or invasion, or that in literally pathological situations (e.g. a widow with no sons to take her in) a woman can end up as head of household.

    Examples of the latter include insinuation that subordinates aren’t obligated to obey authority unless they agree with the authority’s decisions, unless the authority is sufficiently wise or holy, unless the authority continually passes fitness tests prescribed by subordinates, that withdrawal of consent invalidates authority, that authority is possible in the context of an arbitrary right of secession, etc etc.

    Naturally quotes with some antiquity can be found to support banal interpretations, because people like Aquinas and Bellarmine were not imbeciles. Then by force-feeding the interpretation of these through a positive lens, modern Catholics can feel good about themselves while supporting heresies which have been previously quite unequivocally condemned by the Magisterium.

  • Zippy says:

    By the way, for the record, I said the last things I am going to say at W4 on this subject here, here, here, and here.

  • Proph says:

    Put simply, a woman’s consent creates the condition of her subjection to authority, while the authority itself is ordained by God.

  • Ha! The back and forth going on there there is quite interesting indeed, as I look through the comments sections of your posts. I find it all endlessly fascinating regardless. At any rate, I do well get now why you wouldn’t be interested in reading that comments thread.

  • Zippy says:

    Proph:

    Put simply, a woman’s consent creates the condition of her subjection to authority, while the authority itself is ordained by God.

    Pretty much just like the case of the sovereign and an immigrant.

  • Here’s, I think, a good question: Would you believe that a Republic is always an illegitimate form of government if it allows the people to vote for representatives?

    Now, keep in mind that I’m not saying here, necessarily, that a government’s authority HAS to come from the consent of the governed to be legitimate. I am merely proposing that a government has been established in which it is agreed by all parties that the people get to decide through vote who will represent them. Is this an inherently, to use a rather imprecise word, “wrong” form of government?

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:

    Would you believe that a Republic is always an illegitimate form of government if it allows the people to vote for representatives?

    Not at all. Governance structures are just structures. They can be imprudent, even grossly so, in particular contexts. Widespread suffrage tends to be a kind of liturgical reinforcement of liberalism, for example. And most people are too mathematically illiterate to understand what voting (especially mass voting) actually is and is not, by its nature.

    But there is nothing intrinsically wrong with voting, etc.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    An illiberal democracy is possible in theory. However, I seriously doubt we’ll ever see a government which employs mass-market universal suffrage elections to run itself that isn’t radically liberal manifest itself in reality. There certainly haven’t been any yet.

  • Thanks, that clears up a lot of questions about your position for me.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    Malcolm-

    Just to buttress Zippy’s point, the Church has always considered democracy to be a legitimate form of government (see here for the Angelic Doctor’s take: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2105.htm) so long as it is properly ordered. A quick scan of the encyclicals I have linked to will confirm this.

    Indeed, if you read the link above, you will see that St. Thomas Aquinas clearly believed that the optimal government would contain aspects of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    so long as it is properly ordered.

    That’s exactly the problem. We have yet to see one that is. Personally, I think that the medieval Christian monarchies are about as good as it got, and I can’t conceive of a better system on my own. Then again, I’m just some guy.

    The main problem here is the hivemind. So long as all respectable political opinion is liberal opinion – which it is – then we cannot possibly move on from the political mire we’ve been stuck in for the last few hundred years. Any attempt to move away from a liberal style of governance will be met with violent revolution. Of course, that presupposes an attempt to establish an illiberal government in the first place, and we probably wouldn’t even get that far in modern western society.

    To put it simply, before we can move away from Liberalism, we have to somehow convince all of western society that Liberalism is wrong, and I haven’t the foggiest idea of how to even begin accomplishing that task. Even trying to debate it with my fellow Christians is a nightmare. Denouncing freedom and equality may as well be blaspheming flowers, puppies, apple pie, and God. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called a Nazi; I’ve lost track (which is ironic, because Hitler was almost a liberal – he just gave up on the “for all” proceeding “freedom and equality”).

    I have no idea where the rallying point is, but I do know the movement towards it will begin with some disastrous event that demonstrates to the teeming masses beyond any shadow of a doubt just how evil the idea of freedom and equality is. History shows that disaster is the only way to change minds on a global scale.

  • jf12 says:

    Consent to be governed is what creates submission.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ jf12:

    You say that like it’s relevant to whether or not an authority exists in the first place.

  • jf12 says:

    @JustSomeGuy, you say that like it’s relevant to submission.

    Authority does not imply submission. See: e.g. all of recorded history in the Bible.

  • Zippy says:

    It is true enough that, as a management tool, getting people to explicitly agree to abide by the rules helps in terms of getting them to actually obey the rules. That is arguably the main function of voting as an explicit act of subjects: getting people to submit to the legitimacy of the winner (whomever it happens to be) and to the ideological liberalism under which we are ruled.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ jf12:

    Yes, exactly the point. When people disobey God, refuse to submit to His authority, it doesn’t mean God doesn’t actually have authority. Same with any authority.

    My gripe isn’t that you’re wrong – you’re not. My gripe is that you didn’t make any sort of point. You made a statement that may as well be established fact in this corner of the blogoverse – the nature of authority is one of the longest running themes of this blog in particular. You didn’t say anything substantive at all about the OP or even any comment.

    Of course, it’s also not my job to be the content police for Zippy. I opened my mouth because I’m just an insufferable smart alec.

  • jf12 says:

    re: my point. My point is that authoritativeness does not create submissiveness. hence the orderliness in a household in completely unrelated to (and, I would argue, currently negatively correlated with) the legitimacy of the authority of the householder to which other members *ought* to submit. A burglar with a gun is more likely to get proper submission.

    Let me know if you continue to think my point needs additional clarification and/or strengthening.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:
    I don’t know what you mean by “authoritativeness”. You seem to be referring to a psychological state or social style which has nothing in particular to do with authority, other than perhaps some etymological reference to liberal caricature of authority.

