Tag Archives: authority

Rafael Barrett

Anarquista es el que cree posible vivir sin el principio de autoridad. Hay organismos esencialmente anarquistas, por ejemplo la ciencia moderna, cuyos progresos son enormes desde que se ha sustituido el criterio autoritario por el de la verificación experimental.

Rafael Barrett, Moralidades actuales, Montevideo, 1910

Eduardo Gilimón

[L]os anarquistas no van precisamente contra una clase social, ni contra un sistema económico, ni proceden ellos exclusivamente de una determinada clase social sino de todas. Van contra un principio—el principio de autoridad—contra la organización social que es autoritaria en todos los órdenes de la vida desde el político hasta el moral y desde el intelectual hasta el económico, y contra todas las clases sociales que se opongan a la libertad, a la anarquía.

Eduardo Gilimón, ‘La Anarquía’, La Protesta, 20 de agosto de 1908

Bertrand Russell

The great difficulty is that respect for law is essential to social order, but it is impossible under a traditional régime which no longer commands assent, and is necessarily disregarded in a revolution. But although the problem is difficult it must be solved if the existence of orderly communities is to be compatible with the free exercise of intelligence.

Bertrand Russell, Power: A New Social Analysis, London, 1938, p. 68

Thomas Nagel

It is clear that the power of complex modern states depends on the deeply ingrained tendency of most of their members to follow the rules, obey the laws, and do what is expected of them by the established authorities without deciding case by case whether they agree with what is being done. We turn ourselves easily into instruments of higher-order processes; the complex organizational hierarchies typical of modern life could not function otherwise—not only armies, but all bureaucratic institutions rely on such psychological dispositions.

This gives rise to what can be called the German problem. The generally valuable tendency to conform, not to break ranks conspicuously, not to attract attention to oneself, and to do one’s job and obey official instructions without substituting one’s own personal judgment can be put to the service of monstrous ends, and can maintain in power the most appalling regimes. The same procedural correctness that inhibits people from taking bribes may also turn them into obedient participants in well-organized official policies of segregation, deportation, and genocidal extermination. The problem is whether it is possible to have the benefits of conformity and bureaucratic obedience without the dangers.

Thomas Nagel, Equality and Partiality, Oxford, 1991, pp. 149-150