Evaluating authority

A rewritten version of a post from 2012.
Edited Oct 1, 2013


Bruce E. Levine uses the word “anti-authoritarianism” in this article: 


I prefer to call it “evaluating authority”, and when I do so, I’m an authority evaluator.

And I agree with the contents of Levine’s article, even if I disagree with his use of the A word. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.


I prefer pro- to anti-, and consider myself to be pro-responsibility. 


I need to take responsibility for my life. 

Therefore I … 

question whether an authority is legitimate before taking that authority seriously 

assess whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and respect people who are respecting their authority 

and when I assess an authority to be illegitimate, I challenge and resist that authority — sometimes calmly, sometimes aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.

Which has brought me a world of problems from mental health authorities.

And, looking back over the past 25 years, I would have done the same, even if I had known what was going to happen and how deeply I was going to be harmed by Authority for evaluating it.

Because …?

Because I have been in a process of liberation all the time, even if legal mental sabotage caused progress to be glacial at times.

If I had chosen instead to be compliant? A “good patient”?

I think I would have been long dead.

And this, to me, is a misery wrapped in an enema: “Live free or die” in a context of mental health care.

Mental health authorities seem to require unquestioning compliance.

And …

Can unquestioning compliance ever be mentally healthy?

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