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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Authority as an excuse for complacency

Authority as an excuse for complacency


"I thought you knew what you were doing..."
One of the principles of being on the bus, in the class or in your seat is that you are along for the ride. The teacher/boss/driver knows what he's doing, just shut up and sit still.
Apparently, we have come to embrace this. It's safer, and easier too. With this worldview, all blame clearly goes to the people in charge, and powerlessness is a seductive habit.
What a shame.
In an industrial setting, giving up our independence in exchange for eager compliance can lead to productivity and thus success. As that age fades, though, our habit of surrender might not pay off.
The internet is an organizing tool, a connection to billions of others. We've been given a keyboard and a megaphone, a way to change the story or the election or the policy. The authority that comes from asset ownership or experience is worth less than ever before, but we are often eager to defer to it, even when we know that the authority is wrong.
No one can force you to stand up, speak up and make a difference. But if you back off and play along, please understand that whatever happens happened, at least in part, because you acquiesced.