it is not wisdom but authority that makes a law. t — tymoff

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4 min readOct 4, 2023



In the realm of law and governance, T. Tymoff’s thought-provoking quote, It is Not Wisdom But Authority That Makes a Law,” has sparked considerable debate and contemplation. This aphorism challenges our conventional notions about the foundations of legal systems and invites us to delve deeper into the dynamics of authority, wisdom, and their intersection in shaping the laws that govern societies.

Authority and Law Enforcement: it is not wisdom but authority that makes a law. t — tymoff On the other hand, it is impossible to disregard the part that authority plays in creating and upholding laws. Governments and legislatures create laws, and they also have the power to have law enforcement agents carry out this enforcement. Authorities make sure that laws are followed and that those who break them suffer the penalties. For society to remain orderly and avoid chaos, this is crucial.

However, the quote by It is Not Wisdom But Authority That Makes a Law. T- Tymoff

argues that the implementation of unfair or oppressive laws can result from authority alone, without the support of knowledge and fairness. Laws may not be in the best interests of the people they rule when they are just based on the whims of the powerful.

The Authority Dilemma

The Power of Legislation

At first glance, it might seem that the essence of law lies in its wisdom, derived from the collective knowledge and moral compass of a society. However, a closer examination reveals that authority plays a pivotal role in the creation and enforcement of laws.

Authority vs. Wisdom

The Role of Authority

Authority, often vested in governing bodies or individuals, possesses the legal and institutional power to establish and maintain laws. This authority is essential for the functioning of any legal system, as it provides the framework within which wisdom can operate.

The Wisdom Factor

While authority sets the stage, wisdom contributes to the quality and fairness of the laws. Wisdom encompasses ethical considerations, societal values, and the ability to foresee consequences, all of which are vital in crafting just and equitable legislation.

The Interplay between Authority and Wisdom

Striking a Balance

To achieve effective and just laws, a delicate balance between authority and wisdom is necessary. Overemphasis on authority may result in oppressive or unjust laws, while an overemphasis on wisdom might lead to a lack of enforceability and societal order.

Historical Perspectives

The Influence of Authority

Throughout history, we can observe instances where laws were dictated by authoritarian regimes, emphasizing authority over wisdom. These regimes often imposed laws to maintain control, even if they were not inherently just or wise.

Wisdom-Led Reforms

Conversely, some pivotal moments in history have witnessed the triumph of wisdom over mere authority. Reforms driven by the collective wisdom and moral conscience of society have led to the revision of unjust laws.

Contemporary Applications

Modern Legal Systems

In today’s world, democracies and legal systems are designed to incorporate both authority and wisdom. Elected representatives create laws based on the wisdom of the people, while institutions uphold these laws with their authority.

Ethical Considerations

The Moral Imperative

Contemporary discussions on law often revolve around ethical considerations. Laws should not only be authoritative but also reflect the collective wisdom and values of the society they govern.

Adaptation and Change

In an ever-evolving world, legal systems must adapt to changing societal norms and values. This requires a dynamic interplay between authority and wisdom to ensure that laws remain relevant and just.


In conclusion, T. Tymoff’s assertion that “It is Not Wisdom But Authority That Makes a Law” encapsulates the complex relationship between these two elements in the realm of law. While authority provides the legal framework, wisdom is the moral compass that guides the creation of just and equitable laws. The ideal legal system is one that harmoniously balances these two aspects, recognizing that both are indispensable for the well-being of society.

FAQs it is not wisdom but authority that makes a law. t — tymoff

The adage “It is not wisdom but authority that makes a law” was first used by who?

Thomas Hobbes, a philosopher from the 17th century, is frequently credited with coining the expression in his book “Leviathan.”

2. How may wisdom be applied to contemporary law?

In order to establish just and equitable laws, legal experts, advisory panels, and public participation can all contribute to wisdom in modern lawmaking.

3. What happens when wisdom is ignored when drafting laws?

When authority takes precedence over wisdom, there is a risk of passing unjust or unfair laws, which could cause social unrest and discontent.

4. Can laws shift from being based on authority to being based on wisdom?

Yes, by including citizen participation, professional counsel, and ethical concerns in the drafting of laws, legal systems can advance toward a more wisdom-driven approach.

5. How does this idea affect societal perceptions of justice?

The way that authority and wisdom interact while drafting laws has a significant impact on how society views justice. Achieving the ideal balance guarantees that laws are just, fair, and in the best interests of all societal members.



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