  • jf12 says:

    re; A burglar with a gun is more likely to get proper submission.

    You are not permitted to pretend to misunderstand.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:
    If you are just complaining about your home life, well, as JSG suggested that is not really even peripherally on topic.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ jf12:

    Well there you go! That should have been your first comment up the thread a bit. It has content! It has meaning! We can even discuss it! Ooh I’m getting excited.

    hence the orderliness in a household in completely unrelated to (and, I would argue, currently negatively correlated with) the legitimacy of the authority of the householder to which other members *ought* to submit.

    Assuming that those living under the head of the household have disordered wills, sure. Disordered wills are the source of every deliberately committed human evil.

  • jf12 says:

    “I’m in charge” means absolutely nothing. “You’re in charge” means absolutely everything.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:
    You’ve brought a psychological knife to a deontological gunfight.

  • jf12 says:

    @Zippy, you’re sounding positively positivist.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ jf12:

    How many times has that been demonstrated manifestly false in the above thread and OP?

    If I have legitimate authority, I can create moral obligations in those people under my authority. Whether they choose to do as they are obligated or not is independent of my ability to create said obligation.

    A rebellious household is not some kind of ‘special’ evil with unique characteristics. It’s in line with any other choice to disobey legitimate authority, like AWOL soldiers, criminal fugitives, and Protestantism.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    you’re sounding positively positivist.

    How so? You can’t just say that and offer no evidence as to how he’s being positivist.

  • jf12 says:

    I’m in charge.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    I’m in charge.

    Well, it’s not up to me whether you’re in charge of me or not.

  • Zippy says:

    Assuming (despite evidence to the contrary) that jf12 is not simply confused, he can’t be ‘in charge’ under his own account of authority (an account which conflates authority and enforcement); because he isn’t pointing a gun at us.

    Supposedly the fact that jf12 does not actually have any authority here is supposed to demonstrate that his account of authority is true. But it doesn’t do that, because his account of authority is not the only one under which he has none here.

  • jf12 says:

    Authority does not imply submission.

  • Zippy says:

    IOW jf12’s lack of authority is underdetermined: his lack of it can be explained by many different theories, only one of which is the one he advances (and that one has other obvious problems). In typical postmodern fashion he characterizes the situation as dominant narrative backed by force, divorced from any metaphysical deontological reality. And like a good postmodern he ironically levels the charge of positivism at any explanation other than his own.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Authority does not imply submission.

    Yes, we agree. Authority is distinct from power/enforcement. Do you have a point to make?

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:

    Authority does not imply submission.

    Right. You’ve made it to square one.

  • jf12 says:

    I’m glad you agree

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    I guess jf12 is hoping to make his point with snide rather than logic.

  • jf12 says:

    @JSG,as far as I understand Zippy’s definition (or idea) of positivism, it is that a definition (or idea) doesn’t exist in vacuo, disregarding the relationships to other definitions (or ideas). And yet on this subject of authority he seems to pretend authority DOES exist in vacuo, regardless of its obvious relationships to consent, submission,force, etc.

    Which is true, but is positivist anyway.

  • jf12 says:

    correction: Zippy’s *criticism* of positivsim,etc.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:
    You are (trivially) making the postmodern error of presuming that because positivism is false it is impossible to say anything definite.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    And yet on this subject of authority he seems to pretend authority DOES exist in vacuo, regardless of its obvious relationships to consent, submission,force, etc.

    The fact that authority is related to those things doesn’t mean authority is those things. No assertion has been made that authority isn’t related to those things. Your problem is assuming those things are necessary for authority.

  • Zippy says:

    IOW, a postmodern will conclude that because I don’t have a complete formal theory of authority I cannot say anything definite about authority. That’s you, jf12.

  • jf12 says:

    Not at all. I already said you are *definitely* saying something about authority. Positivistically.

  • jf12 says:

    @JSG re: “Your problem is assuming those things are necessary for authority.”

    Incorrect. I already said I believe authority *can* exist in a vacuum. Minde often does, for example.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Not at all. I already said you are *definitely* saying something about authority. Positivistically.

    Except he hasn’t. Your “in vacuo” (I can use fancy Latin too) accusation has already been refuted. Either strengthen it or stuff it.

    Incorrect. I already said I believe authority *can* exist in a vacuum. Minde often does, for example.

    Weren’t you asserting that that’s a positivist way to think about a second ago?

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:

    Not at all. I already said you are *definitely* saying something about authority. Positivistically.

    That is just your incomprehension speaking. If I propose that monkeys are definitely not born from rocks, it doesn’t follow that I have proposed formal theories of all things monkey and all things rock.

    But your comments do provide a good illustration of the positivist-postmodern mind trap in action.

  • Zippy says:

    I am perfectly happy to concede that authority derives from consent to the same extent and with the same relevance as it is true that monkeys are born from rocks.

  • jf12 says:

    I don’t think authority derives from consent. I think *submission* derives from consent, and that authority *cannot* cause submission. Interesting that you evidently feel forced to keep pretending to think I’m saying anything else.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    authority *cannot* cause submission.

    Authority can easily cause submission. I submit to the Catholic Church because of authority, not because of enforcement. I submit to the legitimate laws of my government because of authority, not because of enforcement.

  • jf12 says:

    re: “Authority can easily cause submission.”

    Nope.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Nope.

    I just provided you with a counter example. Your proposal is falsified. Refuted. Wrong. Take your pick.

  • Zippy says:

    At this point I don’t think jf12 actually has a point beyond the tautology that people choose what they choose.

  • jf12 says:

    Nope. It’s the is vs ought problem.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    So… this is your point?

  • jf12 says:

    Yes, that is my point. Which does in fact encompass the fact that authority does not create consent (or submission, or order).

