paper example - Topic C Alec Christianson Brian Lovato Tues...

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Topic C Alec Christianson Brian Lovato, Tues. 9am PS-1 22 February, 2011 De facto authority is that authority which is held to be common practice. It is tradition and for all intents and purposes, may act contrary to how the law commands, which is known as de jure , and is better understood as the theory of the maatter. In its most basic sense, de facto
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authority is seized by individuals, rather than granted. It is the position of being “in” authority, as it is based on an office held or popularity, rather than “an” authority, which entails an expertise over the political process. The two individuals in question in our inquiry, Thomas Hobbes and Robert Wolff, hold polar opposite views over the nature of this authority. While one is a staunch defendant of de facto authority, the other is perhaps its greatest opponent. Robert Paul Wolff’s work, In Defense of Anarchism , highlights the need to throw off the oppressive shackles of those who have allegedly hold authority over ourselves. The premise of his argument is that individual autonomy is completely incompatible with the concept of authority, and that any attempt to reconcile the two is mostly a waste of time. As Wolff shows disdain for authority of any form, the chances that he would support a de facto authority is entirely against reason. When we consider our quote, claiming that “at most, Hobbes's social contract theory generates what Wolff calls de facto authority," it is reasonable to accede that this is precisely what is the case under Hobbes’ style of government. “Men believe in the existence of legitimate authority, for of course a de facto state is simply a state whose subjects believe it to be legitimate… [t]hey may be wrong” (Wolff 10). When taking this under consideration, the legitimacy of an authority, or an absolute one as Hobbes suggests, is questionable, and for all intents and purposes, against what Wolff holds to be true as an anarchist. Hobbes’ system of government deprives the individual citizens of their right to have an active role in the political process, specifically regarding how they are able to lead their lives. There can be no sense of legitimate authority, as it stands in direct violation with the autonomy that we all possess and are responsible to maintain. Thomas Hobbes and his famous work, Leviathan , demonstrate a very different viewpoint regarding legitimate authority and de facto leadership. Hobbes presents and champions his solution to the problem of political authority in proposing the idea of an absolute authority.
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