Saturday, February 04, 2017


Ben Davis has an interesting comment on sovereignty at Jesus Creed, where he reviews a book called Divine Providence by Bruce Reichenbach.

Sovereignty, he suggests, invokes the image of a political relationship, namely, that between a governing ruler and the governed. On this score, not everything that happens aligns with the governors will, nor does he/she get to determine the outcome of everything they want. The scope of the governor’s rule is set by the freedom allowed for their people. If significant freedom is granted, then it stands to reason that the governor is limited in their range of action – assuming, of course, they continue to respect the integrity of this arrangement. Thus, “In granting significant freedom to their subjects, sovereigns make it possible for their authority and will to be freely obeyed and also freely resisted,” Reichenbach notes. Furthermore, “If sovereigns command their subjects to do some act and if the subjects are free, they can refuse – although at the same time they must bear the consequences of their refusal.”

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