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Which does in fact encompass the fact that authority does not create consent

    It can create consent, but doesn’t always. Doesn’t hardly ever nowadays, unfortunately. I myself am an example of how it can create consent, as detailed above.

  • Zippy says:

    Recognition that an authority is valid can certainly create consent. But it doesn’t work the other way: failure to consent doesn’t invalidate authority.

  • jf12 says:

    Nope. If “A causes B” but only subject to a bunch of voluntary iffiness, like if A is holding his mouth right, and if the Moon is full, and if the wind isn’t too bad, and if B happens to feel like it, then because of that iffiness then A does NOT cause B.

  • jf12 says:

    Recognition that an authority is valid creates rebellion in a person who is determined to be bad.

    Like everyone is, naturally.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    If “A causes B”

    It’s not “A causes B”. It’s “A causes B if”. Potential causes aren’t always causing things as a matter of necessity. Certain conditions have to be met. For example, sulfuric acid can’t cause an explosion without being paired with its buddy nitric acid. That doesn’t mean that – when I detonate my nitroglycerin based dynamite – sulfuric acid isn’t a cause of the explosion.

    In short, just because sulfuric acid isn’t always causing explosions doesn’t mean that sulfuric acid isn’t a cause of explosions. Similarly, just because authority isn’t always causing consent doesn’t mean authority isn’t a cause of consent.

    Just because my resolve to behave morally is another cause of my consent doesn’t mean that the authority isn’t a cause. Combine morality with authority and… boom! You get consent.

    Like everyone is, naturally.

    Um… no. We were created good creatures with a good nature. It was sin that perverted – and continues to pervert – us.

    God saw that it was good, and all that.

  • Gavrila says:

    Zippy, have you considered writing fairytales, poems or parables to convey your thoughts? Form determines content and the splitting up of all your ideas/conclusions into bite-sized intellectual chunks (blog mini-posts) is unfortunate, I think.

    Even using constant cross-referencing with hyper-links, there’s a danger your readers may suffer mental compartmentalisation.

    A large poetic vision to hold all your thoughts simultaneously would have the potential to be eye-openingly clear and complete, since all things are connected.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    JustSomeGuy,
    Your wrote
    “If I have legitimate authority, I can create moral obligations in those people under my authority. Whether they choose to do as they are obligated or not is independent of my ability to create said obligation”

    Now Zippy has been particular that enforcement is an essential part or attribute of a sovereign. That morality has nothing to do with brute force, in fact they are opposite, did not faze him.

    Now, he has also said in this thread that a husband with wife is same as a sovereign with an immigrant.

    So, why would you say that enforcement is not an essential attribute of husband’s natural authority?

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy,
    Why this talk of a woman entering a man’s household?
    Per the Inerrant Bible, the man shall leave his father and his mother and shall join unto his woman.
    That is, the man leaves the paternal household and paternal authority and at once forms a new household with the woman.

    Your analogy is mistaken. The correct analogy is to the ab-initio formation of a political state. The 20C examples being Pakistan and Israel.

    After all, a single woman on her own is naturally the head of her household, equally a single man on his own.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    All the talk of authority here is very loose. There are different kinds of even political authority.

    From Aristotle’s Politics.
    “A man should rule his wife politically, his children monarchically, and his slaves despotically. “

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Rousseau’s theory of political authority is summarized in the first page of Belloc’s French Revolution.

    “The political theory upon which the Revolution proceeded has, especially in this country, suffered ridicule as local, as ephemeral, and as fallacious. It is universal, it is eternal, and it is true.

    It may be briefly stated thus: that a political community pretending to sovereignty, that is, pretending to a moral right of defending its existence against all other communities, derives the civil and temporal authority of its laws not from its actual rulers, nor even from its magistracy, but from itself.”

    That is, sovereignty resides in the community, and not in any particular person. There is NO mention of “consent of the ruled” so Zippy is forever arguing against some inadequate version of liberal political theory.But he ignores Rousseau.
    He also manages to ignore Belloc and Chesterton who were no liberal heretics.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    That is, sovereignty resides in the community, and not in any particular person. There is NO mention of “consent of the ruled” so Zippy is forever arguing against some inadequate version of liberal political theory.

    What do you think “consent of the governed” means?

  • Catholic Economist says:

    Additionally, vishmehr24, if you hold Belloc in such high esteem, you may want to him the justice of not quoting him out of context. A little further down from the passage you quoted is the following:

    He that is most enamored of some set machinery for the government of men, and who regards the sacramental function of an hereditary monarch (as in Russia), the organic character of a native oligarchy (as in England), the mechanical arrangement of election by majorities, or even in a crisis the intense conviction and therefore the intense activity and conclusive power of great crowds as salutary to the State, will invariably, if any one of these engines fail him in the achievement of what he desires for his country, fall back upon the doctrine of an ultimately sovereign community. He will complain that though an election has defeated his ideal, yet true national tradition and true national sentiment were upon his side. If he defends the action of a
    native oligarchy against the leaders of the populace, he does so by an
    explanation (more or less explicit) that the oligarchy is more truly
    national, that is more truly communal, than the engineered expression of
    opinion of which the demagogues (as he will call them) have been the
    mouthpieces. Even in blaming men for criticizing or restraining an
    hereditary monarch the adherent of that monarch will blame them upon the ground that their action is anti-national, that is anti-communal; and,
    in a word, no man pretending to sanity can challenge in matters temporal
    and civil the ultimate authority of whatever is felt to be (though with
    what difficulty is it not defined!) the general civic sense which builds
    up a State.

    Those words “civil” and “temporal” must lead the reader to the next
    consideration; which is, that the last authority of all does not reside
    even in the community.

    It must be admitted by all those who have considered their own nature
    and that of their fellow beings that the ultimate authority in any act
    is God.

