Re: “In our monuments we express our distrust of authority” (David Brooks column, 6-13).
Because of his sensible argument, columnist Brooks nearly had me. Of course authorities legitimately exist, ideally for the blessing of those who obey them. But certain others tend to grab the mike and usurp those blessings. The rule of law helps us navigate the paradoxes Brooks spoke of, so corruptible men may rule in equity.
But Brooks didn’t mention the rule of law. Instead, he exalts human authority. Then, for contrast, he shifts focus to a pair of modern protest movements, charging them with the low motive of simply distrusting authority, and aspiring to be individual “kings.”
Brooks and others like him should know that no American need aspire to the office of prophet, priest or king, because these offices are already his by inheritance. The rights to liberty (kingdom), freedom of worship (priesthood) and freedom of speech (prophecy), are human rights, and not negotiable. They can be lost, however, through personal moral failure.
One possible sign of such failure would be the usurpation of a blessing meant for another. If I were to do this, I would be called a “thief.” So what do we call it when a governing or economic authority does the same thing?
I know my duty as one subject to those in authority. It would be more pleasant if I thought we were both pulling at the same oar.