Structures of authority are not self-justifying
i don’t think we’re smart enough to design in any detail what a perfectly just and free society would be like. i think we can give some guidelines and, more significantly, we can ask how we can progress in that direction. John dewey, the leading social philosopher, argued that until all institutions— production, commerce, media—are under participatory democratic control, we will not have a functioning democratic society. as he put it, “policy will be the shadow cast by business over society.” Well, it’s essentially true. Where there are structures of authority, domination, and hierarchy—somebody gives the orders and somebody takes them—they are not self-justifying. They have to justify themselves. They have a burden of proof to meet. if you take a close look, usually you find they can’t justify themselves. If they can’t, we ought to be dismantling them—trying to expand the domain of freedom and justice by dismantling that form of illegitimate authority. That’s another task for an organized, committed, dedicated population: not just to regulate them, but to ask why they’re there. This comes straight out of the libertarian element of the enlightenment and classical liberal thought. it’s also the core principle of anarchism, but that’s democracy as well.
–From requeim For the american dream by Noam Chomsky (Seven Stories Press, 2017)