    If you understand what is being said by Zippy and others at all, you will see that there is no conflict whatsoever between them and Belloc…

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Catholic Economist,
    Zippy has never owned a belief, to my best knowledge, that sovereignty descends from God to the political community.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy, in speaking of “natural law authority of an unmarried man over his
    household” even before there is an household to speak of, is making the same move as he did while speaking of political authority without any reference to the political community in which this authority might reside.

    This move is, perhaps, convenient in the same way division by zero is –to derive all sorts of startling conclusions.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Political authority, as the word “political” itself indicates, is the claim a polis, that is, a political community, makes upon an individual.

    It can only be said to exist in a polis. And polis exists by nature. People spontaneously form themselves into a political community.

    Similarly, Private Property is the claim that the individual makes upon the polis.

    This claim can only be said to exist in a polis.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    After all, a single woman on her own is naturally the head of her household, equally a single man on his own.

    Is this the traditional ordering of things or a modern invention? From what I understand, in most cultures single, unmarried women remained under the authority of their father.

    Zippy, in speaking of “natural law authority of an unmarried man over his household” even before there is an household to speak of, is making the same move as he did while speaking of political authority without any reference to the political community in which this authority might reside.

    Suppose that you and I agree that a particular king is just and moreover we agree that he is the legitimate authority in a nation. Now further suppose that he is wrongfully usurped by the populace and currently resides in exile. Do you believe that this king retains his authority to rule or do you contend that it has been lost?

    This move is, perhaps, convenient in the same way division by zero is –to derive all sorts of startling conclusions.

    Except it isn’t division by zero, its division by one.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “in most cultures single, unmarried women remained under the authority of their father.”
    So do unmarried men. In fact, saving Western Christians, the joint or extended family is the norm. So, the household authority resides in the eldest male, not any male.

    “he is wrongfully usurped by the populace”
    Well, if he is “wrongfully usurped” as you posit, then of course he retains the authority. The question really is, is usurpation wrong per se or can there be a case of a rightful usurpation.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    So do unmarried men. In fact, saving Western Christians, the joint or extended family is the norm. So, the household authority resides in the eldest male, not any male.

    I’m not sure that this technically true the way you intend it to be. Most cultures have some type of manhood ritual whereby a boy becomes a man. Personally, I think a working definition of a man (relative to a boy) as “a male who is deemed capable of establishing an independent household” isn’t too terrible. Thus, upon reaching adulthood, single men have a God-given authority over themselves (a household of one) and any potential family members (e.g. wife, children) that may result from a marriage.

    Of course this doesn’t change the fact that any son or younger brother may still owe some level of filial devotion toward their elder males, it merely asserts that upon becoming a man they gain the autonomy to produce and raise a family of their own.

    Well, if he is “wrongfully usurped” as you posit, then of course he retains the authority. The question really is, is usurpation wrong per se or can there be a case of a rightful usurpation.

    While the question you pose is interesting, it is tangential to the point that is being discussed in this post. So if you believe that the just king retains his authority, where does the authority reside given that the “political community” rejects it?

  • Catholic Economist says:

    And polis exists by nature. People spontaneously form themselves into a political community.

    This seems to be a mighty big assertion on your part. While you criticize Zippy for presupposing authority absent a polis, I think it is equally difficult to imagine that people form a body politic absent some type of authority structure in place. I mean how does any political entity come into existence without some type of leadership in place first, be it a patriarch, council of elders, etc.?

  • Zippy says:

    It is commonplace historically, up until last Tuesday, for young men to establish themselves before taking a wife (read the “Little House” books, for crying out loud), so the objection that a single man (does this include a widower with children?) has no household and no authority before a woman’s arrival magically makes it into a household is more than a little precious. And the objection that not all men do this in precisely the same way in every culture, and that modern feminism insists that single men and single women are the same, is one of those banal observations in the dance of weaponized nihilism that I was telling Malcolm about upthread.

  • jf12 says:

    re: households. Widowsare not under the authority of any (Romans 7:2). Which, btw, is not an awesome comeback to a rebellious wife “You’re acting as if I were already dead!”

  • jf12 says:

    @JSG, continuing in Romans 7, we see “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

    Our *natural* carnal natures are predisposed to sin and rebellion. Correct your thinking.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:
    I have no idea what specific points you are arguing with. Why don’t you try citing someone’s actual words, and point out your specific objection to those specific words? Because I have the impression that you are just talking to yourself, since your words don’t seem offhand to address anything that anyone actually said.

  • jf12 says:

    re: reasoning about conditional causality. “Marxism causes everlasting joy, IF everyone always does their part.”

  • jf12 says:

    re: recap. I could smell in this topic the stench of “some people” ‘s latent belief (and heresy) that authority causes submission. To make it materialize I first commmented merely that “Consent to be governed is what creates submission.” I was then argued *with*.

  • Zippy says:

    So to recap:
    jf12 trolls a conversation with straw men, apparently deliberately, and folks who make the mistake of taking him seriously – who charitably interpret his comments as possibly intended to be actually relevant to the subject – thereby prove his point. Whatever it was, but it definitely both was and wasn’t what we discussed months ago in the submission is mandatory / submission is voluntary thread.

  • jf12 says:

    JSG: “Authority can easily cause submission.”
    Zippy: “Recognition that an authority is valid can certainly create consent.”

    Like I said, it was easy to smell.

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:

    Like I said, it was easy to smell.

    Something stinks, to be sure. I think it is the suggestion that people actually addressing the substance of your off topic rants implies that your trolling was on topic.

    It is in fact true (though distinct from the subject matter of the post) that legitimate authority sometimes causes submission. You deny this – including denial of an actual factual counterexample upthread – by denying (salted with self-congratulatory snideness) that effects can be generated by several contributory causes:

    Nope. If “A causes B” but only subject to a bunch of voluntary iffiness, like if A is holding his mouth right, and if the Moon is full, and if the wind isn’t too bad, and if B happens to feel like it, then because of that iffiness then A does NOT cause B.

