Social Question

TexasDude's avatar

How authoritarian are you, really?

Asked by TexasDude (25249points) August 21st, 2010

Simple question… To what extent do you wish to enforce your will or ideas upon others? Does your right to swing your fist truly end where your neighbor’s nose begins, or are you willing to make exceptions based on your own ideology?

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37 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I am not personally authoritarian.

I believe in the rule of law, and I support it.

kenmc's avatar

I would like others to think in a couple of the ways that I do. The main one being that I think everyone should be able to think whatever they want to think.

jerv's avatar

That is very context-sensitive with me.

When it comes to social things, I am more of a consensus type of guy, willing to compromise.

When I am working, I am all about yielding to superior knowledge (though not necessarily rank) and tend to push hard to get my way unless I feel like a dissenter has a valid alternative… which is rare since I often know better than my superiors when it comes to technical matters.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I will discuss my ideas with other people and explain why I feel the way I do, but it stops there. If they have different beliefs and ideas, I’ll listen to what they have to say. I don’t feel like I have to make people believe the same things I do. If they change their mind, okay, if I change mine, okay. Either way, it is what it is.

tinyfaery's avatar

On a scale of 1–10 (10 being very authoritarian) I’d say I’m a 3. There is a small part of me that truly believes if more people thought like I do the world would be a better place; however, I don’t have any sort of gumption to actually do anything about it.

Hawkeye's avatar

Each to their own.

kevbo's avatar

<—not the master of his domain.

zen_'s avatar

When I was younger. Mellowed out.

Dewey420's avatar

If we’re being honest…If you don’t believe what I believe your just plain wrong. But hey, not everyone can be as smart as I am.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Live and let live is an important old cliche in my book. I don’t believe in forcing my way of thinking down other peoples’ throats, and I expect the same respect from them.

TexasDude's avatar

@Dewey420 you used the wrong form of “your”

Dinner time. I’ll be right back with individual responses….

mammal's avatar

that’s a bit of a misleading question, i like to think of it more as a counter attack.

Aster's avatar

I think of persuasive rather than authoritarian which has a loud, cruel connotation to it. Like a nun with a ruler in her hand.

cookieman's avatar

I am only authoritarian in two areas of my life I can think of.

When I’m running a project at work. I’m not talking about the brainstorming leading up to the project. Here I’m all about the sharing of ideas and negotiation. But once we’ve settled on a plan of attack and the ball is rolling, we all stick to the plan until I say we’re done.

Getting my daughter out the door for school in the morning. I am the consummate drill sergeant. Truthfully though, I’m looking to relinquish this role as soon as possible as it doesn’t jive with the rest of our relationship. She’s soon to be 8 and is getting much more self-sufficient. I’m hoping for the day she hops out of bed, gets ready, feeds the dog and is waiting for me to go. I could be dreaming though. :^)

TexasDude's avatar

Great answers all around, everyone.

@mammal, I think I know what you mean, but would you care to elaborate?

@tinyfaery, if you don’t mind my asking, what opinions do you hold that, if more people held, would lead to the world being a better place?

@marinelife, that’s more or less how I feel, I suppose. How would you treat a popularly supported law that you perceived to be “evil” or “unjust?”

Thanks for playing, so far, everyone.

HungryGuy's avatar

Well, I’m largely libertarian in that I believe what people do that doesn’t harm or interfere with others should be legal. But there should still be laws against murder, assault, theft, etc., so maybe that makes me a small bit authoritarian.

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s just too much to go into.

TexasDude's avatar

@HungryGuy that’s pretty much how I see it. I’m definitely not a minarchist or an anarchist, but I do think that people should be mostly left to govern themselves. I do think that there is a social contract that people generally should agree to abide by for society to function.

Jabe73's avatar

I have no interest in pushing my beliefs on other people, but I expect the same back. I will still stand up for what I believe in (when I have to). Many hardcore religious people have tried to push their views down my throat while attacking my spiritualist beliefs so when push comes to shove I will push back harder. I am not authoritarian at all and do not enjoy conflict too much either but sometimes you are forced to push back against people who are authoritarian with their views.

TexasDude's avatar

@Jabe73, that’s true. You can’t let yourself be a doormat.

Seek's avatar

Well, I’d love to beat religion out of the universe, but I hate it when they try to beat it into me…

So… I’d say I err in the interest of liberty. As long as you’re not hurting those that are not willing participants (because I also believe people should have the right to settle their mutual differences in their own way) you’re cool.

TexasDude's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr, sounds good, erring in the interest of liberty. I too believe that people should settle their differences in their own way as well. I wouldn’t be opposed to letting people duel, as long as the parties consented and they didn’t hurt anyone else.

