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On whose Authority?

Everything you do is motivated by some "authority."
Your beliefs, opinions — deepest convictions, are based on some "authority."
Your dress, customs, diet, and personal habits are the result of a certain "authority."
Who is your authority?


"LIKE, Man, I'm MY OWN authority," answers the hippie, when asked the question, Who is your authority?

But his answer is not the truth. He's wearing a uniform.

He is conforming to a nameless, faceless, anonymous "authority" — the "hippie image" on conformity to WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.


The Hippie Is a Slave

The hippie slavishly cringes before the opinions of OTHER people who have "dropped out" from society. He wants their approval and acceptance! His craven desire to belong, his desperate search for identity with other humans leads him to incredible filth, immorality, long hair, beads, psychedelic clothing, and all the accoutrements and paraphernalia of the "hippie."

So, in his professed NON-conformity, he is actually a classic CONFORMIST. It's only a matter of WHICH GROUP OF PEOPLE comprise HIS AUTHORITY.

A man in the military isn't so dimwitted.

He KNOWS who his "authority" is — from the platoon sergeant right on up to his ultimate commander-in-chief, the President of the United States. He knows his dress, haircut, work habits, uniform, and whole BEING must conform to the dictates of that AUTHORITY which governs his life.

But few others, outside the military, know WHO their authority is.

Do you?


"That Depends"

Right about here, most people use the familiar ambiguity — "that depends" — "That depends," you might answer, on just what you MEAN by "authority." "If you mean," you might continue, "someone who RULES me — who dictates to me, or tells me what to do with my life, then the answer is NOBODY!"

Nice try. But it's not true.

I used to feel that way, too. Discharged from the Navy after four years' service, including nine months' offshore Korea during the blistering winter of 1951-52, I had decided I would NEVER "take orders" from ANYONE again.

Deluding myself I was the classic independent, I kidded myself I was a "free" soul.

I smoked, of course. But then, I argued with myself, I smoked because I WANTED to, and not because I HAD to. No one was COMMANDING me to light up a cigarette. No one but my own self.

The truth was — I was a whipped SLAVE to the cigarette HABIT. I HAD to smoke — as I finally began to see when I tried to quit. I would toy with the idea of quitting — even try to convince my wife a certain brand had virtually NO NICOTINE in it (as per the implied statements on the package), and therefore was conducive to good health.

But finally quitting time came. I knew I HAD to quit ANY habit that was degenerative, destructive to health, and directly condemned in the Bible. But it was tough. I would throw away a pack in disgust, after, of course, having smoked "just that one" to satisfy my craving. Then, the next day — I would try to remember where I threw the pack — and actually drive over to the ditch and search for it! Free man?

But smoking is only ONE example.

I wasn't ever going to wait in a line again. Never say "sir" again — never take any orders of any kind.

But that was all a childish pipe dream. And it all went up in smoke.

I finally discovered it's all a question of WHICH AUTHORITY you decide to be under.


We don't recognize our slavishness. We can't even IDENTIFY our "authority" most of the time — but we're under authority, nevertheless.

So what I mean by "authority" is simply this:

Your "authority" is that sum total of every motive in your life, and the SOURCE of that motive.

What DECIDES whether you wear a mini-skirt, or long hair? What MOTIVATING FACTOR in your life makes you the "kind" of person you are? What FORMED your habits of diet, physical exercise, dress, entertainment, and relaxation? What specific series of influences shaped your BELIEFS? What about RACE, RELIGION, and POLITICS?

You are the sum total of a series of personality-shaping AUTHORITIES.

To some people, their CHURCH is their ultimate, final, absolute "authority" for DOING OR NOT doing some act or another. To other people, it is their family; their traditions; their friends; their club or lodge.

Of course — authorities, like loyalties, change.

The model church-going, civic-minded, pillar of the mid-western community whose authority is the whole complexity of church-oriented, socially accepted customs of his own environment can become, by virtue of a button, badge, or hat, liberally laced with various kinds of booze, a braying, glazed-eyed jackass at a ribald party following a political convention.