    But effects are generated by multiple contributory causes all the time. Nobody has suggested that the existence of legitimate authority is always and everywhere a sufficient cause of submission. Quite the contrary. In order for you to be wrong about your own off-topic rant, it just has to be the case that sometimes the assertion of legitimate authority causes submission. And sometimes it does, in fact.

    So as I said, trolling, straw men, and snide self-congratulation precisely because commenters had the temerity to attempt to read you charitably and take your comments seriously.

  • Alte says:

    My point is just that marriage – the consent of a woman – is not where a man’s authority over his household comes from.

    Yes. His basic authority over the household is there as soon as the household is created/claimed, and is independent of the nature of his relationship with a particular occupant.

    I’m just thinking that the nature and scope of his authority over a particular member of his household would depend upon the agreement made when they enter the house. If they don’t make a formal agreement, then it can get very messy.

    So, if she goes and lives with a male relative, the relationship will have a different nature than if she goes and lives with a virile man who isn’t related by blood or marriage. The marriage covenant, adoption or guardianship papers, work contracts, etc. used to clarify this before she entered the house. Now, it’s all left intentionally vague, with people sleeping under the same roof in all sorts of murky situations. The sexual relationship is purposefully undefined, to keep all later options open, which leads to chaos. Coed roomates, cohabiting, sleeping over regularly at a “best friend” of the opposite sex’s place, coed traveling and camping, coed business trips with shared rooms, etc. The uncommented sexual tension makes it more “fun and exciting”, but in the end, it’s in men’s nature to feel in possession of whichever young woman is currently enjoying his equally-uncommented protection and provision, and the girls are playing with fire.

    So, I wasn’t disagreeing, but expanding upon your original point. His authority should be formally clarified and is not limited to the four walls of his home.

  • Alte says:

    Put simply, a woman’s consent creates the condition of her subjection to authority, while the authority itself is ordained by God.

    Is this accurately phrased? Her consent seems more to simply expand the scope of his authority. There’s a sort of natural ranking (guest, friend, relative, concubine, wife) that determines what his authority will be like over a member of his household, but his most basic authority exists automatically over all of them as soon as they enter his personally-controlled territory. Regardless of her consent. Otherwise, they are not a household member, but a burglar, invader, or other enemy of his state.

    That’s what I mean about confusion. She’s there as a guest, but leaves the vague impression that there might be “more” on offer, at the same time that she keeps hold of the “I’m just here to sleep, you creep” card to hedge her bets. Or she’s living with him like a mistress, gets pregnant, and then demands he support the child financially even if he does not marry her. That sort of thing. Women, especially, eschew contracts because they like to keep their options open. The appearance of a muddle appeals to them, but there is no muddle. You have sex only with wives, not with guests. Mistresses’ children are theirs alone. And etc.

  • Zippy says:

    Alte:
    Good comments.

    So, I wasn’t disagreeing, but expanding upon your original point. His authority should be formally clarified and is not limited to the four walls of his home.

    That’s true, but the limitations of formal clarification have to be kept in mind. As a practical matter most of these things are worked out by unwritten social conventions, and only need to be made explicit when they differ significantly from social conventions and expectations.

    Of course modernity has attempted to do away with all that tyrannical discriminatory social convention stuff: thus the explosion of explicit legalism.

  • Alte says:

    After all, a single woman on her own is naturally the head of her household

    Not actually. They used to assign women male guardians to deal with such cases, or the woman had to get a special writ.

  • Alte says:

    Yes, that worked well back when social conventions carried the weight of common law. Now it’s all just a big mess.

  • Alte says:

    Widows are not under the authority of any (Romans 7:2).

    Nice try, but it actually says, “2 Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning the husband.” — RSV, but Luther’s 1545 version in German is identical

    She is clearly not unbound from all temporal male authority, other than to the particular man who is now deceased.

    A woman without a defined male guardian tended to get raped, robbed, or starved to death, so it has always been in women’s interests to not be “Freiwild”. Woman-headed households are therefore unnatural and require draconian police and welfare states to imitate a male guardian. States which are themselves unnatural and therefore especially prone to collapse.

  • jf12 says:

    Is vs ought. Thevast majority widows were NEVER under male guardianship, even though some may think they “ought” to have been.

  • jf12 says:

    Especially where legal status depended primarily upon property rights, which is most places, a widow aquired legal standing as an individual upon her husband’s death. Both for economic trade, and usually also politically too.

    FWIW the Hebrew concept of widow, supposedly, means “without male guardian”.

  • Zippy says:

    I already discussed widowhood way upthread, in reply to Malcolm. Brought it up myself. It does not undermine the point I made in the OP in the slightest.

    Granting that women are sometimes – in literally pathological situations – head of household does not change the pertinent points here: 1) a man has authority over his household, and 2) in marriage, a woman immigrates into her husband’s household and she – and any prior household or property over which she was head – become subject to his preexisting authority. If an entire family immigrates, the entire family becomes subject to the sovereign of the community into which it immigrated.

    Note: “household” does not refer to a literal building. A man can head a nomadic household, for example.

  • jf12 says:

    The woman’s dependency status upon marriage is entirely consensual.

  • That has always been true, though. “Widow” didn’t necessarily mean the husband was dead. And many women returned to their families with unconsummated marriages.

  • GK Chesterton says:

    a bride decides by (mutual) consent to become part of the groom’s household and place herself under his authority.

    So in an arranged marriage, say that of Esther of the Hebrews, the king had no authority over her since her marriage was arranged and she could not properly give consent? Authority arises because of the Creator of the institution. I have authority because of He who made me. On my own I don’t have any.

    2) in marriage, a woman immigrates into her husband’s household and she – and any prior household or property over which she was head – become subject to his preexisting authority. If an entire family immigrates, the entire family becomes subject to the sovereign of the community into which it immigrated.

