The world is governed by three things - wisdom, authority, and appearance. Wisdom for thoughtful people, authority for rough people, and appearances for the great mass of superficial people who can look only at the outside.
A moral decision is the loneliest thing that exists. Knowledge is shed abroad everywhere. Anybody may dip his cup into that great sea and take out what he can. It is a public appropriation from a public store. But what the man himself must do as a moral being, what ordering he shall make of his life, what allegiance he shall choose, what cause he shall cleave to - this is decided in that solitude where his soul in authentic presence lives with no other companion than the Final Authority which he recognizes as supreme.
All I have is a voice to undo the folded lie, the romantic lie in the brain of the sensual man-in-the-street and the lie of Authority whose buildings grope the sky: there is no such thing as the State and no one exists alone; hunger allows no choice to the citizen or the police; we must love one another or die.
Tracing the progress of mankind in the ascending path of civilization, and moral and intellectual culture, our fathers found that the divine ordinance of government, in every stage of ascent, was adjustable on principles of the common reason to the actual condition of a people, and always had for its objects, in the benevolent councils of the divine wisdom, the happiness, the expansion, the security, the elevation of society, and the redemption of man. They sought in vain for any title of authority of man over man, except of superior capacity and higher morality.
To be sure, if it is the purpose of educators to stifle the child’s power of independent thought as early as possible, in order to produce that ‘good behavior’ which is so highly prized, they cannot do better than deceive children in sexual matters and intimidate them by religious means. The stronger characters will, it is true, withstand these influences; they will become rebels against the authority of their parents and later against every other form of authority. When children do not receive the explanations for which they turn to their elders, they go on tormenting themselves in secret with the problem, and produce attempts at solution in which the truth they have guessed is mixed up in the most extraordinary way with grotesque inventions; or else they whisper confidences to each other which, because of the sense of guilt in the youthful inquirers, stamp everything sexual as horrible and disgusting.
Among well-bred people a mutual deference is affected, contempt of others is disguised; authority concealed; attention given to each in his turn; and an easy stream of conversation maintained without vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority.
The uprooting of human beings from the land, the concentration in cities, the breakdown of the authority of family, of tradition, and of moral conventions, the complexity and the novelty of modern life, and finally the economic insecurity of our industrial system have called into being the modern social worker. They perform a function in modern society which is not a luxury but an absolute necessity.
Constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go... To prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things that power should be a check to power.
The Lord's Prayer is short and mysterious, and, like the treasures of the Spirit, full of wisdom and latent senses: it is not improper to draw forth those excellencies which are intended and signified by every petition, that by so excellent an authority we may know what is lawful to beg of God.
Authority is properly the servant of justice, and political powers are arbitrary and illegitimate if not based upon qualification for that service. This is the doctrine of the ethical derivation of authority or public power, as opposed to that of an unconditioned and inherent sovereignty.