Berserker's avatar

I really love to present and share my ideologies with people who wanna hear, but I’ve absolutely no desire to change their minds. In fact I think this is the first time I even envision what it might be like if I did, or how differently I might present shit if that was my intent. I’m also not really sure of most of what I say, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to go running in with that approach.

TexasDude's avatar

@Symbeline so you would say your views are constantly evolving? I think that most “authoritarians” are those with firmly cemented views.

Dewey420's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr “As long as you’re not hurting those that are not willing participants”

What if the person they’re hurting is themselves?
I know, they are willing partaking in this particular religion. But, what if they’re not? What if they are religious and they don’t even know why? For example, they say they are Christian (Jewish, Spaghetti Wad, or w.e.) but don’t go to church regularly, they honestly could careless if they curse or are mean to people, lie..but they still tell everyone they are who they are.maybe because they don’t want to let down their family who raised them, or to get along better with their husband or wife, maybe to impress people at work or school…MAYBE they are just hunting for hot ass. Then to agree they are not only hurting themselves by pretending to be something they aren’t, but also are hurting everyone who looks at them and wonders how someone can be “religiously hypocritical”.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Symbeline – If asked, I’ll share my ideologies. And I’m very tolerant, believing people should have the right to live however they choose to. But many times, I find some people who claim to be the most “enlightened” are actually the most intolerant, telling people they are ignorate and hateful just over a difference of opinion.

TexasDude's avatar

@HungryGuy, I find some people who claim to be the most “enlightened” are actually the most intolerant, telling people they are ignorate and hateful just over a difference of opinion.

Yeah, I’ve really noticed that too. Funny how that works.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard – Yeah. I can get worked up arguing with “enlightened” people like that. If people like that had real power, we’d all be living in a thought-dictatorship.

TexasDude's avatar

@HungryGuy, man, you have no idea how much I know what you mean….

Berserker's avatar

Well yeah, enlightened people piss me off too, what is enlightenment if all it means is thou shalt agree with me?
I have no idea if my views evolve rather than they just change, but I don’t deal with these people, as I believe that they’re an obstruction to wisdom. There’s gotta be some reason or perhaps even some sick purpose as to why this mentality exists, but I think we can learn a lot more by questioning everything, most of all one’s own views. It’s a lot more worth it then arguing with someone about some bullshit when all they seek from it is to be right, and as I say, anyways, I don’t seek to change anyone’s minds, not even those hardcore haters who could probbaly use a life to experience things with. I gotta watch myself all the same however, as I sometimes think I don’t really act any better. :/

Seek's avatar


Anyone old enough to choose a religion is old enough to choose not to follow it. I refuse to subscribe to the belief that people join the Taliban against their will, or force their wives to live in quiet servitude, or put bullets in the heads of abortion providers… I do agree that some feel pressured into such actions by varying degrees of persuasion, but one has to consciously determine that the favor of their deity/family/gang is more important than the life and liberty of those who will be affected by one’s harmful actions.

It cries back to the Asimov Laws of Robotics, as I firmly believe the world would be better if we all followed the first. (not just the androids in our presence):

One must not injure another person, or through inaction allow a person to come to harm.

I’m not entirely sure what the point is you’re trying to make in your post – If someone is hurting his or her self, he is either a willing participant or in need of psychological care.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I’m only authoritarian in the kitchen. People either have to do what I say or get out (usually what I say is to get out, or at least stay in the corner).

I’m specifically anti-authoritarian in any way possible, and actively work to do things that I think encourage non-authoritarian culture change/cultural growth. I even rarely defer to “because I say so” when working with children.

When working on specific tasks and projects, it’s customary in non-authoritarian societies to give extra weight to the word of whoever knows a lot about the subject. Hence why we read about indigenous societies having “war chiefs”, “peace chiefs”, “hunting chiefs” and so on. They’re typically not titles of “power-over” authority, but rather recognition of skill or knowledge in some exceptional amount. So my semi-joking description of my kitchen craft above is a prime example; most people I know respect my skill in the kitchen and defer to me.

Also, since all of the conceptions of “enlightenment” I’ve heard of basically boil down to disconnecting oneself from connection and attachment to the physical world, and that disconnection from physical reality is basically insanity, I can only conclude that the goal of “enlightenment” is to make oneself batsh*t crazy, just in a relaxed, detached way. the funny thing is that I’m only a little joking

TexasDude's avatar

@incendiary_dan, great answer. You just about summed up my beliefs on the matter as well.

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