Letters for Sept. 13, 2016

• Authority must be used with care

Authority must be used with care

Through turmoil and conflict with rigid authoritarianism, I learned to “question authority,” which, in many instances, seemed arbitrary, punitive, excessive, and missing the point.

Having traversed the dangers due to impertinent challenge of the relevancy and rigidity of rules senselessly imposed, I offer, as a comfort, what I have learned regarding sources of authority.

Authority flows naturally, like a current, marshaling and channeling energy into organization. In any crisis, the available member of a community with the greatest particular expertise, competence, is the agent to whom authority flows.

Absent competence, authority then flows to the source in whom the community has the most confidence in their capacity to engage new challenge.

Absent particular competence or confidence, authority then resides with the bedrock of experience, character.

The weakest, most fragile, arbitrary and abusive form of authority is that which dictates only from position, while lacking the foundation of competence, confidence and character that clearly channels cooperation and trust.

The more force increasingly needed by weak positions of authority, unsupported by the public, to compel adherence by a community, the greater then the level of resistance until the reactionary is swept away in a swell.

Live with cause.

Zacheriah Branch Harmony, Lawai


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