The mother warns the kid not to touch the hot stove. The father helps: he grabs the kid and wails the daylights out of him. Neither the mother nor the father invest time explaining the nature of their authority to the kid: or to themselves, or their neighbors. The neighbors share the same assumptions: all without rational analysis: all knowing perfectly well that rational analysis cannot establish itself beyond doubt by rational analysis: at some point we jump, and have faith: in the natural authority of parents.
(If we can't trust our parents, it's tough; the state cannot do better. The Church had already failed.)
So how does the above translate into Hitler and his Brown Shirts herding Jews, gypsies, queers, dissidents into gas chambers without resistance from the population? It don't.
I don't trust mama or papa to be wise or fair, let alone infallible: still, I won't interfere with their wailing the kid who keeps flirting with the hot stove. But I do not support any right of the neighbor to wail my kid, whether he's near the stove or not. I don't support the draft board, the IRS, or the school board. I don't support the state telling my kid or your kid what to study, what to think, where to study it, what it should cost, how long it must take: which Miss Moron should supervise. I could read before my school brought it up: and I've never met a teacher up close and personal who could unequivocally read better than I. Where does the state get off assigning me teachers?
Authority might be nice if it were reliable. The state assigned me a physics teacher: did she know physics better than I did? Yes, for sure. Did she know physics well? No. Once I'd read the text I saw that she didn't understand physics well at all: and when quantum mechanics was first getting rolling, neither did Einstein!
If you went to Princeton, and said, "Einstein, please teach me physics," that's well and good. Falibility has nothing to do with your free market choice. Of course when Princeton gets in the way and won't let you see Einstein, that's different: that's authority interfering with authority: something fraudulent authority always winds up doing. And fraudulent authority is the only garden variety we have in kleptocracy. Jesus gets crucified, pk doesn't get published, Illich gets defrocked ... Bull-shiters grab all the marbles, and all the morons let them.
Authority: Smart or Understanding
Here's a delicious passage from a current best seller: Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Unfortunately society was not very smart or understanding; she had to protect herself from social authorities, child welfare authorities, guardianship authorities, tax authorities, police, curators, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, and bouncers, who (apart from the guys watching the door at Kvarnen, who by this time knew who she was) would never let her into the bar even though she was twenty-five. There was a whole army of people who seemed not to have anything better to do than to try to disrupt her life, and, if they were given the opportunity, to correct the way she had chosen to live it.
It did no good to cry, she had learned that early on. She had also learned that every time she tried to make someone aware of something in her life, the situation just got worse. Consequently it was up to her to solve her problems by herself, using whatever methods she deemed necessary.
Knatz.com had loads of modules on Authority, as had InfoAll.org: all censored in the same backhand from the fed. I was thinking of reposting them at IonaArc, but perhaps they should all go here. I find temporal space for them in "2006 January."
Jesus went to the Temple. Jesus, a Jew, called Rabbi (or Teacher), was surrounded by other Jews, also called Rabbi (or Teacher). Those other rabbis had a hierarchy: a Sanhedrin, with relations to secular hierarchies: a king, called Herod.
Jesus came with something to teach: messages, from God. The other rabbis were supposed to teach messages from God. Jesus was supposed to have cleansed the temple. Obviously, the other rabbis just turned the money tables business-side back up again. They sandbagged Jesus, had him arrested, got rid of him; not without teaching him some severe lessons of their own.
Kleptocrats are presented with institutions they are told, as children, are there to serve them, to educate them, to protect them. Universities, for example, are there to foster learning. Universities are full of teachers: and students, and deans, and administrators.
Jesus' temple was a site of teacher wars: Jesus being imagined as the losing teacher, the teacher who was right.
Universities too are sites of teacher wars. Do any right teachers ever win there? Sure.
What percentage? All? Some? Few?
How could we tell? Wait! See if anyone is left alive. If there's a surviving population, then sufficient learning took place: sufficient at least for the moment.
But consider this: where new learning is involved, the wrong teachers will always outnumber the right teacher: and the population at large will always back the teachings they're familiar with; not the teachings that could help them survive.
Don't think for one second that I'm blaming leaders for our fix. There is no belfry without a foundation.
I add a word to be further developed later: Don't imagine that I'm just talking about religion, or politics, or humans: the same applies to any phenotype of any species living in time, within evolution. The mosquito that mates with this mosquito instead of that mosquito, the heron that eats this fish instead of that fish, the leaf that gathers this light instead of the light a millimeter further away, is determining the future of its descendants: and the future of its entire ecology!
The following I don't doubt belongs in a post of its own: I scratch a note to be developed and perhaps moved at another time:
Was Jesus, entering the Temple, one? or many? Were his disciples with him? Thus: was he one? or thirteen? or some number in between
The gospels tell of three Magi coming to visit the infant Jesus. Was that three men fitting into a stable already occupying Mary, Joseph, Jesus and assorted sheep, cattle, goats? Or more?
Magi were known never to travel without at least forty-thousand troops. Were there thus three armies, totally at least one hundred-twenty thousand men at arms? (and who knows how many camp followers, whores, and hangers on? all crowded into a tiny stable? Or did the magi's troops remain outside? in the court yard? or nearby, at the K-Kourt?
Shakespeare's kings refer to themselves as "we." A second latter they call themselves "England": or "France." Feudal kings didn't think of themselves as individuals the way contemporary American individualists do
Notice: these questions have a great deal to do with the idea of monotheism! Is God one? or three? Or infinity?
When the terminator promised, "I'll be back," he meant himself, the cyborg, individually. When US General Douglas MacArthur said, "I shall return," he did not mean alone.