A Reader’s Belief

"Free oneself from an irrational belief in our need for authority."


Fifth Estate # 383, Summer, 2010

In my personal experience, the simultaneous transition from Christianity to atheism, and from conservative statism to anti-authoritarianism, had ontological shifts to non-belief as their catalyst.

I have come to see belief in any political ideology as having essentially the same religious quality as belief in any religious system. Both, it seems to me, inhibit learning and the progression of becoming which prevent individuals and societies from growing beyond the confines of ideology and dogma.

Given the historical track record of authoritarian social organization, I submit that it requires a great amount of faith–of the religious kind–to accept authority and the state as useful in the modern human quest for freedom and sustainability.

It requires great faith in the ideal of democracy to place one’s chips on reform and the efficacy of voting in a two-party system as the way toward a desperately needed restructuring of society.

It requires great faith in the supposed benevolence of concentrated, centralized power to think it likely that those who possess it have the best interest of those without it in mind. It also requires great faith to believe that those in positions of authority will ever give up their power without a fight against those who call for revolutionary change.

I prefer to think, open-mindedly, about the broad range of possibilities we have before us in present and past attempts at communal living, and efforts to establish egalitarian, autonomous zones. Also, in the countless human societies of our pre-civilized past which, while products of their unique times and places, are an example that things can be different; there are other possibilities.

These facts, which do not require the gamble of belief be accepted, demonstrate that humanity is more than capable of producing anarchic societies that are humane, egalitarian, and sustainable.

All we need is the freedom to experiment without constraint. Freeing oneself from an irrational belief in our need for authority, whether it be divine or political, seems like a good place to start.