Authority has become far too full of its own self-importance. This is both a global and a domestic issue. It has shed any true sense of responsibility, respect and accountability in favour of dominance and self-aggrandisement and treats those who are subject to it as little more than a burden, an irksome chore. Authority should be regarded as an honour, not a sacred right, whether it is bestowed on parent, carer, teacher, law enforcement, government or church. To have the power of authority is the highest realm of privilege and yet we see it squandered and abused every day, by powerful individuals, organisations and institutions. We are enveloped by an oppressive smog of smugness and superiority. Those to whom we give authority, those whose salaries we pay, have become our burden. Those in authority are corrupt and corrupting, immoral and moralising, judgmental and inadequate. We are governed and policed, not by consent, but by destructive power-hungry ideologues.
Our home-grown legislators are selective: one rule for ‘them’; another for ‘us’. Corruption is exposed to slow or no avail and there is now not one single institution that is not mired in ethical and procedural scandal and malfeasance. The global corporations and financial institutions run amok, marauding around the planet, vacuuming up our essential resources à la Cosa Nostra while their regulators appear to do little more than lounge on sofas in anticipation of being fed seedless grapes. The Powers That Be do not like our anger, our frustration, our righteous indignation. They like us cowed, confused, quiet and obedient. They are terrified of the People, threatened by the light now shining on their incompetence, their collusion and their shortsighted intransigence.
Authority is also about the supply of and dependence on reliable information or evidence: the ‘authorised version’. How enlightened does this authority want us to be? The Mainstream News is also very selective. How many stories have been told too late, or not told at all? How many times has an important speech or press conference been completely ignored or cut short just as it got to the Q&A? How many protests have been hushed up or played down? How many times have you witnessed Sky News choose adverts over a moment of huge national or global interest? How much time and space is devoted to Celebrity and other modern banalities and how often are they presented as the headline while the world implodes around us? Sympathetic, deferential, even sycophantic journalism is a balm to the harridans and a plague on the governed. The news is too often incapable of providing the facts – that requires research and time, and time means money and facts mean accountability. It means crossing those with whom you have cosy relationships. Why check the facts, why challenge when you have already either surrendered your authority to theirs or you are just another branch of the same old tree? We are to be enlightened just enough to swallow mostly crap, it would seem.
Authoritarianism is a traditional consequence of panic and fear and threat to a desire for outright control. The Powers That Be cannot guarantee acquiescence to the prescribed mindset and so the populace cannot be trusted. Dissent and independent thought are suddenly the products of a morally deprived mind. Obedience must be sought and enforced. Isn’t this our current direction of travel? Those with the power are employing dangerously divisive, provocative tactics: they finger point, draw outlandish comparisons, extrapolate wildly, dissemble and fabricate – anything to distract or subdue us, as and when necessary. When Authority has to micro-manage its environment and scrutinise the lives of its citizens like this, it has already demonstrated a loss of faith in them. When the citizens lose trust they have no mechanism for withdrawing their consent except impotent protest and civil disobedience which may carry considerable personal risk. This alone should be a signal to us that we are already well on our way to losing our freedom.
The notion of Order at all costs, a sense of Divine Right to Rule, has not gone away. God, Order, Degree are still used and abused for the convenience of those seeking control. In fact they are becoming increasingly pronounced again. Much of our world horizon is bound by governance and too-bigs-to-fail, global and domestic, which manufacture and promote fear, greed and instability through the same, ruthless determination to preserve a status quo which especially benefits them. Government is a home-grown terrorist, masquerading as a servant of the electorate’s best interests. Faith in the current crop of knotweed is ill-judged. Authority has succumbed to the corruption of integrity and soul. It provides a platform for those with the power and the will to abuse Power and Will. That kind of power has nothing to do with God, Democracy, Progress or a life worth living.
The political is personal; the personal is political. Their authority is granted under a contract of permission – they are under our authority. Claiming disinterest or ignorance of arguments which determine the very frameworks of all our lives is reckless unless you live a self-sustaining existence on a far away planet. It’s a denial of reality, born of sleep or disempowerment.
Authority is showing us no respect, no accountability – no honour. We, The People: we are not the enemy – we are the nation. When we don’t trust ‘them’ and they don’t trust ‘us’, well that produces a very narrow space in time in which to capture the advantage and become the rightful authorities of our countries and ourselves. There is a line where impending reality overrides the fear of consequence, usually at the point of having nothing to lose. It’s the 21st Century and it still continues to rhyme grotesquely with all our histories. Are we really all just waiting for it to get worse, or are we waiting for some sort of permission? It’s our world too.