Appeal To Authority…

Authority.  We all know someone who claims to have it.  Our employers, members of our family, churches, and governments.  We beseech it to settle our disputes, and we get angry when it does nothing.  When we go into debate without adequate preparation, we fallaciously appeal to it.  We ask it to show restraint in its own power, and become disappointed when it doesn’t.  We hide actions from it we don’t want it to know about, and react in fear if it finds out.  This shadow in the darkness with dark nicknames like Big Brother and The Nanny.  We’ve obviously developed some sort of attachment to this beast, but is it healthy?  Let’s look at what authority really is.

One of my best friends once responded to an ultimatum with, “Who gave you the authority?” No one.  Authority is never given.  It is taken.  But, I wasn’t entirely correct when I said that.  It’s a bit more complicated.  For if authority is always taken, we’d all have it, and no one would have any more power than anyone else.  So, what is it?

It’s imaginary.  Authority doesn’t really exist.  Like monetary value, evil, and bipolar disorder, authority is a concept made up by those who wish to control other people.  And, more often than not, these people can’t even run their own lives, let alone everyone else’s.  Cambridge Dictionary defines authority as, “the moral or legal right or ability to control.”  Well, considering no one has this moral right, that negates legality, and renders the concept imaginary.  So, if there is no authority, how do people maintain power with it?

Remember what I said before?  Authority is taken.  In order to have the actual ability to control people, there are two variables that both have to be affirmed.  The first is that you must take the authority.  Step up and assert it.  The second is that the people must acknowledge your authority.  This part is a bit trickier, unless you’re already in a position that the people acknowledge.  If you’re replacing an established seat of power, it will be easy because previous bums in that seat have done the work.  If you’re creating a new one, it’s not so easy.  You have to convince the people you wish to control that you have the right to control them.  It requires major manipulation.

Now, I’ve been around and I talk to an awful lot of people in very short periods of time.  People I don’t know, outside of the brief conversation, and who have no bias for or against me.  Sometimes I use this situation to conduct some unofficial polls.  The sample size is large.  No question there.  However, I don’t keep an official count, so I can’t use numbers.  So, according to these polls, an overwhelming majority of people are in favour of taking down the governments of the world.  However, an underwhelming minority of these same people are willing to be involved in such a coup de tat.  And why is that?

I have compared the large number people that fall into the overlap (in favour of a revolution they are unwilling to fight) to a battered wife.  A battered wife gets slapped around daily by her abusive husband, but yet refuses to leave him.  She professes to hate it, but it usually takes a tragic catalyst to finally get her to leave, despite the fact that she knows the probability that life is better outside the relationship is in her favour.  I have had experience with such women, and getting them to leave, while possible, is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced.  Do I have the energy to get all these people abused by a government they refuse to leave to finally walk out on them?  I don’t know.  I hope so.

I got in an argument with a person who remained anonymous about a Mr. Jean Mercier’s quote on in his signature on the Skype forums.  I don’t know if the quote belongs to Mr. Mercier, but he was the only one I’ve seen with it, “Only one guy deserves the death penalty: the one who invented countries, borders, nationalities, visas and passports!”  The anonymous user said it was the most idiotic statement he’d ever seen and accused Mr. Mercier of being a “leftist.”  Apparently the anonymous person didn’t know that the left of the political spectrum is in favour of government getting involved in everything (hence the term liberal).  The quote is as liberal as it is political.  It is anarchistic.  And calling anarchism a political view is like calling bald a hair colour.

With the exception of the “one guy” part, that is fairly accurate for a byte of its length.  We all know one guy can’t invent all that.  That was a combination of several of those people who seek to control people by asserting their own authority.  But, also, even if we were to retroactively execute all of those people, I’m fairly sure there are others who deserve it.  The existence of countries, authority has ruined a number of lives so large it will likely never be known.  That is a massive crime.  And to continue to live under another’s authority is being complicit in this crime.  You must stop acknowledging authority.  It’s the only way to eliminate it.

So, rather than an appeal to authority, let’s simply appeal the concept of authority, and I’m certain we can then all repeal authority.  We don’t need a moderator in our lives.  We don’t need to be dependent on something larger than us because such a thing will surely cause us more damage than it could ever do us good.  And keep in mind, when the authority spends money on you, it can only do that because it stole it from you first.

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