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Power and Authority . . . One and the Same?

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by Michael Peroutka, the Institute on the Constitution

Is there a difference between the power to do something and the authority to do it?

If an armed intruder bursts into the restaurant where you are dining and begins to order you and others around at gunpoint, can we say that he has the power to command you to obey, but not the rightful authority to do so?

What if the armed intruder is wearing a badge? Does the badge confer authority on him even though he displays it in order to steal?

Could we say that someone wearing an official badge, who uses it to steal the property of others or to intimidate them is actually an “outlaw” – that is – someone acting “outside the law”?

If you were a sheriff or a police officer or a soldier, who had taken an oath to obey the Constitution, including the right of the people to keep and carry guns, would you obey an order of a superior officer who tells you to violate the supreme law of the land?

If you are a State Trooper or a sheriff or a police officer, do you plan to allow your state governor or Barack Obama to make you into an outlaw? Will you be true to your oath, or will you be so scared of losing your salary or your pension that you are willing to lose your soul?

The time is fast approaching when one will need to decide from whence their authority comes. The people of America are about to discover whether public servants are men of their word, who will follow their oath before God, or whether they are frauds, a disgrace, failures who would misuse their badges to enslave their own people.