"Sophisticated" big-city citizenry recognize these types — have names for them — and smile in knowing tolerance at their business-trip antics.

But even the once-yearly drunk is conforming to a temporary authority. And it is inevitably OTHER PEOPLE. What are other people DOING? What are they doing NOW? That social urge to be part of a group action has caused many a philosopher to ponder the likeness between humans and sheep.

What DECREES what you believe? Did you HONESTLY (really, now) research all available sources of information for yourself? Have you PROVED the source of each motivating action? Do you know WHY you react the way you do? Do you really KNOW why you "believe" this or that about the members of another race?

Your AUTHORITY for all of this is that collection of people who have made you what you are. You will be shocked to find out how LITTLE you, yourself, by yourself, have had to do with it.



Science, the backbone of education, can give us no purpose in existing — no reason for being.

It can't tell us why we are — what we are — or where we're bound.

But science gets all-fired AUTHORITATIVE when it comes to WHERE WE CAME FROM.

"In the beginning," goes the modern fable, "was the hydrogen atom." Thus, evolutionary, atheistic, God-denying science preaches its own peculiar dogma, all the while pityingly ignoring those who believe the more accurate version, "In the beginning, GOD created. . ."

But science is forced to recognize LAW. It searches and explores a Lawful, LAW ABIDING universe. It ponders the marvelous LAWS of the solar system. It investigates the wondrous LAWS of the environment of earth, and all living creatures upon it.

But science stops short of realizing it takes an AUTHORITY to make a law. And it takes an AUTHORITY TO SUSTAIN and UPHOLD a law. And it takes an AUTHORITY to PUNISH FOR INFRACTIONS OF LAW.

For the professor and his fellow who first shook violently a vial of nitroglycerine, it was instantaneously too late for such profound thoughts.

But in the aftermath of that primitive explosion, it would seem logical the principle should have impressed itself on the survivors.

No one goes around trying to argue it's only true, "historically" in chemical labs. They only do that in college textbooks.

You live in an AUTHORITY. The whole universe is bound by authority. The solar system, earth, and all life. But the only authority of which you really become aware in early life is whatever authority thwarts your desire — restricts your impulses. Usually, you resent this.

Unknowingly, you FOLLOW whatever authority comes along with appeals to the pull of your senses. You don't recognize it as "authority" because the experience IS PLEASANT to you.

But it's about time you understood the true beginnings of man — WHAT we are — WHY human nature is what it is — and WHAT IS YOUR TRUE PURPOSE IN BEING.

So let's investigate, briefly, your own physical beginnings.

We're speaking of you as a baby! Not the philosophical and theological question of where all mankind came from — but just where YOU, personally, began.

You were immediately governed by AUTHORITY!

Even your bodily processes could be so construed. Your nervous impulses were all the authority you needed for otherwise unacceptable and disgusting acts — personal enterprises of babies — near mindless, thoughtless, but vastly important to us as little, struggling creatures.

Hungry? You cried. Wet? You cried — and it was nobody's fault but your own. "Lonely?" (you didn't really know the meaning of the term) you still cried. Sometimes you cried because you didn't know it, but it was your only form of bodily exercise.

If you were overseen by somewhat "average" parents — they probably let you gradually work out, FOR YOUR OWN SELF, whatever system of authority appealed to you the most!

If they, like millions of Spock-taught parents, abhorred the idea of corporal (ugh!) punishment, you began finding yourself living in a frustrated limbo of NOT KNOWING what your limitations were.

You were utterly without guiding principles.

There was no counter authority in your life which would help you realize your emotional frenzies had to be controlled.

Maybe this sounds hypothetical. It's not. It's absolutely true in too many thousands of cases.

Your first "authority" SHOULD have been loving, corrective, kind, merciful but FIRM PARENTAL authority! You should have, at the tender age of WEEKS, begun finding out there are LAWS in this environment of yours — LAWS TO BE OBEYED — and AUTHORITIES to punish if those laws are broken! Let's skip ahead to teenage.