Power and Authority – Contemporary World Issues
Power and authority are interpreted in many different ways. Authority is respected and recognized, where as power is used to exploit and manipulate situations simply to gain control or sway judgments. In some scenarios, power and authority are essentially indistinguishable, in others; one is taken advantage of by the other to dominate. E. g. Power may use authority to gain control and respect. I do not agree with this statement. While some obey authority out of respect, people often obey it out of fear as well. The repercussions of disobeying authority are certainly as harsh and strict as are those of disobeying power.
For example, GreenDays song “Warning”. The verses “Caution: police line: you better not cross”, and “Shut up and be a victim of authority” are directly addressing the issues of what would happen if you disobeyed authority and more to the point, the position that a significant amount of people are in because of their compliance, the outcome of just obeying the law without question. I’m sure, more accurately, I am positive that our brothers and sisters involved in the conflict “blood” diamond problem in Africa do not obey any figure of authority or power out of respect, but more so, out of pure fear.
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Fear that your hands will get severed off, or fear that your wife and sister will get raped by the R. U. F that occupy the uncontrolled lands. Australia, Canada, Namibia, South Africa, and Tanzania are the countries that have been able to invest the revenue from diamonds into the development of infrastructure, schools and hospitals for the good of the communities where diamonds are found. Diamond-rich Botswana has used its mines, which are partially owned by the state, to fund infrastructure, education and health care, as well as set aside a rainy-day fund of nearly $7 billion.
But Botswana has something essential that other African countries do not: a government known for being both functional and honest. In some other areas of Africa (E. g. Bobi – Northwestern Ivory Coast), organized crime, corrupt regimes and international terrorist organizations still have their hands deep in the pockets of the diamond industry, and the proceeds help fund genocide, slavery, war and terrorism. The problem is the rebels and/or governments who exploit diamonds (along with other natural resources) to achieve their illicit goals.
This is the ultimate example of power being misused. Naturally, the reactions of people to these sorts of acts are all different, but generally, fear is the one feeling that allows this to happen. This is no ones fault. It is a universal feeling. One cannot help being fearful of the prospect that their country will progressively fall into the arms of rebels that know nothing of compassion or generosity, only hatred and war – similar to what Oceania is built on in George Orwell’s novel 1984.
It is in most western civilizations that one would find people obeying authority out of respect, as we all look up at people who enforce the law – the “Do – Gooders” of our desolate world, the individuals that act for the well-being of their country, and not themselves. This is where our profound sense of respect originates. Be that as it may, our ignorance is undoubtedly our greatest fall – along with other natural human emotions like love, compassion, and generosity … all our inherently good traits.
It gives figures of authority with limitless power the opportunity to take advantage. One can draw from this, the malicious and ill-natured tendencies that are generated from absolute power and authority. Police brutality in America has risen substantially over the past decade. This occurs because we are living in world of fear and uncertainty. The advent of the 9/11 attacks in the United States has created this apprehensiveness. It has led to tougher laws, legislation and law enforcement to ensure that the life of every citizen in our land is safe.
Today, we can see law enforcers ubiquitously. We see authorities roaming around and checking all the corners of our cities to ensure that our feelings of fear and uncertainty are allayed. In this scenario they play their role as vanguard of the people. Seemingly, this can take a turn, and can result in injuries, deaths, and other incidents involving figures of authority and the everyday citizen because of the misuse of power. I find aspects of this statement to be true, but it does not explain power nd authority’s impact on humans very well. Respect and Fear are just 2 human feelings that result from power and authority. I feel that power has all sorts of impacts on people. It can create anything varying from love to hate without repercussions, dependent on whether you acted on these feelings or not. Authority is more restricted, and definitely does not allow freedom – as a whole. One is not free to massacre people under authority, but under power, you are free to do whatever you want.