A journal of political, social, and other important, possibly even somewhat related affairs, including but not limited to: Central European Society, The European Union, HC Kometa Brno, American Politics, Film, and Beer.

18 May 2007

Questioning Authority

I consider myself as a person who sometimes questions authority, but not usually for its own sake. I think that might be something that defines conservatism. However, if authority is demonstrably pointless, or wrong, then, yeah, I like to mix it up from time to time.

I had a daydream that a policeman actually busted me for crossing the street while the light was red. People, especially of the ‛60s, are convinced that it is absolutely critical to question authority, wherever it might be. In Europe, their questioning has often led to stagnant birthrates, high crime, unemployment, people afraid to discuss their (non-Muslim) faith, and huge state bureaucracies. However, they militantly obey the little red man who tells them to stop when they cross the street. Even if no cars are in sight, they refuse to cross. It is insufferable. They also have a slight tendency to cross when the light is green, even if an ambulance is coming.

If you think of the little red man as a bureaucratic and inefficient waste of time, which gives good advice most of the time, but is sometimes obviously stupid and counterproductive, he is extremely helpful. To endow him with a conscience and the authority to direct your actions is absurd. He is an authority, but ultimately not the authority.

It led me to consider some things. I got to thinking that everyone has a tendency to obey some things, and disobey other things. The purpose of questioning authority should be to challenge truth, in an epistemological attempt to contribute to the generations of human knowledge and wisdom. It is to correct the imperfections of the wisdom of previous generations; it is not to show off.

One's deference to authority should be based on the assumption that there is a reason for "how things are the way they are." Rebellion for its own sake, however, is just immature. Unfortunately, some very old people have not yet grown up.


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