Read the title to this essay one more time.
I asked you to do this because it is very important to understand; and it is also important to understand that for all the words of this essay, it really is that simple, and it really does come back to that basic point.
Truth can never serve under the auspices of authority.
What does this mean?
Well, it means precisely what it says. Truth does not serve, nor can it it serve, authority. And this is because the two concepts are antipodal. They are entirely opposite. One, truth, is reasonable. The other, authority, is violence…and violence by its very nature rejects reason because once it is injected there is no more discussion–for discussion ultimately becomes moot. And once discussion is moot there is nothing left to talk about. And naturally if there is nothing left to talk about then reason, which uses concepts, which uses words, is irrelevant.
Let me put it another way, this time in the form of a question:
Is appealing to authority the same thing as appealing to truth?
The answer of course is “no”. And this is because truth and authority are entirely difference concepts, and, again, I aver that they are antipodal concepts. If we attempt to integrate them we are attempting to integrate complete opposites. To say that authority can incorporate truth on the practical level (like, say, in the neo-Reformed, neo-Calvinist Church) is like saying that left can incorporate right or that up can incorporate down on the practical level. It’s a logical impossibility simply because one is considered the very opposite of the other. That is, practically realized, if we empirically observe one we cannot, at the same time, observe the other from our frame of reference.
In the same way, no one can appeal to their authority whilst claiming to wield that authority by being in possession of truth. This is because truth cannot be a function of authority, and vice versa. Just like up cannot be a function of down and left cannot be a function of right. If someone appeals to authority to direct your behavior, he can never appeal to truth as that by which he also directs that behavior. And the opposite of course is true.
What is authority? Well, I have heard it said best by John Immel of SpiritualTyranny.com: Authority is force. And in this case, the reality is that authority is nothing more than a euphemism for threatening. To claim authority is necessarily to threaten your life. If you do not obey authority, you forfeit your existence. Period. For without that implicit (or explicit) understanding, there is no such thing as authority in the first place. There is no appealing to authority ever, past, present, or future, anywhere in the world, where obedience to authority is optional. If it’s optional, then the authority has no inherent right to compel outcomes in service to itself. Or put another way, if authority is not authorized to compel outcomes in service to itself then it cannot, by definition, claim to be an authority.
What this means is that if I tell you that you must do X or Y because I am in authority over you, what I am actually saying is that I claim the right to force (violence) you to do X or Y. My authority grants me the right (and the “moral” right is implied) to compel your behavioral outcomes by force, whether you want to do them or not. And of course, if I can force you into the behavior I desire then there is no sense in reasoning with you. There is no sense in convincing you that you should do what I ask because its the more rational thing to do. Again, reason, which is the formulation of truth, is beside the point.
I understand that there are those who will disagree with this assertion. However, I maintain that under the scope of someone’s authority any attempts to reason with those he claims are subordinate to his authority cannot possibly be ultimately reasonable. Now matter how reasonable the argument may be in and of itself, once it is coupled with authority it becomes subordinate to force. Meaning that the only reason one who is in authority over you might appeal to a rational argument in order to convince you to behave in a manner he desires is because in the present context, whatever it may be, it is more expedient or efficacious to use ostensibly benign words and ideas to compel your behavior than physical violence or threats of violence. Thus, reason, when existing under the auspices of authority, becomes an artifice, nothing more.
Why is this?
It is because authority has only one rational practical outcome, and that is to compel obedience independent of and rendering inert the individual’s will; while reason (and its logical conclusion, truth), also has only one rational practical outcome, and that is to to affirm the morality, utility, and efficacy of the individual will as necessary to his identity as a human being and thus as necessary to human existence both individually and collectively. Reason exists only to serve the individual–who, because he possesses an absolute and singular frame of reference for life, himSELF, must be the Standard of Truth and Morality– in order that he may manifest his own life as he chooses, to the promotion, profit, and perpetuation of that life.
The equation, for clarity’s sake, can be rendered something like this:
Authority = Force, while Force = Violence. Violence compels outcomes, and these outcomes are then described as acts of “obedience” to the authority (though this is, in fact, merely a bastardization of the idea). Violence to compel outcomes in service to authority necessarily disregards the will of the recipients of that violence. Meaning that once violence is sanctioned as a moral tool to coerce an outcome, human volition is irrelevant. You will obey or you will be forced to obey. And if you cannot be forced, well…the only logical conclusion is your death. If your purpose is to serve the authority whether you want to or not, simply because he is the authority, and you refuse to fulfill your purpose, the logical extension of the right to compel by violence is the right to murder those who will not be compelled, even by violence.
