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  • Paul Condello

The Liberalism Of Authority

Is authority an anti-liberal idea?

The proper and liberal exercise of authority can be seen in actions taken by a school principal, police officer, or store manager to help ensure that people are protected from unfair treatment.

In light of how authority is often viewed by modern society, one problem Christians will want to discuss more both amongst themselves and as members of the general public is what liberalism properly means in relation to authority (Liberalism is not used in a political context here.) Authority in its proper place is actually a liberal idea, even though it is not often conceived as one today. Recognizing that people are treated unfairly by each other and that all people should be treated equally, regardless of factors such as gender and race, proper authority is exercised to protect principles of equality and other aspects of the public good.


The proper and liberal exercise of authority can be seen in actions taken by a school principal, police officer, or store manager to help ensure that people are protected from unfair treatment. Modern society tends to frown on words such as “authority” for different reasons, a number of which are not fair. However, the weakening of authority that is taking place across various spheres of society enables people to take advantage of each other without consequences.


The diminution of authority undermines the equality and safety people should be entitled to under laws and institution-specific policies. A lack of proper authority enables people to exert power over each other for self-centered and biased reasons, which is anti-liberal in terms of the general sense of liberalism. The kind of control people can exert over others in the absence of proper authority is also a manifestation of authority in its negative and harmful sense. However, the exercise of authority in its proper place should not be looked down on but upheld as a victory of enlightened thought and practices.



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