Respecting Authority

I have written elsewhere that the meme that runs the show is authority worship ' in any manifestation ' but the 2,000-year-old lie that fuels the meme is that freedom is a subset of submission to authority, that we are free only within the context of the clan, upon the strength (security) of the clan, by virtue of the clan, and, therefore, through subordination to the clan (from which all blessings flow).

The authority meme is not directly fueled by anyone's particular "love" of external authority. This is inherently repugnant to every human being, upon their very soul and vital spark. Submitting to external authority has the same warm glow as being raped and sodomized. The authority meme functions, rather, through a compromise . . . a "yeah, but . . . ." excuse, argument, rationalization that is fueled by the premise that we must have submission to authority in order to have freedom; acknowledging the contradiction, but living with it on the conviction (of years of brainwashing) that the kind of freedom that Jesus talked about is impractical (the guy didn't know what he was talking about), and that Saul's structure of freedom through subordination to the clan/state/religion has proven effective (?!) for more than 2,000 years . . . and a lot of other "factual" rationalizations to the same effect.

I am going to cite three references to show how liberty works. One is the free marketplace, which (in a real free market) miraculously supplies quality goods at cheap prices in abundance and variety ' to the amazement and dismay of authority-worshippers. A second is the response of free human beings to the needs of their fellows in natural disasters, which is immediate, practical, effective and respectful ' to the chagrin and befuddlement of authority-worshippers. The third is Jesus of Nazareth who lived upon his own authority with submission to no one ' to the awe and resentment of authority-worshippers.

The authority-worshippers do not believe that we can "depend" upon such free actions to achieve these results ' reliably. They believe that we must control the market, the situation, and individual human beings. They believe that submission is critical to all aspects of life . . . precisely in order to achieve all of those kinds of outcomes which liberty provides, effortlessly and naturally without any control-over at all. I cannot imagine why they believe this, except for extreme childhood abuse of one form or another, resulting in severe damage to their personal autonomy and perception of others. Historic pedagogy has reinforced this damage repeatedly, with demented calls for "disciplining" the untamed child, demanding submission to authority from birth. (Honestly, many of the 18th Century childrearing books called for beating infants ' babies ' until they were black and blue . . . childrearing practices that have been, alas, universal.) (For detailed reference, see Alice Miller, the single most comprehensive pioneer in this field since 1980.)

My point is that freedom without submission to authority is no more a faith-based principle than what happens in a free marketplace, or a natural disaster in a free land, or a person who chooses to live at liberty and "trust" in the universe. None of these consequences are esoteric Oriental mystiques. They are natural, logical and inevitable consequences of respect for the sovereign authority of the individual human being.

A patriarch, fuehrer, comptroller or institution subverts your natural autonomy and, therewith, subverts the natural order of things in the universe, requiring endless patches to reestablish a semblance of what would exist if the sovereign autonomy of the individual were not violated, but were respected, from birth ' peace, brotherhood, creativity, productivity, abundance, joy, love, and vitality; in sum: humanity as it is at root. You cannot achieve any of these things by submission to authority; for submission to authority kills each, any and all of these things across the board, and leaves us to makeshift with artificial constructions that will never come close to anything human, but only require further submission, and a chronic lessening of our humanity over time. (And many more beatings "for our own good," that we may see the "error of our willful ways.")

The authority meme is across-the-board. It can never achieve or even simulate anything that is humane . . . it can only lead to misery, suffering, poverty, war, brutality, and slavery. It is not a "compromise for freedom." It is, at every minor occurrence, a complete capitulation to hell.

If the free market fails, or if people abuse victims of natural disasters instead of helping them, or if "free" people run amok violating the autonomy of others . . . then somewhere someone has attempted to control the situation by usurping the sovereign authority of the individual. This is the only possible source of human disaster, degeneracy, or destruction.

Would we better off without rulers, without government agencies, without public education, without corporations, without public (services, housing, banks, money supply, hospitals, foundations, et. al.)? The answer is a great big: Duh.

I'm not asking you to think. I am saying that if you resist giving up submission to authority ' in any area of your life ' then, please ' for your sake and mine ' get help. You are damaged. Your humanity has been violated (and you are continuing to perpetrate the abuse upon yourself and others). I know it's hard. Most "professional" therapists available today are government trained/sponsored/vetted and usually corrupt; religious counselors are deranged at the same critical point. But try anyway.

What has been lost, most critically, is our own recognition of and respect for our autonomous sovereignty. It is not merely a question of our political freedom; this is actually a minor component. In our readiness and willingness to submit to external authority ' in exchange for tidbits of security, protection, rights or comfort, mostly delusory ' we have lost our dignity and betrayed our humanity.

What's missing from your life ' and what the brass rings you chase after symbolize ' is respect for authority: Specifically, respect for the sovereign authority of the individual, starting with your own.

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Richard Rieben's picture
Columns on STR: 14

Richard Rieben was a world traveler, house remodeler, and sometime author and philosopher. The thesis of his manifesto, Reciprocia, is, briefly: “Sovereignty is the base; reciprocity defines how to make it work.” Aside from harping incessantly on the theme of liberty, he led a fairly normal life in middle America, where he scouted for silver-linings. His internet articles are featured at  He passed away sometime after 2005.