    She may come into that situation without consent (despite non-binding teaching to the contrary). Just like I could be sold in slavery and have to obey.

    @Alte,

    Nice try, but it actually says, “2 Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning the husband.” — RSV, but Luther’s 1545 version in German is identical

    And yes good catch there. I hate when people mangle that.

  • Zippy says:

    GKC:
    Natural marriages (which includes all Old Testament marriages) are different in the essentials from sacramental marriages. Merely natural marriage is not possible when both spouses are baptized; sacramental marriage is not possible when one or both spouses are not baptized: so they are mutually exclusive. And the matter of the sacrament of matrimony is mutual free consent to marriage.

  • Alte says:

    I don’t think consent is required in an Eastern Orthodox marriage, and those are also sacramental.

  • Zippy says:

    According to the laws, let the consent alone suffice for those whose union is in question; and if, by chance, this consent alone is lacking in the marriage, everything else is in vain, even if solemnized by intercourse itself, as attested to by the great Doctor John Chrysostom, who said: “What makes a marriage is not intercourse, but the will.” — Pope Nicholas I, Ad consulta vestra, November 13, 866 AD, (quoted in Denzinger)

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “Authority is the capacity to create moral obligations”

    A person, by virtue of existing, creates a moral obligation on others not to murder him, Thus. any person has authority over any other person.

    Thus, wives have authority over husbands, and children have authority over their parents.

    This is advantage of division by zero. One can prove anything.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy,
    Your analogy that a woman immigrates into her husband’s household by marriage is just an analogy, not a dogma that must be accepted.

    You might consider the alternative analogy that the State of Household is ab-initio created by marriage. Are your conclusions strongly dependent upon the analogies and metaphors employed? If so, the conclusions are suspect.

  • Zippy says:

    That human authority creates specific moral obligations does not imply that every moral obligation is an exercise of human authority.

  • Zippy says:

    You might consider the alternative analogy that the State of Household is ab-initio created by marriage.

    That doesn’t comport with the facts though. Guests or wards of the household of a single person are subject to house rules, so it isn’t marriage that creates a household.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy,
    But why it is the woman that must migrate to her husband’s.
    Bible does not say so. It says that the man leaves his parents to join with woman. There is no idea of anybody migrating or immigrating.
    It comports entirely with my analogy to ab-initio formation of a new state.

    The analogizing to guests etc is positivistic. Guest comes to stay, likewise wife moves in. They are not even remotely the same.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy,
    “it isn’t marriage that creates a household.”
    You are equivocating on household.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    You are equivocating on household.

    Don’t make assertions without evidence. Explain how Zippy is supposedly equivocating.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    But why it is the woman that must migrate to her husband’s. Bible does not say so. It says that the man leaves his parents to join with woman. There is no idea of anybody migrating or immigrating.

    The Bible does not positivistically relate all of natural law.

    I would argue that the bible does in fact support the husband as head-of-household, but it’s not necessary to even go that far in the first place to refute, “The bible doesn’t say this, so it must not be true.”

    Guest comes to stay, likewise wife moves in. They are not even remotely the same.

    In regards to authority, they differ only in one respect:

    A guest’s choice to join the household is revocable. Indeed it is understood from the get-go to be temporary.

    A wife’s choice to join the household is irrevocable. Indeed it is understood from the get-go to be permanent.

    They are both under the head-of-household’s authority for the duration of their stay. The difference is said duration of stay.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    JustSomeGuy,
    The headship of husband is not in debate. The analogy that Zippy made that being married (for a woman) is like immigration is in debate.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    The headship of husband is not in debate. The analogy that Zippy made that being married (for a woman) is like immigration is in debate.

    The latter logically flows from the former, as Zippy has demonstrated. If the husband’s authority isn’t spirated by the consent of the wife, it must be pre-existent.

  • Alte says:

    Oh, okay. I was confused because they don’t exchange vows.

    2. Vows are not exchanged in the Orthodox Wedding Service

    . . .inspired by the Latin marriage rite, where the ‘consent’ of the bridal pair is seen as an essential ‘formula’ of marriage, whose ‘ministers’ are the bridegroom and bride themselves. . .In Orthodoxy, however, the meaning of the marriage crowning is to integrate the bridal pair into the mystery of Christ’s love for the Church: their consent is unquestionably required as a condition, but it is not the very content of the sacrament.” (Marriage An Orthodox Perspective p.35)

  • jf12 says:

    Re: consent, intercourse, and marriage. Marriage is the physical union of a man and a woman becoming one flesh through intercourse. And forced intercourse does not induce marriage. So the consent to intercourse is the agreement to marriage and all that it entails, which includes the ordering of authority in the marriage.

  • CJ says:

    So the consent to intercourse is the agreement to marriage and all that it entails,

    I’ve seen this advocated by some Protestants, but it certainly isn’t the Catholic teaching on sacramental marriage. Not sure if it’s even enough for natural marriage in Catholic teaching.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:
    There are all sorts of false ideas – ideas in direct conflict with thousands of years of Christian understanding of Christian scriptures and doctrine – about ‘marriage’ floating around in the sola scripturasphere.

    I don’t know what else we should expect. Whatever may be the case about the abuses used to justify protestant rebellion, the foundations of the rebellion itself were 1) rolling your own doctrines from scripture and 2) divorce / polygamy.

  • jf12 says:

    The “one flesh” doctrines are based on natural law dating from Adam and Eve, as well as extremely clear Old Testament rules (e.g. you have sex, then you’re married; you rape, you aren’t married), as well as New Testament principles (e.g. *reasons* given for not engaging in fornication, harlotry, etc.)

