The Authoritarian Boogeyman

There has been a lot of drama in the news lately calling any group with authority a bully – sometimes legitimate and sometimes not. Each story appears to be related to “anti-authoritarianism” and what I’ll term “safe-space-ism”. Whether it is against police officers, school administration, white people, straight people, or any other group with real or perceived social status.

I wonder to myself why these messages have been so appealing?

For starters I think there is a healthy mix of real and made-up injustices. A police officer shoots a young and unarmed kid, bad. Poor black people discriminated against, bad. A school administrator speaks his mind on an unpopular topic that offends people, also bad. Right? Or wait…

The media loves it because it sells and the demo (18-30 year olds) love it. So they bombard people with thousands of such stories all reported the same way. It becomes almost impossible to digest them. Impossible to separate the stories we should be mad about and the stories we should dismiss.

We want binary so we create an authoritarian boogeyman. It’s okay to attack the boogy-man, his ideas, and anyone who defends him. We don’t have to think anymore. We stop dissecting individual pieces of information or news and file it away into the boogeyman file. Suddenly, free speech and legitimate justice is filed away with racism and bigotry.

I’m sure you’ve seen the video of the girl from Yale yelling the administrator. Or the videos of black lives matter disrupting Bernie Sanders’ speech. More locally, my college aged brother-in-law is all in on the anti-authoritarian complex too. So why is this thought process so popular?

I think there is a sub-group that is vulnerable to the messaging. They are:

  • Highly educated,
  • Mostly Millennial,
  • Minority (female, non-white, homosexual, etc.),
    • The more minority the more likely to buy-in to this messaging,
  • Surrounded by homogeneous group of friends, and
  • Difficult to criticize without being labelled a bigot or racist.

Why is this message so popular with this group?

2 thoughts on “The Authoritarian Boogeyman

  1. ljy2008

    Because they’re angry, and angry for a reason.

    I know it can be hard to understand, but unless you have been on the receiving end of bigotry you can’t fathom the anger that you can feel when you finally see the light and realise how much you’ve been cheated in this world. And how much the world is slanted against you.

    It’s not that people are angry at white men particularly, of course not! It’s that they get angry when white men, once again, try to dictate the narrative or the scenario rather than just listen and try to understand. Or ask questions instead of asserting their, often terribly misguided opinions and beliefs.

    BTW, woman are not a minority, as there are apparently more women in the world than men, that actually makes us a majority…you’d never know it though, would you?

    ‘Dark skinned’ people are also the majority…but you’d never know it would you?

    Why do you think that is?

    1. Atticus C.

      I am a white man, but I’ve been on the receiving end of bigotry and slant. I was raised in South Atlanta in an all black high school. I used to have a heavy urban accent. My parents were drug addicts and on well-fare. I was the first person in my family to graduate high school, college, and get a masters. Did I benefit from my race along the way? I’m sure I did. But it isn’t fair to say I don’t know what its like to have the world slanted against you because I’m a white guy.

      White men are in control because throughout history they have been able to control, often via force, the socio-economic condition of the world. Going back to the Spanish, French, English, Dutch, etc. No doubt.

      My critique is less on these facts or “being angry”, but the blurring of lines between real equality justice versus misguided anger toward anything that resembles status-quo. If we aren’t careful we treat anything that looks like an “boogeyman” as a “boogeyman” regardless of the merit of the facts. We throw away good arguments, basic freedoms, and good people because we can’t or don’t sort them from the bad.

      Also, in America and Europe dark skinned people are not the majority, but that really doesn’t matter anyway.


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