Monday, August 04, 2014

The Lack of Respect for Authority

We live in a time where there is a great lack of respect for authority. Or so the somewhat tired cliché goes. I was reminded of this recently while reading a letter from a former major league baseball player to prospective players and parents in a youth sports league he is affiliated with. Kids have a lack of respect for coaches. Parents have a lack of respect for umpires. He has experienced this for years. Well, on his sports teams, he will not tolerate such things, and will teach the players - and expect from parents - respect for authority. He also identified his Christian faith as a basis for his views on youth sports.

I have no problem with his desire to teach these things to the kids on his team. A baseball manager should teach these things. And, yes, there is a lack of respect for authority in many other areas of life as well: politics, religion, law enforcement, family. But as I thought this over, I realized that the lack of respect for authority we so often see around us could actually be due to a lack of respectable authority to give respect to.

The greatest lack of respect for authority comes from those in authority who abuse that authority. They do not respect the limits of their authority. They do not respect what is right, and will therefore use their authority to dominate others.

With the growing effect of the internet and social media in our culture, it may be becoming more difficult to be an abuser of authority. People are learning that they can tell their stories to many people that they never could before, and they are taking advantage of the technology to set things right. This should be viewed as a positive thing.

I'm wondering if the result of all this will be a cleaning of house of sorts, with bad holders of authority eventually being replaced by people who are actually trustworthy with authority. Only time will tell.