Authority and Rebellion: Shakespeare

(At this point, I am collecting material, not endorsing a view!)

Bates makes the case for active obedience, as opposed, say, to Berkeley's case for passive obedience:

KING HENRY V: I dare say you love him not so ill, to wish him here alone, howsoever you speak this to feel other men's minds: methinks I could not die any where so contented as in the king's company; his cause being just and his quarrel honourable.

WILLIAMS: That's more than we know.

BATES: Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know enough, if we know we are the kings subjects: if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.

(UPDATE: Whoa, sorry about the crappy formatting before! When one edited in HTML mode, Blogger used to respect your newlines and so forth: now, in an "improvement," it shows you the newlines on the editing screen, but then wipes them out when you publish!)


  1. Bates' view is very seductive, and easier to believe with a king. The king ostensibly has a claim to the land as his property. All the Republic can claim is to be the rightful managers for 'the people', while they have every incentive to steal us blind. Can you tell I've read Hoppe?

    Anyway, I think Bates' view is seductive because it reduces our responsibility to a smaller sphere. Bates' can live with a sense of unshakeable certainty, and certainty seems to make people much happier than uncertainty.

    1. August, my apologies for the crap formatting you were forced to read through!

  2. "if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us."

    Is the lawful orders defence essential to authority? In rejecting it, did the judges at Nuremberg promote rebellion?

    1. Interesting questions, Crosbie, ones I will be trying to answer.


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