  • Zippy says:

    jf12:
    You can feel free to argue with your fellow sola scriptura protestants over that.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy –

    Yep. In addition to intercourse=marriage, polygamy and the impossibility of marital rape seem to be popular with non-denominational manosphere types.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Honestly, I understand how SS types can get confused about the relationship between the marital act – which is a sacramental when performed virtuously – and marriage itself.

    But… polygamy? Really?

    There’s…

    And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

    – Deuteronomy 17

    And…

    But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

    – 1 Corinthians 7

    How do you misinterpret these to believe they allow for polygamy?

  • Zippy says:

    JSG:
    If you have the patience for it, here is an example (a guest post at Sunshine Mary’s now-dormant blog) of a sola scriptura protestant arguing that (1) a husband’s authority over his wife (wives) has no limit and (2) taking on additional wives is a licit instrument of the husband’s control: if his first wife won’t do what he commands, he may not be allowed to get rid of her but he may bring on more wives.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy –

    I tried to give it a go but I couldn’t hang when he argued that Romans permits Sapphic action.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    JustOneGuy,
    Zippy has demonstrated nothing but made inapplicable analogies.
    It would have been sufficient to say that husband has headship over wife.
    No need whatsoever to make dubious and circular analogies.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Zippy has demonstrated nothing but made inapplicable analogies.
    It would have been sufficient to say that husband has headship over wife.
    No need whatsoever to make dubious and circular analogies.

    So…..

    You don’t have a problem with the content, but merely with the way it’s expressed?

    No analogy is perfect. To say an analogy gives you a comprehensive breakdown of a concept is positivist. After all, not even formal definitions can give you a comprehensive breakdown of a concept – saying they can is also positivist. However, both formal definitions and analogies are useful for bringing about understanding of a concept.

    Understanding the limitations of analogies is part of understanding analogies altogether. It seems to me that you’re unhappy with Zippy’s analogies because they don’t give positivist breakdowns of the situations they describe. However, no analogy does that. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful to help bring about understanding within a certain limited scope.

    Getting married is not joining the army, but drawing an analogy between the irrevocability of the choice to join up is useful for bringing about an understanding. It also doesn’t imply that you can order your wife into battle like a general.

  • Zippy says:

    Whatever may be said of the various analogies in the thread, we know that vishmehr24’s proposal that a
    household and concomitant authority don’t exist until marriage is false — because concrete examples of households definitely not created by marriage exist.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    concrete examples of households definitely not created by marriage exist.

    Allow me to give an example or two, so that no one can try to deny this assertion by waving their hands around.

    When my best friends die in a car-crash leaving their child an orphan, I take him in by myself. The household made up of me and my new adoptee was not created by marriage.

    When I move into a tiny apartment in the city hoping to make it big and follow my dreams, the household made up of just me myself and I in my ratty apartment is no less a household than the OT judge Gideon with his many wives and 70+ sons.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Household is equivocal. Male headship isnt and does not require help from householder analogy.

    Households may be headed by males or females. A household of women alone is still a household. Male headship over his wife is precise.

    Zippy’s further problem is being vague about various types of authority. Even in politics, one has political rule, monarchical rule and despotic rule.
    Each denoting a different relation between the ruler and the ruled.

    But here what goes is” An authority is an authority, be it civil or military or Nazi or husband or king or householder”. It is positivistic to demand precision.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Household is equivocal.

    How so?

    Male headship isnt and does not require help from householder analogy.

    It’s not an analogy. The husband is the head because he has authority over his household – which includes his wife.

    Households may be headed by males or females.

    “may”

    But here what goes is” An authority is an authority, be it civil or military or Nazi or husband or king or householder”. It is positivistic to demand precision.

    Glad you understand. However, on the off-chance that you’re being sarcastic and don’t actually agree, let me explain a little.

    An authority is the capacity to create specific moral obligations. There are certain moral obligations which you cannot create with certain kinds of authority.

    A husband cannot order his wife into battle like a general orders his soldier, and a general cannot order his soldier to take care of his children like a husband orders his wife.

    It is not positivist to recognize the distinct kinds of relationships revolving around the distinct kinds of authority. It is positivist to make an appeal to an incomplete definition: “lacking a formalized theory of all possible sources of authority, this authority must not exist.”

    Understanding this, I have a question. How exactly has Zippy been “vague about various types of authority”?

    Also, just because I’m a nitpicker, I’d like to point out that despotic authority is a contradiction in terms. Tyranny is enforcement with a false pretense of authority; there is no actual authority.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “The husband is the head because he has authority over his household – which includes his wife.”

    I wonder if Zippy agrees with the precision of this statement.

    I never understood why and how, on these reasoning, husband is not to be regarded as an immigrant into the wife’s household. Zippy never deigns to answer. Nor will he answer the analogy that the married household is formed when a man marries his wife.

    Zippy equivocates because a married household is one thing and an unmarried household is another. By no means, an unmarried man’s authority over his chattels, servants, dogs, guests, etc etc could be carried over to imply a slightest bit of authority over his wife, when he gets one.

    The headship is a premise coming from Bible.

    I ask Zippy to prove it, instead of indefinitely repeating the said analogy.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    I never understood why and how, on these reasoning, husband is not to be regarded as an immigrant into the wife’s household.

    No one new is coming under the wife’s authority. Someone new is coming under the husband’s authority. The husband is not coming under anyone’s authority. The wife is coming under someone’s authority.

    In the process of immigration, the immigrant is the person coming under a new authority.

    By no means, an unmarried man’s authority over his chattels, servants, dogs, guests, etc etc could be carried over to imply a slightest bit of authority over his wife, when he gets one.

    Except that’s exactly what’s implied. The reason he has authority over his chattels, servants, dogs, guests, etcetera is because they’re a part of his household. The reason he has authority over his wife – when he gets one – is because she’s part of his household.

    Keep in mind that a household is not limited to a physical place. Roving gypsies still have households.

    The headship is a premise coming from Bible.

