Questioning Authority

A few days ago, a good friend and I had our weekly yogurt meeting and continued our often-spirited, yet cordial, debates. One topic that we continued discussing was whether anarchism would work.

He argued that society requires a central authority to protect us from predators, enemies, and so forth; otherwise, there would be chaos.

I argued that giving all the power to a few people is dangerous because it takes all the power out of our hands and gives it to those whose interests probably do not coincide with ours.

My friend doesn’t believe anarchism would work because he has been conditioned to think so by the very same authority he believes is serving his best interests.

Why is it wrong to question authority? We are electing officials–public servants–to represent us. Their decisions represent our decisions, so we should have an interest in how they decide to do things. Why is it wrong to question why we are declaring war on other countries or cutting funding for public education? We should not follow blindly because some authority figure says it’s okay or because it’s the law. We should all be actively participate in our society, but we don’t because we have been conditioned not to do so.

What is to say that we wouldn’t build strong communities that can co-exist with one another? Certainly, people would not kill each other, steal from each other, harm each other if we lived in a society with no central authority to regulate the laws that they create and enforce by their own interpretation. What is wrong with promoting strong community bonds, giving gifts, and helping each other?

Private property is an interesting idea. We have been conditioned to believe that having more is better than not having anything. While I’m not saying anarchism has all the answers, I am certainly arguing that it’s not wrong to question those who have all the power.

One thought on “Questioning Authority

  1. Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
    It is like a sliding scale, the more power structures, social institutions, technology, and civilization in general, the more social stratification. Hence the more divided the society and the more unequal power relationships. Take a hard look at one of man’s domination obsessions ‘Man’s Domination over Nature’ sure it has enabled society at large to do many things, but at what cost, gross environmental damage, dwindling resources, inefficient and unsustainable consumption. Capitalism and its corresponding hierarchical structure based on who has money and who doesn’t, and that money transferring quite directly into power, has allowed us to organize labor based on the wishes of who control capital to effectively allow ‘Man to Dominate Human Nature’. At what cost again? Gross mental anguish, breakdown of healthy family relationships, removing man from his proper relationship to his environment. Also how effective is capitalism at providing efficient use human productivity? Mass unemployment, food shortages, riots, recessions, depressions, inflation, all are the cost of doing business according to the owners of capitalism, but directly detrimental to the person/ the laborer. Is there a meritocracy in our so-called freedom based capitalist democracy? No, many educated are underemployed by people who lack half of the education of their peers. It seems to be all about who you know, rather than what you know. The real question prepossessing the ANARCHY argument is what is our world like? and is this fair? is it fair to ourselves? Who is making it not fair? And who ever allowed them into power over ourselves and our immediate and local environment?

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