Ddi 12 ss disabilities Neg Dartmouth 2012 Andrew 1 ddi 12 ss disabilities Neg Strategy Sheet



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Dna Richard Villa, Prof. of Political Theory @ UC Santa Barbra, ’94 [Arendt and Heidegger: The Fate of The Political, p. 159-163]
As a political principle, then, authority conflicts with Arendt's basic convictions as to what authentic politics is (namely, something that occurs only in "the egalitarian order of persuasion").92 How to explain the impression that she mourns its passing? This impression is created, in part, by her citing the decline in authority as one element in the constellation thai made the totalitarian seizure of power possible.** But—and this is a point overlooked by her communitarian admirers as well as her liberal critics—while the demise of authority creates clear dangers (it is, she says, "tantamount to the loss of the groundwork of the world"), it also creates unprecedented opportunities.'*4 The loss of authority, according to Arendt, "does not entail, at least not necessarily, the loss of the human capacity for building, preserving, and caring for a world that can survive us and remain a fit place to live for those who come after us.**' Indeed, it may be that this loss makes a new, stronger form of "care for the world' possible. The principle of authority created stability by providing the political order in the West with a certain kind of foundation* ArendtTs project in "What Is Authority,7" is to specify the nature of this foundation and to show why it is no longer possible. Hence, the real question of the essay is "what was authority” Placed in the context of Arendtts political thought as a whole, the essay makes a strong case for relief at the passing of authority. The overarching argument is that while authority may have provided a ground for theory and practice from the Romans up to the Enlightenment, it is only with its demise that the "elementary problems of human living-together" once more come into view.91 The central role played by the concept of authority in Western political thought contributes mightily to the perversion of our concepts of political action, power, judgment, and freedom. By tracing the opening and closure of what could be called the "epoch of author-ity," Arendt points us toward a postauthoritarian concept of the political.What, then, was authority? In answering this question, Arendt insists (in proper Heideggerian, historicist mode) that we avoid any appeal to ahistorical generalization. What is in question is not "authority in general" but "a very specific concept of authority that has been dominant in our history."98 What is the nature of this "specific concept," and whete did it come from? According to Arendt, the concept of authority operative in our tradition is one that legitimates the political order by reference to some transcendent, extrapolitical force. This specification is clarified by the contrast between authoritarian and tyrannical forms of government, a contrast liberalism tends to obscure: "The difference between tyranny and authoritarian government has always been that the tyrant rules in accordance with his own will and interest, whereas even the most draconic authoritarian government is bound by laws. Its acts are tested by a axle which was made either not by man at all, as in the case of the law of nature of Civl's Commandments or the Platonic ideas, or at least not by those actually in power. The source of authority in authoritarian government is always a force external and superior to its own power; it is always this source, this external force which transcends the political realm, from which the authorities derive their "authority," that is, their legitimacy, and against which their power can he checked.*' The principle of authority demands, in short, that human affairs "be subjected to the domination of something outside their realm* It is only upon the supposition of some such transcendent, dominating force that authoritarian regimes (in the strict sense) are possible. Which is to say, simply, that our concept of authority is, at its heart, metaphysical. Authority presupposes metaphysics' two-world theory; its demise, moreover, is inseparable from the closure of metaphysical rationality as traced by Nietzsche and Heidegger. To the question What was authority? then, the short answer is metaphysics. That the "epoch of authority" and what Heidegger called the "epoch o( metaphysics" are roughly coextensive is borne out by the genealogical dimension of Arendt's inquiry. The kind of "public-political world" brought into being by the notion of authority did not always exist: as Arendt notes, the word and concept are Roman in origin. Even more important is the fact that "neither the Greek language nor the varied political experiences of Greek history show any knowledge of authority and the kind of rule it implies/'102 The Greeks did not recognize the relation of rulership as a political relation, since it inevitably implied force and violence (prepolitical modes of interaction). The idea that there could be a hierarchy not based on force or violence, and which would be accepted by both rulers and ruled as just and binding, was an idea that had to be introduced into Greek political discourse, precisely against the experience of the fidis. According to Arendt, this introduction (subsequently built on by the Romans and Christianity) was performed by Plato and Aristotle. Arendt view's the Platonic-Aristotelian attempt to "introduce something akin to authority into the public life of the Greek polis" as fraught with paradox. Authority "implies an obedience in which men retain their freedom. Yet the various examples of rulership available to Plato and Aristotle in the public and private spheres all framed relation* predicated upon the denial of freedom. The tyrant, the general the household head, the master of slaves; taken individually, each provided a model of unquestionable authority, yet none could be said to preserve either the public sphere or the freedom of citizens. Thus, the concept of rule had to be introduced by some other means, which preserved at least the appearance of freely given obedience. The "other means/' of