    And also from natural law.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “No one new is coming under the wife’s authority. ”

    Why? Why the asymmetry?. A man joins with his wife: symmetrical relation.

    Suppose a man marries while living in the paternal household (no violation of natural law, I believe). So is his wife under his headship or not?
    Or is she under his father’s?

  • Silly Interloper says:

    vishmehr24
    Zippy equivocates because a married household is one thing and an unmarried household is another.

    I don’t think you understand what equivocation means. A married household versus an unmarried household is merely a change of a household’s range. Equivocation uses ambiguous language that often changes from one essential meaning to a different essential meaning. There’s nothing ambiguous about Zippy’s meaning, and there’s no change in the essence of a household. So this continuous harping on Zippy’s “equivocation” is ignorant.

    I think part of your problem might be that you might be saying a household and a man’s authority are exactly the same thing. That’s clearly no how the rest of us are using it, so verifying whether or not that is how you mean it might help clarify your position and the discussion. A household as the rest of English-speaking humanity mean it, entails a group of people–usually family–living together as a unit. The *head* of the household is an attribute of that unit, it is not the definition of the unit.

  • Silly Interloper says:

    Suppose a man marries while living in the paternal household (no violation of natural law, I believe). So is his wife under his headship or not? Or is she under his father’s?

    It’s really quite simple, and it’s hard to understand why you are making it difficult for yourself. There is a hierarchy involved here. Obviously the patriarch is the head of his household, and the subunit the newly married man and his wife are subject to his authority as long as they are there. The groom is still the head of his subunit whether he stays or not.

    What’s hard about that?

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    @ vishmehr:

    Silly Interloper already answered your second point very well, so I’ll answer;

    Why? Why the asymmetry?. A man joins with his wife: symmetrical relation.

    If you’d like to debate political equality (politics among an immediate family is still politics), this blog has well and truly trampled that topic into the ground already. If you’re asking why it’s the husband who is the head and not the wife, it’s because sacred scripture, sacred tradition, natural law, and even utilitarian logic all say so.

  • Zippy says:

    Silly Interloper:

    What’s hard about that?

    It would be remote psychologizing to try to say what is hard about it for a specific person. But for modern people generally, true hierarchy is an alien landscape. For example what many manosphere/NRx types seem to mean by “patriarchy” is actually liberalism for men, but not for women. It isn’t like they passionately evangelize respect and deference to their own actual fathers.

    And of course that patriarchy-lite liberalism is more or less what we already had in the US for a century or so before the suffragette/feminist movement, and there is a reason why it didn’t stick the first time: because that kind of faux “patriarchy” wasn’t repentance from liberalism, it was an unprincipled exception. Feminism was just the natural movement of that liberal faux-patriarchy toward elimination of its most glaring violations of freedom and equal rights.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    One can say that wife enters husband’s household and not vice-versa ONLY because of one’s prior conviction of male headship.

    Male headship is prior (a moral premise, I said) and is not derivable.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Male headship is prior (a moral premise, I said) and is not derivable.

    If you expect positivist verification for every premise you accept ever, sure. Because positivism is false, you can accuse literally any argument of begging the question if you just poke at it long enough. It’s this property of positivism that leads to postmodernism: “There’s no such thing as a non-question-begging argument, so definite knowledge is impossible in principle.”

    The problem is that postmodernism denies natural, self-evident premises. For example, I technically cannot prove that gravity exists without begging the question about things like “our senses provide accurate information” or “mathematics is a reliable tool for modeling reality”. Those things are premises that I cannot prove within the formal theory of gravity. However, it is ludicrous to deny gravity exists.

    You’ll see people being selectively postmodernist about things they don’t want to believe all the time. The atheistic “God of The Gaps” fallacy is a good example. Within a sealed system of formal logic, God of The Gaps is a valid argument. The problem is that a sealed system of formal logic cannot accurately model all of reality, because positivism.

    Male headship – like gravity – is a natural, self-evident premise, but if you poke at it enough you can accuse it of begging the question.

    I’m perfectly willing to concede that the premise of male headship is just as illogical as the premise of existent gravitational forces.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    And who has been trying to derive male headship?

    You have been claiming to derive male headship over his wife from some more fundamental principle:
    “The husband is the head because he has authority over his household – which includes his wife.”
    This is what you wrote.
    When I gave the example of a man marrying while living under paternal household, you ignore it.

    The allegations of positivism, postmodernism etc etc are incoherent and make no sense whatsoever.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    You have been claiming to derive male headship over his wife from some more fundamental principle:
    “The husband is the head because he has authority over his household – which includes his wife.”
    This is what you wrote.

    It’s not a more fundamental principal. It is the principal. I’ve done no deriving about male headship at all.

    When I gave the example of a man marrying while living under paternal household, you ignore it.

    Silly Interloper refuted you on that point, so I didn’t feel the need to do so as well. If you think that’s a counter example, then you don’t understand the hierarchical nature of authority.

    The allegations of positivism, postmodernism etc etc are incoherent and make no sense whatsoever.

    If that’s what you think, then you haven’t understood them.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    When I gave the example of a man marrying while living under paternal household, you ignore it.

    No, actually, Silly Interloper and myself have both answered this “objection” upthread. To have a criticism of our position is one thing, but to simply deny that it hasn’t been addressed is lunacy.

  • Catholic Economist says:

    Just for your edification:

    Silly:

    It’s really quite simple, and it’s hard to understand why you are making it difficult for yourself. There is a hierarchy involved here. Obviously the patriarch is the head of his household, and the subunit the newly married man and his wife are subject to his authority as long as they are there. The groom is still the head of his subunit whether he stays or not

    Me:

    Of course this doesn’t change the fact that any son or younger brother may still owe some level of filial devotion toward their elder males, it merely asserts that upon becoming a man they gain the autonomy to produce and raise a family of their own

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