Tag Archives: authority

Why And When You Should Have A Problem With Authority

 

 

Modern Western culture is obsessed with leadership and authority. It’s shoved in your face from the time you’re born. Parents have godlike legal powers over their children, and schools have almost as much control over the movements and behavior of students as prisons have over prisoners. Going through school the brightest students are sent to leadership clubs, courses, and conventions. Businesses force employees to sign contracts that bind them to submit to the authority of their employer as if their employer were their king. Inside and outside of your home, school, and workplace your government forces you to obey laws written at the whim of politicians and enforced by police and military personnel. Every government’s public relations departments encourage its citizens to have faith in their political leaders and to believe that questioning your leaders is a sign of lack of respect for everything your country stands for.

If you don’t fall in line and obey your leaders you’ll be told that you “have a problem with authority” as if that were a sign of weakness and immaturity on your part. That point of view overlooks the fact that, from a cosmic perspective, all people were created equal. You’re not equal once you reach 18, get married, get a degree, get commissioned or elected. Everyone is always completely equal. There’s no way to earn the right to demand unquestioning obedience and reverence from other people with less age, or social, economic or political credentials than you. You can demand unquestioning obedience from other human beings, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to. That just means you’ve chosen to treat other people like a second class citizen to you. You can come up with all sorts of reasons to justify your actions that sound good on paper, but in the end, you’re justifying the unethical subjugation of your equals.

Granted, parents have a responsibility to raise their children to their full potential, and this requires discipline. School teachers have to maintain good order in classrooms in order to facilitate learning. Police have to maintain order on the streets, and politicians have to set boundaries for everyone within their jurisdiction. Life has to have rules because good rules are nothing more than good advice for how to fulfill your potential, and when an entire population follows those best practices, then society as a whole is able to accomplish greater things.

The thing about rules is that they were created by humans to help humans. Humans were not created by a dogmatic authority figure to follow rules. When a rule is illogical and counterproductive it negates its purpose for existing. Also, rules don’t draw their validity from the authority figure who wrote them. When a king, elected politician, police officer, teacher or parent tell another human being that they have to obey and respect their authority simply because they’ve been imbued with the right to control another human being they’re really just forcing you into submission to serve their own purposes. When an authority figure’s rules or orders are illogical, then the source of their authority is negated.

When an entire population mindlessly kneels before their self-proclaimed leaders they create a culture of servitude which undermines their own ability and responsibility to fulfill their individual potential. Plus, the next generation of humans who will grow up in this culture will assume that willful subservience is the norm. So they’ll mimic their elders’ beliefs and behaviors and pass them onto the next generation. In the process, they’ll also spoil their leaders into thinking that their ability to control others equates to their right to. This arrogance will inevitably blind them and cause them to behave irrationally, and since they’re steering society they’ll steer society in a counterproductive direction.

Celebrating and revering other human beings’ authority over you is equivalent to celebrating your own subjugation, and celebrating your own subjugation is immature and irresponsible because it limits your (and society’s) ability to fulfill your potential. It would be illogical and counterproductive to will that everyone should obey their self-proclaimed masters.You simply can’t make a categorical imperative out of this behavior

On the flip side, if nobody follows any rules then society will devolve into chaos, but that doesn’t mean that you have to choose between being a mindless slave or a marauding bandit. Just rules are based on just reason. The most utopian individuals are the most reasonable individuals, and the most utopian societies are based on reason. You have an obligation to think and behave reasonably regardless of what anyone else insists is reasonable. History has taught us that authority figures aren’t perfect. Despite their credentials, and because of the arrogance they tend to draw from their credentials, they can act as irrationally as anyone else.  Mindlessly obeying them is like giving a monkey a gun. Every tyrannical dictator who ever has and ever will set the world back was and will be held aloft by legions of faithful supporters who equate obedience with maturity. Tyranny cannot exist unless good men follow orders. So if you don’t have a problem with authority then you are the problem.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
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Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
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Self-Subjugation Is Not A Virtue

Respect is for those who deserve it, not for those who demand it."

 

Every culture on earth teaches its young that it’s virtuous to place certain people above them. We’re supposed to call our parents, elders, the police, teachers and bosses “sir” and “ma’am.” We’re supposed to address judges and politicians as “your honorable” or “the honorable.” We’re supposed to address anyone with a doctorate degree as “doctor.” We’re even supposed to call priests “father.” Aside from using titles to distinguish these people as being superior to us, we were taught not to talk back to them and obey them without question. Some languages even have formal speech patterns lower ranking members of society are supposed to use when talking to higher ranking members.

We’re told we’re supposed to subjugate ourselves to our superiors out of respect, but that justification ignores several profound truths. Firstly, we were all created equal. We have equal value and deserve equal respect because the value of a human life isn’t determined by social status; it’s determined entirely by the fact that we’re alive. We can believe in equality, but that belief is meaningless if we’re not all treated equally.

Even if higher ranking members of society have accomplished something in their lives worth bragging about, that doesn’t mean that everyone else has done something wrong by being born later, poorer, or less academically inclined. One person’s success in life isn’t someone else’s failure and doesn’t indebt others to them.

The people who enjoy the privilege of titles will insist there’s nothing sinister about expecting others to treat them with respect, but that claim is proven false by what happens if you don’t subjugate yourself to them: you get punished.

The best example of this is the power dynamic between military officers and enlisted troops. Enlisted troops are told to salute officers out of respect, but if they don’t then they get punished. They’ll keep getting punished until they conform to the rules or get kicked out of the military with a bad conduct discharge that will keep them from getting a good job for the rest of their lives. So enlisted troops can salute officers out of respect if they want, but they have to salute them out of fear.

 

"We salute the rank, not the man." Richard Winters

 

Anyone who threatens to punish you for not massaging their ego is placing you beneath them, which is disrespectful to you and disregards your equal status to them in the eyes of God and the cosmic perspective.

Military and civilian leaders alike will defend their actions and expectations by asserting that forced respect is necessary to instill discipline, maturity and good order in society. Every cult leader and dictator in history will agree that it’s necessary to convince the lower ranking majority of society that blind respect for their superiors is necessary to ensure good order, but their idea of good order is being worshipped and served like gods forever by the toiling masses who will never have any real hope of upward mobility.

No honest psychologist would argue that wilful self-subjugation is a vital step towards self-actualization. It is a long-established fact that forced respect is a step towards battered person syndrome though.

Enthusiastically subjugating yourself to anyone isn’t a sign of maturity. It’s a sign of captivity. It doesn’t make you into a better person. It makes you into a servile person, and the more you practice it the more you normalize subservience in your mind until you take it for granted. Then, at the end of your life, you won’t be able to turn around and realize it was never preparing you for your turn at being a leader. It was just indoctrinating you into spending your life serving others. And an entire society that thinks this way isn’t progressing towards an enlightened utopia; it’s regressing into a stratified dystopian society where the powerful and privileged exploit everyone else.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also like these:

 

Growing up and Becoming You
Happiness and Peace
Self-Esteem
Health
Drugs and Addiction
Achieving a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Leadership and Authority
My Tweets About Self-Help

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