The unwelcome feeling of authority is an exhilarating philosophical matter worth examination despite a feel of counterintuition, anxiety, or guilt.
Since: a) an initial 2014 read, “The Problem of Political Authority” by Michael Huemer (1969 – present), an American Philosophy Professor,
b) several years reading EconLog articles written by Bryan Douglas Caplan (1971- present), an American economist,
c) and with my therapist, Dr. Gail S. Bach guiding me through integration while also explaining psychological studies and concepts related to self-control and psychological maturity,
it’s with emotional hesitation I admit that – while I have yet to subscribe to the idea of “Anarchy” – there’s a secrete part of me that gets totally excited when I read materials of YEA attitudes supporting “Anarcho-Capitalism.”
Robert Nozick (1938-2002), a significant political philosopher within the Anglo-American analytic tradition once claimed that the most basic question of political philosophy is: Why not anarchy? Many contemporary political philosophers often pose this question when they intend to demonstrate that there is – indeed – a good philosophical reason as to why the government should exist.
I’m not gonna lie, too often I simply take for granted that “The State” and its vast coerce of apparatus is morally justified. In many ways during occasions where there’s no excitement I can be quite the sheep. And I tend to think that anarchy is both a practically untenable and morally undesirable mode of social association.
However, for some time I’ve been wrestling with deep childhood trauma that has brought rise to consider my earliest relationships with government services and government agents. My therapist and I have observed many central themes, one dealing with my ambivalence to moral theories drawn from early unjust childhood experience and my current appetites and emotions therein.
On several occasions, Dr. Gail Bach reminded me of the mechanics of Social Psychologist Stanley Milgram‘s research on the effect of authority on obedience: a well-known experiment involving respondents being told the experiment would study the effects of punishment on learning ability. A controversial use and an even more controversial outcome of “teachers” asked to administer increased electric shock delivery to “learners.”
With moments of reflection on the idea of authority suffices to see how curious an idea (simply stated) it is: To have authority is to have a right to create moral obligations in others simply by issuing them commands, and a corresponding right to coerce others when they fail to comply with one’s commands. It seems then a puzzling phenomenon: presumption that government can claim to be able to make the case that you and I are morally required to do things simply by the fact that it told us to do them. Moreover, the government claims the moral right to imprison and/or punish you or I for failing to do what it says.
The author of “The Problem of Political Authority” and persons with other academic backgrounds (my earliest studied and deepest understanding of adaptive systems and economics via John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice), called on to me to revisit the “Concept of Authority” from the lens of moral theory and epistemology, meaning the investigation of the theory of knowledge by way of methods, validity, and scope to deceiver or distinguish justified beliefs from opinions. These scholars, too, have explored a puzzling phenomenon to conclude that in fact there’s too much willingness to resign self-responsibility to illegitimate “Authority.”
The methodological analogy commitment of the philosopher to “Anarcho-Capitalism, the concept of “Mutualism” brought by the economist, and the humanistic psychotherapy apportioned by my therapist, all acting as my vanguard to political philosophy based on common-sense morality. That’s not to say I’m merely passive in mind as this group of individuals leads me to new developments or ideas. Hardly the case.
I know I’m appropriating materials each academic professional places onto the universe with me taking the role of orchestrator: consuming, observing, and integrating for self imaginativeness and growth.
Relying on my appeal of common moral intuition of philosophical, economic, political, and psychological references allows me to START exploring assumed government authority.
To Be Continued…
Reference To Post:
Huemer, Michael. “The Problem of Political Authority.” http://spot.colorado.edu/~huemer/1.htm Accessed January 2017
Finnis, John. “Aquinas’ Moral, Political, and Legal Philosophy.” First published Fri Dec 2, 2005; substantive revision Thu Feb 23, 2017. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aquinas-moral-political/ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed March 2017
Nozick, Robert. ” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, November 2002: Volume 76, Issue 2.” https://www.princeton.edu/~tkelly/Nozick.pdf
Davis, John. “Rawlsian Individuals: Justice, Experiments, and Complexity.” Published Version. Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 46, No. 3 (September 2012): 729-743. https://www.routledge.com/posts/8417?acr=jei Accessed January 2017