Power and Obedience
So if every one is supposed to govern himself and his own affairs and not steal the power of others or cede his own power to someone else – what is obedience for? Christians particularly may wonder about this, given scriptural admonitions about obedience.
Obedience is not giving your power to someone else and it is certainly not allowing anyone else to take your power – the coherence of your soul, your will. Obedience is the only civilized way of wielding someone else’s power on their behalf, as their steward. This is the only sense in which wives are spoken of as being obedient – as a sort of glorified steward of their husband’s affairs, his power. Trusted with someone else’s resources and earnings, it is proper to do with them what that someone wishes. (This has a lot to do with domestic arrangements in ancient society.) In regard to their own persons and affairs wives have always been meant to be their own mistresses. Yet a husband and a wife are one another’s affairs in a special way so that in regard to intimacy, mutual obedience (not slavishness, but gentleness, generosity, and a willingness to unbend) are necessary.
Christianity envisions a society in which something of this willingness, this generosity, is extended to all. But the minute this kind of giving is enforceable, it is no longer Christian love. God loves a cheerful giver; love is free and only free hearts can love. This is why welfare and socialism are abominable – they remove nearly all opportunity to practice Christian love, replacing it with a badly organized, brutally enforced substitute.