course, was the rule of reason, an innovation through which the "Socratic school" transferred the compelling force of truth from the sphere of theoretical insight or logical demonstration to the realm of human affairs. Reason provided a nonviolent (and hence "legitimate") principle of coercion, which enabled Greek thought to rise above persuasion (a clearly inadequate means, as illustrated by the trial of Socrates) without resorting to despotism. But in order for reason to rule, it had to be demonstrated that the genuine standards for human conduct transcended the realm of human affairs, and were available only to those capable of contemplative "seeing"; that is, philosophers. Such a demonstration is undertaken by Plato in the Republic; "nowhere else," Arendt writes, "has Greek thinking so closely approached the concept of authority."k)6 The Platonic-Aristotelian turn to reason as a way of introducing the idea of rule into the political sphere is laden with implications for our tradition. As Arendt states it, "The consequences of expecting reason to develop into an instrument of coercion perhaps have been no less decisive for the tradition of West-ern philosophy than the tradition of Western politics/'30' Politically, this appeal entails splitting thought off from action and creating a hierarchical relation be-tween the two. Rationality ceases to be a doxastic capacity exercised by the actor in the context of plurality. It becomes, instead, the monopoly of the "thinking class" (in Plato, those by nature suited to the contemplative life). One reason the Republic is paradigmatic for the Western concept of authority is that in Plato's Utopia this class is not, strictly speaking, a ruling class. The ruler in the Republic is neither a group nor an individual, but a set of transcendent standards. Such standards – the sine qua non of genuine authoritarian rule – are available only to the mind’s eye, a kind of sight not possessed by the hoi polloi. The ‘philosopher-kings’ are in fact, selfless instruments to whom true Being is revealed, and who translate this moment of vision into standards for the realm of humaffairs. The question of whether reason reveals that which is “just by nature” to an intellectual elite or (as the Enlightenment would have it) to all is less fundamental than the peculiar relation this appeal institutes between first and practical philosophy. The Platonic politicization of reason creates a relation of derivation between “general” and “special metaphysics, ontology and practical (ethical or political) philosophy. The "authoritarian appeal" to metaphysical rationality made by Plato has two key effects. Firs, it disentagles thought from action, firmly coupling reason to the unseen realm of the universal; second, through the idea of transcendent standards, it attributes a prescriptive power to though such that it "rules over" action. The splitting oft of thought into action accomplished by the Platonic move is, if not the origin, clearly the institutionalization of the theory/practice distinction. This distinction is irreducibly metaphysical insofar as it rests upon what Heidegger terms a "technical" interpretation of though and action. From Plato forward, action is viewed primarly as a means to an end, as he production of an effect. Thought, on the other hand, is stripped of its purely contemplative (useless) status and is functionalized: its primary role, qua theory, is to guide action by the rational security of first principles and the positing of ends accordance with these principles. For metaphysical rationality (as Schurmann notes), action is essentially teleocratic and though is essentially foundational. The latter's job is to secure the truth with which the former may be brought into accord. The Platonic appeal to transcendent standards - to the "authority" of reason as a "legitimate principle of coercion" - established the familiar pattern wherein action proceeds from and is legitimated by a grounding, extrapolitical "first" revealed by reason. Within the field of metaphysical rationality, then, action is delineated as the practico-political effectuation of the philosophical. Yet despite Plato's success in articulating a new configuration of though and action, his attempt to introduce "something akin to authority" into the political sphere suffered from significant weakness. Arendt describes Plato's predicament: The trouble with coercion through reason, however, is that only the few are subject to it, so that the problem arises of how to assure that the many, the people who in their very multiple compose the body politic, can be submitted to the same truth Here, to be sure, some other means of coercion must be found, and here again coercion through violence must be avoided it political life as the Greeks understood it is not to be destroyed. This is the central predicament of Plato's political philosophy and has remained a predicament of all attempts to establish a tyranny ol reason. Plato solved this predicament by introducing (at the end of the Republic) a myth about rewards and punishments to be meted our in the hereafter.. Christianity is notable tor the way it appropriates both Plato's "invisible spiritual yard' sticks" and the myth of otherworldly sanctions, a combination which proved so powerful that even the thoroughly enlightened and secular revolutionaries of the eighteenth century felt compelled to cite the tear of hell as an indispensable grounding for the maintenance of social order,"' It was after all, through religion and belief in the hereafter that the authoritarian positing of transcendent yardsticks for human affairs became a political fact of the first order, successfully establishing what had previously been viewed as the negation of the political relation (authority or hierarchy) as its essence. In Arendt's view, authority and religion, in combination with tradition, formed a tremendously powerful and resiliant "ground work" tor pre modern European civilization.118 She sees the relative stability of the West asa function of the mutually reinforcing elements of this constellation, an “amalgamation”" thai first attained its political perfection with the
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