If your will is subordinated then to authority–which it is, otherwise authorities could not claim authority in the first place, as appeals to authority are ALWAYS and ALWAYS an appeal to force–then your very life, your very existence, which is dependent upon your own will in order to render and make choices to determine the outcomes of your life as an individual, moment by moment, becomes subject to the claimed authority. And not just some of your life, but all of it.
It is impossible for an authority to claim the right to your will only contextually. As a function of your very nature, at any given moment you are acting under the capacity of your own volition, and this entirely. Or, said differently, your volitional decisions affect the entirety of your existence at any given moment. Thus, to claim the right to compel your actions by force via an appeal to authority, and thus the right to disregard your will at a specific moment in time is to, if we take the premise to its logical conclusion, claim the right to disregard your will at all times.
I might render this idea this way: To command your will by force is to command your mind by force. And if your mind can be commanded by force then your cognitive assumptions by which you exist, and exist entirely, can be commanded by force. And and since the entirety of your actions are dictated by the fundamentals of what you believe, and these fundamentals, like the rest of you, are subject to the authority, your entire life in all respects and all contexts becomes sacrificed, necessarily, to he who claims the right to compel you by his authority. Anyone who claims the right to force the outcomes of your existence claims the right to govern, redefine, and/or eradicate your basic assumptions. And since these assumptions are universal to your entire existence, he who claims authority in a specific context of your life must in reality be claiming it in all contexts.
Therefore, you must understand that when you place yourself, under an “authority”, you have committed functional suicide. If someone else places you under authority, he has committed functional murder. You have ceased to exist, because your independent volition–your free will–governed by your own assumptions, has been eradicated and replaced by a proxy who claims, at his fundamental philosophical root, the right to murder you at any place, time, and for any reason.
And this is the real point of authority. Authority is force and force is control, and that control can only be in service to that which claims ownership of you. And to own you is to dispose of you. Whether that dispossession is literal or figurative, as far as you are concerned, the outcome is the same: eradication of SELF.
Because HE, the authority, decides you should do something, and YOU are utterly subject to his authority, you must do it, and when you are doing it you are doing it because, and for the sole reason, that he has claimed to the right to force you. Whether you want to is beside the point. Your choice is irrelevant, and so your will is irrelevant. You act only–and for no other reason than because he can make you act. For YOU are irrelevant because YOU have no actual say in the matter. Even if you agree, agreement is irrelevant when self-ownership is irrelevant. The slave who agrees to do his master’s work because he “loves” the master is no less a slave than the slave who does so grudgingly because he fears the whips and shackles.
Willingly obeying appeals to authority it is the death of SELF in the practical, pragmatic sense; while refusing to do it is the death of SELF in the literal sense. But the practical sense is the corollary to the literal sense. In other words, to you, the outcome is the same: the absence of YOU. As I said earlier.
My friends…my readers…please, please remember this. Anyone who claims authority over you, for any reason, cannot possibly be appealing to truth. And if they are not appealing to truth there is no possible way they can have your interest in mind. To accept an authority is to accept death. Period. Full stop.
All legitimate ideas will be ideas that are paradigms of consistently integrated concepts all affirming the right of the only legitimate Standard of Truth and Morality, the Individual SELF, to be promoted, affirmed, and prospered. Truly there are GOOD universal mores to follow…truly there are moral actions which demand praise and imitation, and evil ones which demand justice and recompense and rejection. But these are always a function of reason, and reason is always a function of the right of the individual to own his own life, fully and freely, full stop. Truth, goodness, and meaningful outcomes are NEVER a function of authority. Ever.
Whatever you believe and do, believe it and do it only because it serves you, practically, in the way in which you desire, and freely so. Do not believe it and do it because someone threatens you with violence or pain or misery or death for not believing or doing it. In such a case, you can be sure that there is NOTHING actually there to believe or do in the first place, because in such a scenario there is NO YOU to believe it or do it at all.