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Since we believe that there are other will-powers in this universe besides that of God, we have a good right to view all actions and activities critically—to reflect, to speculate, to conform or oppose or resist. Thus it is evident that all power being exercised is subject to critical analysis by investigation of its purpose, its effects, the intentions of its exercisers. An exousia—regardless of whether we translate this Scriptural term as “authority ” or “power”—has to have a positive relationship towards its purpose, the common good. To be theoú diákonos, “a servant of God,” it is necessary that a power be “reasonable,” i.e., ordained towards its natural end.* A ruler in the possession of power, but misusing it by woefully harming the common good, is not a “helpmate of God” (leitourgós theoú) and thus has no claim to authority and to obedience. It can even be argued that power, well established and entrenched, claiming authority but methodically destroying the values of the common good, is diabolic in character. The satanic aspects of such government combining power (a divine attribute) with wickedness and irrationality are usually underscored by a quality of confusion; it rarely opposes the common good on all scores and in every respect, though its positive actions are often means to nefarious ends: for example, even maternity wards, recreational institutions and places of learning established by the state can be designed to build up armies intended for aggressive warfare…

A ruler has the same obligation to the right use of power as the owner of property. Both—power and property—have to be used to foster the common good. Their misuse or abuse should result in confiscation or deposition. But it is also evident that legality (even legality according to international law**) is part and parcel of the common good; and therefore legitimacy, in the political sense, cannot be sneered at. Thus, rebellion against a ” legal ” government (i.e., a government legal in the juridical but not in the moral sense) can be excused only if its continued trespasses against other more important aspects of the common good justify steps which according to the secular (constitutional) law are illegal, but become, under these circumstances, legal according to the natural law.

We have hinted that power acting according to reason, that is, intelligently and virtuously, ordaining its efforts towards the common good and not offending against it through its mere existence (as, for example, an unwarranted military occupation by a foreign power), has authority as a genuine leitourgós theoú, a helpmate of God. It certainly is not diabolic. And this situation is, we think, independent of majority consent. If a vast majority of the citizenry is opposed to good or just government, we do not see why this should obviate authority in the least.

-Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty or Equality

Editor’s Notes:
*”Now the rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts”- St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (II)(I) 4. Treatise on Law

**Ius Gentium, see On the Current Crisis for the proper relation between the Ius Gentium and the State.