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Deference To Authority

August 18, 2015

I’ve been wanting to write this entry for awhile but have had trouble figuring out how I wanted to frame it: super angry and confrontational or sarcastic and smarmy. Anyway, I don’t bow down to authority. I don’t give authority figures undue deference or the like. I think the jingoistic fantasies of police officers is disgusting and our constant worship of the military is embarrassing. Before I start off, I don’t have an irrational hatred of the police or military–in fact I have known some really great policemen and women and soldiers and I’ve also known some that have hate boners for everyone not them.

That said: I won’t bow down and respect them just because they wear badges or uniforms. This seems disrespectful, but I’ve always been of the opinion that respect needs to be earned. Giving respect to a group that hasn’t earned it…well…you see the results every day in our media; we call cops heroes without them being truly heroic outside of one bad day in 2001 and all the sudden they’re all heroes and should be praised. No. The ones that died are the heroes and the ones that lived were heroic, not everyone that puts on a badge or uniform.

See, hero worship is great when the hero is a comic book superhero because it’s fantasy and no one gets hurt. In real life hero worship opens the average citizen up to being blithely unaware of corruption or not respecting how deep that corruption goes and how your real ‘hero’ isn’t a hero at all, but someone that routinely brutalizes the average citizen for disrespecting the badge. And to cover up for this dissonance the hero worshiper will rationalize, “If only they had listened!” And not, “There was no reason to shoot that man/woman/child!”

Same with the military. Bowing down to respect them because of their profession is really an asinine behavior and only encourages abuse by the people wearing the uniform. I’m not saying they’re all like this or that all police are corrupt, but when you take it from respecting the individual to respecting the group, it allows for a dissonance again: why did a soldier kill or rape or turn out to be a kiddie diddler? Well, that’s just one person but the group as a whole is still good! And they’re right: it is just one person, but when it continues to be ‘just one person’ there’s something seriously wrong here and your ‘respect’ of the badge and uniform has allowed some seriously awful shit to go unpunished.

Fair enough, and the ‘one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch’ is a load of shit. Dunno how many of you have handled produce, but yeah, one bad apple does spoil the bunch. I’m not saying that we can’t have an appreciation for how hard these jobs can be at times. But undue respect is foolish and unnecessary and I sometimes feel like a bad American for these views because…hey…most everyone bows down and gobbles the military’s knob or respects the police for the truly dangerous job they do. But on the scale of life threatening jobs being a police officer doesn’t even crack the top 10 (spoiler alert: number 1 are loggers).

So, on the scale of life threatening it’s…actually not the worst. You also have a union that allows criminals to go free and will protect you till the end and the pension’s fairly decent from what I hear. Also, the presumption of innocence by juries is fine, too. I’m not saying not to respect what your friends or family members do, I’m really not. But I’m arguing to respect them on an individual level and to treat the groups with a little more skepticism than we’re currently accustomed to.

I realize that this is changing for police thanks to their own incompetence, but they still get a pass in society as a whole. Soo…yeah: be more skeptical, be more thoughtful, and recognize when something is truly rotten in Denmark. That’s really all it takes to keep abuses from happening. And for disclosure: I do trust the military slightly more than I trust the police because while, there are numerous issues with our armed forces, they still have a harsher justice system than any police officer will ever face in their lifetime.

I don’t believe in giving in to group-think or sacrificing individuality for the sake of the group and to have your own opinions on things. Giving groups the ability to crowd out free thought is pretty dangerous and we allow it on a daily basis, sadly.

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