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no idea of God, nor has it as yet formed an opinion. These rights accrue to it with the emancipation of reason. As the powers of the child ripen, and its individuality intensifies, its full complement of rights appears, and then the authority of the father is at an end, for the right of one man is equal to that of another.
Some writers, in their attempt to justify royal authority, have supposed that the paternal authority is irrevocable, and that consequently there can be no emancipation. The power of the father is held to be the unique source of the civil power, and men to be perpetually minors, and incapable, in right, of choosing the form of government under which they will serve and the person who shall be their chief. According to this hypothesis, the father draws his power from God, conserves it intact, entire, unalterable, so that he becomes the head of the families that spring from his loins, and chief thereby of a political community. Succession and tradition do the rest, and the crown is merely the hereditary badge of paternity. To interrupt or to modify this providential order is therefore sacrilege, for this is government by Divine Right.
Such a theory goes to the ground at once, when the true origin of right is considered, and authority is seen to be but its temporary extension. If paternal authority can only bind the child till it has perfected into the man, with adolescence the rights of the child are level with those of his father, and the difference, to which has been given a real value, called authority, has disappeared. If all rights flow from God and are dogmatic verities, all rights are equal, and therefore for one man to exercise authority over another man without his consent is to commit an immorality.
A sign is sometimes demanded, by which the complete emancipation of the child from paternal authority may be discovered. We are incapable of giving one; for, by the nature of the case, that emancipation is progressive, and a sign is as out of the question as is certainty in a calculation of probabilities.
The father must decide according to numerous indices, his experience of anterior emancipations, the remembrance of his own, the study of his son's character, the expansion of his reason; considerations so complex, that it is impossible to describe them. The emancipation announces itself by tentatives, and then accomplishes itself. Strong in the sense of his own rights, the son freely contracts an alliance, and this alliance is the seal of his independence. A new domestic society appears, a new government enthrones itself by the embers of the first hearth, and sheds over it that protection which old age exacts, in the sacred name of love and duty. The new family is, as S. Thomas says, a complete unity, and must therefore be equal to another unity of like nature.
Of authority there are two kinds, and only two: Moral and effective.
Effective authority has but one mode of operation, of self-manifestation, viz., Compulsion.
Moral authority has but one mode of operation, of selfmanifestation, viz., Persuasion.
Moral authority can only devolve from God, the Absolute. Authority of all sorts being a prolongation of the idea of right, moral authority is the exercise of the right of God over man.
Destroy the idea of God, and you destroy the idea of moral authority.
Moral authority is an appeal to the conscience alone to recognize responsibility.
Responsibility must be due to man or to God. If to man, it must be a recognition of his right, or it is not moral responsibility. But right, as has been shewn, is only authoritative when it is dogmatic; and by dogmatic is meant, that it is based on God. Thus responsibility resolves itself into the recognition of God as the basis of right, or it does not exist at all.
To make this clearer we will take two cases.
First. A has sown a field which he reclaimed from the waste, cleared of weeds, dug and dressed. When his wheat has sprung up, B turns his horses into the field to eat the young corn. He has a perfect right to do so, if right be based on superior strength and he be the strongest. If, however, right be dogmatic, he is wrong. A has a moral right to reap the produce of his toil, and B is morally bound not to interfere with this right. By what authority is he bound? By the authority of God, who has made right dogmatic. But A denies the authority of God; denies the existence of God; then he must not complain if B takes advantage of this negation of moral authority, to appropriate the produce of his toil, resting his right on superior force. Why does the crop belong to A ? A says, Because I have laboured on it, and have made it mine by appropriation from the waste. Why does B make away with it? B says, Because I have made it mine by appropriation from A; A had no right to the field except the right of seizure, and I have the same right to it; therefore I will take it, for I am stronger than he.
Second. A has excellent natural abilities; he has also a fortune left him, sufficient to maintain him in competence. As there is no God, there is no moral obligation laid upon him to develop his abilities. It is completely at his option whether he will lead an intellectual life, or whether he will lead a life of debauchery. He is perfectly free to
make choice; he chooses the latter; he may have made a mistake in thinking that a life of sensuality will afford him greater happiness than a life of intellectuality; but he has not done wrong, he has violated no duty, for there is no authority to impose a duty on him. No appeal to conscience is of the slightest avail, for his own will is supreme. You may convince him that he is mistaken, but you cannot convince him that he is wrong.
Moral authority, therefore, derives from God alone.
If a government claim moral authority, it is solely in virtue of a Divine commission. If there be no God, government can have no moral anthority. I do not say that a government has moral authority, but that its claim to be regarded as conscientiously binding on men wholly depends on its recognition of God.
Moral authority is exercised in foro conscientiæ alone.
It derives from God. It is the action of God upon the conscience of man. Man acknowledges his obligation to God to recognize the rights of others, and his duty to develop his own superior faculties. If God be an absolute ruler, fatally determining the actions of man, so that he cannot swerve from the course he is predestined to run, then there is no such a thing as moral authority. Moral authority presupposes a power in the person on whom it is imposed of refusing obedience if he will. If it is impossible for man to resist authority, that authority is no more moral, it is effective; its mode of operation is not persuasion, but compulsion.
The existence of moral authority therefore depends on the exercise by man of free will, and the existence of God as the absolute source of right.
If the link between man and the Absolute were not one of acceptance on the part of man, i.e., that he might or
might not operate, the authority of God would be effective only, and the idea of moral authority would be inconceivable; for man can only conceive what really exists.
If moral authority have its source in God, it follows that any delegation of authority by God must also be moral, not effective.
When man proposes to attach his power to the Absolute, when there is a delegation, mediate or immediate, there will be a delegation of power corresponding with the character of the power which God exercises over free man—that is a moral power.
Just as God has refused to exercise over man an authority interfering with his liberty, and by virtue of this alone he is free; so, in like manner, He has refused to transmit a compulsory authority, since the transmission thereof would be the exercise of it.
Let us next consider effective authority. By effective authority is to be understood the authority exercised by man over man, maintained and expressed by force.
Effective authority can only be derived from man. As all men have not equal strength and power to maintain their rights, they delegate their force to a government or king, for the purpose of maintaining intact their inalienable rights.
A, B, C and D bave precisely equal primitive rights, but A, B, C and D have not precisely equal power to support their rights in the face of aggression. A, B and C therefore, combine to confer on D their united force to enable him to protect the rights of A from being encroached on by B or C; the rights of B from invasion by A and C; the rights of C from being alienated by A and B.
Effective authority being solely delegated force, can only express itself by compulsion. It begins where moral au