Authority and duty
Added: 2017-10-30
Added: 2017-10-30


Whenever nations lose their sense of duty, righteousness becomes an empty notion, and the authority – with no morals to rely upon any more – restricts itself to being efficient, clever, and nothing more than clever for its own safety. However, cleverness cannot be justified by anything other than success and therefore terrible demoralisation inevitably spreads in nations whose order is based solely on their government's cleverness. It is undoubtedly a great attribute, but it is not a virtue, whereas governments and nations can only be found on virtues which serve as their immovable foundation. What good can be found in a social order where neither the nation loves the government, nor the government puts its trust in the nation? Without love and dedication, a nation becomes passive, or active only in a direction harmful towards its very existence. There has been no example in history of a victorious sedition which invented an effective measure that fulfils the needs of a nation, unless we consider that some honest and strong religious belief became this reason – which cannot happen in the period of Europe's current unbelief. Both for its own safety and for the sake of public security, a government, failing to find love and dedication in the nation, and therefore devoid of any positive measures, establishes its entire operation on the vileness and corruption of its subordinates. Yet although it does not actually increase its own strength, at least it numbs all powers that oppose it. A righteous rule can tolerate passive resistance alongside unlimited love and dedication for the rulers; not only does it not frighten them, but provides actual enlightenment. In a rule which has been usurped based only on inferred theories, any resistance – however legal – always constitutes either a rebellion or at least incitement to rebellion. In a society devoid of virtue and faith, one in which political life exists in a perpetual fight between strength and cleverness, nothing permanent can be established, and all of the continent’s mimicry of England is already duly evaluated. It is certain that no one puts any faith in it, although everyone considers it in their discussions. The final word of today's philosophy has already been spoken, and it is a negation of the absolute principle, denial of every kind of duty. This philosophy, transposed to a political standpoint, expresses this final word just as clearly, namely – the negation of any form of government, not only existing, but any imaginable. It is an obvious nationcide, as the life of a nation cannot actively manifest itself, but only by means of its government. And here every possible conditions of any kind of government are trampled by the movers of nations. […]


There is one power that often deceives even the most righteous of minds, saying that governmental forms affect the position of their members so profoundly, that the improvement of these forms will undoubtedly improve their existence. And here lies the fallacy resembling the recently widespread belief that poetry is based merely on the selection of rhymes, a harmonious order of words and other artificial means that are so easily attainable without even a slightest spark of genius, and by pure skill. Forms given to government will not shape the national spirit, but where it does exist – it will most certainly manifest itself in forms most appropriate. If a society experiences oppression, it arises neither from the form of its government, nor from its laws, but only from the moral state in which the society lingers, and this is the only reason for such wrongdoing. The law itself does not oppress anyone. There is no nation whose laws allow oppression without any consequences, but since oppression happens nonetheless, one has to look for reasons elsewhere than in the law alone.

The body of a society is nothing more than a gathering of mutual dependencies. Dependence on law alone is a figure of speech, which can be used to prove a point; however, it has no real meaning. In truth, man is not dependent on the law, but on the one authorised to enforce the law. No law devised by human wisdom can match the perfect, yet so short, codex given by God on Mount Sinai, and which every one of us knows by heart.  But did this law eradicate murder, adultery, and thievery? Does eternal punishment scare away vile men? Can it be reasoned that the laws of men are more beneficial than divine laws?  A wicked man breaks divine laws through incredulity, but breaks human laws through cunning. In this vale of tears man must necessarily depend on other man, because there would be no social life otherwise. Whatever name we give to this dependency, the name alone will not change the nature of things. Men must depend on someone else, as the ruled are dependent on the ruler, as serfs are dependent on noblemen, as vassals are dependent on barons, as labourers are dependent on owners, or as citizens are dependent on the holders of public authority. And even if laws determine the conditions of how force has to deal with weakness in the most precise of ways, what aid does weakness receive from this determination, if force is not tempered by moral law which stipulates that one can answer for using force only before God? No combinations of human wisdom, no constitution and written laws can replace this belief, and with it one can do without the former.  […]


It is an observable fact, greatly abused in our historical period precisely because of this weakening of the Christian spirit, that no nation may function without its representatives.   However, the error of modern journalists lies in their want to base this representation on some distinct mandates – but even according to their own theories, this supposedly national mandate that authorises delegates chosen by the nation to exercise authority on its behalf, is a delusion; even assuming that the source of authority flows from the collective body, if the body cannot exercise it by itself, but only through its representation, how can it be reconciled with the need to provide the mandate directly from the nation? After all, giving a mandate is already an act of authority, thus the nation is able to exercise it by itself. Therefore, what will become of the need for representation to somehow realise this authority in actu, which the same nation possesses in potestate. If the nation in its entirety exercises authority by electing its representatives, why couldn't it exercise authority by itself in other activities, and what could force it to elect any representatives?[1]

The authority must necessarily govern the nation, but if the nation is indeed a nation, it is only because an authority represents it, but this representation does not arise from mandates, but from necessity. He who believes that authority emerged from the nation's choice must assume that there was a moment, when the nation was left without authority, and only some miracle of self-discovery created what the nation could not have any knowledge of, that is, national authority was conceived by a collective that did not constitute a nation yet; because a nation does not become a nation only because of the authority representing it, just as an underage owner of an estate owns it through his guardian, whom he could not provide with a mandate, as the mandate was given by a higher power, and through whom he exercises his ownership.

Therefore, in a normal state of a community, its government – constituting its actual representation – will express the community's intentions without any internal strife, and it will modify itself according to its progressive or regressive swings. For there is nothing truer than the fact that, in the words of one illustrious political writer, each community has the government it deserves. A government is always a fitting one because it exists only under the condition that it actually represents the intentions of the community it governs and embodies it to such an extent that a community denouncing a government which does not represent its intentions, however steadily it guides it, would be denouncing itself.


[1] All these so called legislative bodies, composed seemingly of representatives empowered by the nation, can only represent it indirectly, like all the other magistrates, be it judicial or administrative. It would be an error to believe that: — 1, the entire nation elects them, — 2, that they remain in the same relationship with the nation, as an agent with his principal, — 3, that they represent their nation absolutely. An actual and thorough representation of a nation is only true for authority that was formed not as a result of some tricks, but by God's appointment. Every nation has strength, but it will not turn into authority only because of the gravity granted by God. Whatever the forms of political association, complete authority always remains God's legacy and in a normal state of each community, authority acting as its actual representation – on one side – is always ultimate, and on the other – it is not. One who is able to distinguish between forms and existence would not have any doubt about it. I only dare to make one remark, that these so called representative forms, so close to people who do not – or do not wish to – understand what makes a representative government, are a reality in England precisely because they have developed organically and are not written on flimsy parchments, but engraved in the heart of every Englishman.  In England, not only does the Parliament not call itself a legislative body, but it does not even dare to think that acts which do not include the privileges of the aristocracy or the sanction of royal prerogatives could be binding for an English subject.  

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