Rockwell – In government, authority is often used interchangeably with the term “power”. However, their meanings differ: while “power” is defined as ‘the ability to influence somebody to do something that (s)he could not have done’, “authority” refers to a claim of legitimacy, the justification and right to exercise that power.
Most major religious groups have always considered God as the supreme authority. Many religious texts have considered God to have an authority and wisdom that is infinitely superior to any human authority or wisdom: see LORD. The source or reason behind this authority usually involves tremendous power and compassion, along with primacy in the physical and spiritual realms. That which is divine is usually thought of as the creator and therefore, superior to ordinary creatures.
Legitimate authority is that which is recognized as legitimate and justified by both the ruler and the ruled. It can be divided into three types:
1.) Rational-legal authority: is that form of authority which depends for its legitimacy on formal rules and established laws of the state, which are usually written down and are often very complex.
2.) Traditional authority: which derives from long-established customs, habits and social structures.
3.) Charismatic authority: is that authority which is derived from “the gift of grace” or when the leader claims that his authority is derived from a “higher power” or “inspiration”, that is superior to both the validity of traditional and rational-legal authority and followers accept this and are willing to follow this higher or inspired authority, in the place of the authority that they have hitherto been following. – Wikipedia on authority
Roles of Authority
Parents to their Child(ren) – For the first eighteen years of the child’s life, s/he must do as her/his parents ask. Some children refuse to acknowledge their parents authority, but the law makes no distinction one way or another, the parents are liable. In return for allowing the parents leadership, the children recieve food, shelter, clothing, education, comfort, etc. Parents recieve the right worry, modify behavior, give and take away privledges, and spoil grandchildren.
Commanding Officers to Soldiers – When lives are on the line, it’s up to the C.O. to relate his superiors commands and complete operations all the while minmizing loss of life. Soldiers who refuse to listen to their C.O. not only risk their own lives, but compromise the safety of other soldiers. Not only does his authority come from his superiors, but his years of experience also add to his authority.
President of the U.S. of A. to the citizen – The president’s authority comes from the citizens, but he is also under our authority as a chosen representative. In return for being a target for assassins, he gets the pay and respect due for his work. We get something out of the deal, I’m not quite sure what or if it’s a good thing.
Owners to Renters – As per terms of their agreement, renters must look to owners to make changes or to maintain the property in question. Should renters fail their part of the bargain, they might find themselves looking for a new residence.
Elders to the Young – While a grandparent may have authority over a grandchild in terms of guardianship, in most cases the elderly are afforded respect but not to the degree they once recieved. a Youtube video illustrates this point. An elderly woman is crossing the street. a man in a convertible is honking his horn constantly. The woman uses her bag to hit the front of the car. The car’s air bag goes off, hitting the driver in the head. Were this taking place say fifty years ago, the driver of the car would have gotten out of the car and helped the elderly woman across the street at her pace, all the while conversing about the weather.