Do you have a problem with authority?

This is a phrase I keep coming across, usually in quite a prideful tone and I’ve never quite understood:

(a) what exactly it means.
(b) why its something to be proud of.

An online friend came out with it in a chat earlier during a discussion about why she has never been able to hold down a job, which is what prompted this thread.

I kind of think you won’t get very far in life having a problem with authority per se rather than in specific instances.

I don’t have a problem with authority.

I do have a problem with authority poorly applied.

No sir! I do not have a problem with authority, sir!

People who have a problem with authority tend to rebel against externally-imposed constraints. If they do this often enough and severely enough, they end up jobless like your friend, or they end up in prison. They get agitated when someone instructs them to do something (as opposed to making a polite request). These are the kinds of people who get stopped for speeding and then end up escalating a simple traffic stop into a physical confrontation that results in them getting tazed, pepper-sprayed, and/or put in jail.

This. I have a problem with authority, and I see it as a psychological disorder, one I am under treatment (CBT) for. It’s basically entitlement and ego trained into a physical rage response.

I am perversely proud of it, though. Go figure. Man’s not keepin’ me down!

I hold people in Authority to very high standards and am not very respectful of authority wielded poorly.

While you are due a certain amount of entry level respect when in Authority, my feeling is that you need to act in a way that justifies and increases that respect. If you don’t, then all the authority in the world can’t make people respect you. Fear you, hate you, yes. Respect? No.

I don’t have a problem with legitimate authority. As long as someone has it and is using it in the “proper” way (as in, my boss giving me tasks to do, a policeman pulling me over when I’m speeding, a security guard at a convention telling me I can’t take this short-cut, etc.) I’m fine with it. The only thing I have problems with is people who take authority that they haven’t earned and attempt to wield it, or legitimate authorities using it in an illegitimate way (police throwing their weight around, mall cops acting like little tin gods, asshole bosses, etc.)

Even then, I don’t usually do anything active to oppose it. I just do my best to avoid it.

They like to get you in a compromising position.
They like to get you there and smile in your face.
They think they’re so cute when they got you in that condition.
Well I think it’s a total disgrace.

Always obey your superiors, if you have any.


I kinda have a problem with authority,.

…I blame a failure to communicate. :slight_smile:

I personally don’t have a problem with authority except, as others have mentioned, when it is wielded inappropriately. I have known two people who clearly had problems with authority in any form.

The first was an friend, whose knee-jerk response to being told he couldn’t do something was to immediately find a way to it. Not because it saved him time, money or effort, but simply because someone else told him he couldn’t. Can’t take a shortcut behind the trailers and into the carnival? Watch me! I have to stand in line to get a driver’s license and you won’t let me cut to the front? Fine, I’ll drive without one. File income taxes? No, sir, not me, I don’t want to and you can’t make me. He could never figure out why his life was such a mess.

The second was a cousin of mine. No matter were he worked – big corporation, little company, Mom-and-Pop store – he was convinced that he knew a better way to run the place. Within a short time of beginning a new job, he’d start trying to challenge the managment and its policies. When management was not receptive, usually because my cousin’s ideas were short-sighted and uninformed, he became angry and would agitate the other employees with his complaints. Amazingly, when it came time to lay someone off, my cousin’s name was always at the top of the list. Can’t count all the jobs he got and lost over the last several years.

Having an on-going problem with authority sounds, to me, a lot like having stopped your emotional development at three years of age.

Yes, but not in the ways described.

If by authority you mean reporting hierarchy - I understand and accept reporting hierarchy.

If by authority you mean expertise on a subject - no problem.

If by authority you mean respecting “authority figures” - I’m mostly OK. I’m basically a rule follower, not a rule breaker.

If by authority you mean subjugating myself to a ruler (in all of it’s day-to-day forms) - yeah, that’s not gonna work.

My problem with authority…when I fight authority, authority always wins.

Somebody had to say it.

I think there’s a huge difference between automatically querying or disobeying every instruction given by an authority and disliking incompetent authority.

If you join the Armed Forces, you’ll get a lot of orders to obey.

If you’re stopped by a policeman, it’s not in your interest to automatically antagonise him.

If you’re speaking to your boss in a business in front of a customer, it’s reasonable to show respect. (If you think your boss is wrong, tell them later.)


I have no problem with authority…as long as I can question it.

I don’t like or trust the majority of authority figures. I am more subversive than overt, though. I will do/say whatever it takes to keep up a good face in front of a boss or the cops, because I know that it’s easy for them to abuse their power.

I believe it is called O.D.D. or Oppositional Defiance Disorder. People who, for some crazy reason, just can’t ‘behave’ properly. Won’t listen to ‘authority’. Psychologist now call it a disorder.


If you don’t do whatever we say, you are crazy, and we’ll make you take these pills so you will obey.


If that’s your best, your best won’t do.