It is not Wisdom but Authority that makes a law.

4 min readJun 7, 2024


It is not Wisdom but Authority that makes a law.


Think about this quote for a second. Many people will agree that wisdom should write the law. When a person gets authority first thing they do is to secure their position at any cost. You can find all kinds of laws that exist so the ones in power stay in power. These laws are there not because the people who made them are wise, but because they had the power to do so.


Role of Authority

Authority plays an important role in creating laws and they also have the power to enforce those laws. Authoritarians ensure that people follow the laws without breaking them. Those who try to disrupt the order suffer punishments. Authority is also essential for the legal system to operate properly and it gives a framework for wisdom to operate within the boundaries. Authority plays a significant role in legislation drafting, policy guidance, allocation of resources and lawmaking.

Role of Wisdom

Authority helps to make laws while wisdom defines the quality and use of the law. Wisdom helps to consider factors like social values and ethics in forming a law that will help to maintain order.

Wisdom and lawmaking

Wisdom plays a vital role in making a law, wisdom helps to implement fair laws and ensure the balance within the society.

Wisdom vs Authority

There is a difference between a wise person and the one who managed to get the authority. Compassion and reasoning are the signs of wisdom while authority has rules and mandates. Which society would be better one made by wise people or one made by the people with authority?

Wise men should make laws and authoritarians should enforce those laws. It is human nature to make what they excel in making. At certain points in human history, when wise people were scarce, authority was necessary to maintain order. We took this step to prevent our race from dying. Authorized people use weapons to kill our race but wise people understand how dangerous weapons can be for humanity.

This is why it is every citizen’s responsibility to distinguish if our leaders are leading us by authority or wisdom. When someone starts to struggle for power and you’re also on their side remember to ask yourself, how will that person lead with authority or wisdom?

The struggle of the common man has worth when he tries to do things that weigh over authority and have wisdom behind their struggle. In some places, it is easier to take wise steps and use wisdom than in others. It took great courage to challenge law and authority and ask the authoritarians to throw their absurd laws.

But I do believe that even wise men should not give up authority as a tool and use it. Authoritarians will use it as a first choice while wise will use it as a last choice.

Balance between Wisdom and Authority

To make reasonable and effective laws, we need to balance wisdom and authority. Too much emphasis on either authority or wisdom can lead to unjust laws and disorder in society. So the people responsible for making laws should maintain a balance between two factors to avoid unnecessary discord in society.

Impact of Authority

In history, we have observed occasions where authority dictated laws rather than wisdom. Powerful people dictated over public by forming authoritarian regimes. To maintain order in public, authorities took steps to impose laws.

Current Legal Systems

In today’s world, legal systems incorporate both wisdom and authority. Government or elected officials make laws that contain wisdom, while the establishment helps to enforce these laws with authority.


In today’s world when there is a constant need for adaptation and change, legal systems should also adapt to changing societal values. To achieve this, wisdom and authority need to interact. Society and its people benefit from these types of changes.


The claim that it is not wisdom but authority that makes law highlights an important point of the legal system which is the source of the power of law lies in authority rather than the constitutional wisdom of law itself. No doubt Wisdom is necessary to shape the law but it is authority that helps to enforce a law. Authority and wisdom complement each other. Authority without wisdom is tyranny and wisdom without authority lacks the power to create change.


Q.1: Who quoted, it is not wisdom but authority that makes law?

Thomas Hobbes, a 17th-century English philosopher, said this quote.

Q.2: Can law be wise and authoritative at the same time?

Yes, laws can be both wise and authoritative at the same time, such laws are beneficial to society.

Q.3: How does this concept relate to the current legal system?

In present-day legal systems wisdom helps to create a law and authority helps to enforce it.