opinions &. ViewsnThat Hollow CorenRichard Sennett: Authority; AlfrednA. Knopf; New York.nby Edward J. LynchnWi, ‘ithin what used to be called WesternnCivilization philosophers have developedntwo justifications for authority.nBroadly construed, they are explanationsnbased upon revelation and explanationsnbased upon reason.nThe Bible is the most profound statementnof the tradition of revelationnknown to Western people, but the Biblenoffers little prospect for developingngoverning practices among people. Fornreasons that He alone can fathom, thenCreator has chosen to reveal Himselfnto different people in different ways.nLocke’s doctrine of toleration was developednto mitigate the tensions betweennthose who claimed particular versionsnof The Word as definitive. Howeverndimly we perceive the intentions of thenAlmighty, few of us are willing to resurrectnthe holy wars that perpetually havenbeen associated with attempts to governnpeople according to some version of thenrevealed Word.nThe Socratic dialogues offer the mostnprofound statement of the tradition ofnreason available to us. They, too, offernlittle hope for the peaceful rule of somenpeople by others. Socrates, howevernironic, was a most ungovernable soul.nIndeed, his persistent questioningntended to undermine all claims to authority,nexcept the claim of the wise tonrule the unwise. Democracies have seriousndifficulties with this form of authoritynbecause wisdom is not alwaysncommunicable to those who are lessnthan wise, which is to say the majority.nThe wise critic always poses a challengento that majority. As the Athenians dem-nDr. Lynch taught political science atnTexas Tech University and is now researchndirector for the McNary fornSenator committee in St. Louis.n0nChronicles of Cultttrenonstrated with Socrates, the resolutionnof the conflict between wisdom and majoritynpower is occasionally unpleasant.nBoth traditions point to a traditionnabove human beings which guidesnhuman conduct. The Bible offers thenrevealed Word of God. Socrates offersnhis fellow citizens the life of the mind.nBoth traditions also realize the tensionnbetween revelation and reason. Satanntempts Adam and Eve to eat of the fruitnof the tree of the knowledge of goodnand evil because this fruit will allegedlynenable them to become like God. Whennthe Delphic Oracle informs Socratesnthat he is the wisest man in Athens, hendenies this revelation, and by questioningnhis fellow Athenians, effectivelynquestions the gods of his city. Thus bothntraditions indicate that the life of thenmind is the highest form of wholly humannlife, and both point to a standard ofnTruth beyond human comprehension.nThose who founded modern democraciesnwere aware of the profoundntension between the revealed Word ofnthe Almighty and the reasoning capacitiesnof human beings. They did not claimnan ability to resolve this tension, andnattempted to avoid the conflict as muchnas possible. Acknowledging the fallibilitynof their fellow citizens, these democratsnhoped to elevate “reflection andnchoice” over “force and accident” asngoverning mechanisms in human affairs.nWith appropriately complex mechanismsn(in addition to The Federalist,nconsult Rousseau, On the Governmentnof Poland, and Locke, FundamentalnConstitution for the Carolinas) thesenfounders hoped to develop means ofnmitigating the bestial tendencies in humannnature and thus to render democracyna safe form of government fornmankind.nAt the heart of this enterprise,nauthority became transformed from ancapacity associated with people’s highernfaculties to a product of popular consensus.nIronically, authority in modernnnnsocieties is considered a consequence,nrather than a source, of power. The majoritynnow imagines that it can createnauthority, and it no longer consultsnauthorities for guidance. This alterationnof tradition lies at the center of thenmoral inversion of our age.nIf Richard Sennett happened uponnthis essay, he would wonder what thentopics covered so far have to do withnthe book that he wrote. He mentionsnneither the tradition of revelation nornthe tradition of reason; nor does henacknowledge any tension between them.nRather than the disciplines of philosophynor theology, Sennett prefers tonlimit his discussion of authority to thenconfines of behavioral social psychology.nThe weaknesses of the book are anconsequence of the blinders that henbrings to the topic.nFor Sennett, the bond of authority isnmerely “the emotional expression ofnpower.” Sennett is concerned primarilynwith the ways in which feelings aboutnauthority are expressed in human relationships.nHuman beings, he believes,nare creatures who attempt to make sensenof their lives, or “interpreting animals.”nIn this context, Sennett can be said tonpursue a middle ground. Although wenhave descended from the classical staturenas “rational animals,” Sennett wouldnnot wish us lowered to the wholly brutishnground of Hobbes’s clashing individuals.nThis middle ground forms thenterritory for the social context in whichnhumans interrelate, and Sennett pursuesnan inquiry into “how different kindsnof emotions are organized differently innmodern society.”nHis inquiry into the social appearancesnof authority is offered as the firstnof four interrelated essays on humannsocial relations, his other subjects beingnsolitude, fraternity and ritual. Authoritynis a relationship between people whonare unequal. Sennett is rather flexiblenabout exactly what constitutes a basisn