Investigating “Authority”

Recently here on Medium, I led my readers through a philosophical investigation (anthropological we could also say) regarding the many meanings of “camp” — and I didn’t even get to all of them.

Mostly, we focused on “camp” as a fun in the sun in the fun experience, for when schools are closed.

That, in contrast to a geek meaning: a “camp” is an intensive / immersive experience and might be integral with school.

School might be a succession of “camps” (complete with tours of duty) in Geek World. Yes, that sounds military, and with a similar goal of “world domination” (except geeks were smart enough to get when they’d won).

In this story, I want to look at “authority”. Just as “camp” has a dark side, akin to “prison”, so does this idea of “authoritative” or “authoritarian”.

Although we read in journalistic accounts that it’s wrong and / or dangerous to cozy up to authoritarians, if you believe in freedom, we also learn that distrust in media has led to too much irresponsible storytelling, such that recognized authorities need to re-establish (or establish) themselves pronto.

We really need those anchoring authorities we can really believe in, say the pundits, to keep the show on the road.

Yet authoritarian governments come off as “wrongheaded” i.e. as the kind that would put defiant / dissident voices in some “camp”.

People have different beliefs, when it comes to how narratives should work.

In his Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Soren Kierkegaard ends up expressing contempt for the faux objective voice, the omniscient narrator, a familiar, usually paternal, storyteller, encountered through many a flickering film (not that Kierkegaard had film in his day — the imagination had to fill that void with voices encountered in writing). I liked him (the disembodied narrator voice) in the movie Idiocracy especially.

What concerns pundits on the frontlines, is the lack of traction experienced by even major, mainstream outlets, as we close out the year 2020.

Public contempt for authorities is getting to be a problem, at least in the minds of would be thought leaders. That’s because the general public feels lied to, by Nixon about Vietnam, by Bush about 911 and Iraq, by warmongers in favor of other debacles.

What is Biden supposed to do about that? Is he supposed to let them all sit in his lap and coo? Maybe that has worked up until now.

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