Joe the Plumber and Authority


In his third installment on Joe the Plumber, Anthony Esolen examines the sub-text in Joe’s interview with Media-babe on the topic of authority. Esolen sets up his ponderings on the political left with this snippet of the interview:

When the reporter asked him about Obama’s intention to take money from the supposed rich, Joe, who is not rich, did not at first ask “How much” or “Who’s giving” but “By what authority?”

 And, so, Esolen goes on to explain the wide-ranging ways that the political left opposes any authority, while arrogating to itself the only sort of authority it can understand: the blunt exercise of power.

 In my collateral musings on Esolen’s thoughts, I note that religious egalitarians have the same notion of authority (the blunt exercise of power) as political leftists. In the latter case, power must be accumulated and then coercively deployed against non-Leftists. The religious feminists, however, appear to take a different tack, viz., to champion the eradication of all authority, replaced by everyone submitting to everyone else so that there is, virtually, no exercise of authority.

 Put that way, it sounds silly, of course. Yet when egalitarians apply this notion to marriage, you get the standard egalitarian notion that husbands are servant-leaders (e.g. they serve, but never lead) and wives have equal “authority” to teach men, lead their families, and rule the church. And, so, the abundant, obvious, and pervasive patriarchalism of the Old and New Testaments is bent into unrecognizable shapes.

 For the egalitarian, it is impossible for Christ to be the head of man, as man is the head of woman, as God is the head of Christ. Nor can an egalitarian concede that Paul denies woman authority (!) to teach men or to rule men in the church. But, far more than a few scattered verses in the NT are at stake here. It is the entire trajectory of Scripture, its pervasive patriarchalism, which the egalitarian must deconstruct and reconstruct along feminist lines.


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One response to “Joe the Plumber and Authority

  1. Ah Fr. Bill, you know you’ve hit your mark when the indifferentists start squealing!

    (Indifferentist is one of Tony Esolen’s terms which is growing on me)


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