The New Law, the New World Order, and the Cultural Revolution
By Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado
II. Function and Sacral Character of Authority
"You would have no power over me had
it not been given to you from above"
John XIX - 11
To exercise authority is to serve; not get served from it, from its function, from its power, from its ability to sacrifice the general interest in favor of unspeakable purposes. This principle we find glossed by Argentinian poet Leopoldo Marechal, but is ridiculed ad nauseam these days
If you are offered a post where you are conspicuous
accept it by reason of your merit alone
look ahead to the fruits you will give to your people
if an elm tree you are, refuse as a pear tree to serve
otherwise you'll become just a counterfeit pear tree
aside from becoming a dishonest elm.
Or by Saint Exupery in his posthumous work, Citadelle, in which he impugns the attitude so frequently endured by the peoples at the hand of the holders of power who serve of it themselves to satisfy their vanities and whims, and to promote their own business enterprises or those of their relatives.
Positions and functions of high rank do tempt
with the ever defenseless public gold
or with the glitter of an investiture.
Joseph, don't put your hands ever on monies
which to your laudable virtue are entrusted...
And regarding the glitter on you imposed,
with coldness and indifference you'll carry
as who out of obligation has to don
a frac of persnickety decorum...
Such is the moral justification of authority; that's what it exists for, its limits are not capricious; if authority is made an instrument to attain other ends, it loses its legitimacy and credibility. Little does it matter whether its origin is legitimate if it is not ordered to the common good. Its misuse is the reason why rebellion against constituted autorities proliferates ever more these days. In face of this, subordinates distrust authority to such an extent, that an eagerness to prevaricate by anyone who holds an investiture is presumed until the contrary is proven, and unfortunately this is what happens now in contemporary society, in the public and the private spheres, there is no institution, no matter how respectable it may be, that can keep safe from this stigma,
And why? Why such a panorama? What is the cause?
Multiple explanations we find every day; from those who claim the inexorable emerging of a new morality which has nothing to do with that of our elders, to economy-centered explanations of social facts, passing through a multifarious libertarian fundamentalism which ends up erecting man as a subject of absolute rights.
Hazarding being accused of being a neo-Taliban fundamentalist, I have always believed that the loss of the sacral sense of authority is the only cause of its collapse. This loss is why those who exercise it believe that nothing limits them, but only their whim, their interest; how easy it is to prevaricate in such a way, and because of that, those who owe obedience see only unbearable arbitrariness in its exercise. That all authority comes from God as its supreme source is one thing, and a very different one is that its origin be an opinion poll. An authority based only on the threat of coaction, and which does not obligate in conscience is doomed to undergo perpetual disobedience; when duty is not lived as ethical or sacred, when it is considred just a hypothetical imperative, it is obeyed only before the presence of the police, and it is infringed whenever impunity seems to be certain. In vain will we make any efforts to reestablish order, any order, if we refuse to recognize to the author of order, to Him who told us "I am the way, the truth and the life", His kingship over consciences, over society, over law, over the State, over morals. In intellectual life, and in social life.
(to be continued)