Why do some people have such problems with authority figures?

Every time I watch Cops it is very obvious to me that some people
have great of difficulty dealing with authority figures, and many times just do stupid things to make the situation more difficult for themselves.
Why the problem with cops and other authority figures?
Why not just go along and make things easier for themselves?

For the same reason you see many teenagers dressing in black and lamenting about how much their parents suck. It’s an “I’m too good to go with the flow” mentality. That, and they only air the most outrageous people on Cops. I’m sure for every piece they show on TV, they have two dozen clips of people cooperating politely on the editing room floor.

What Omega said. What fun would there be in watching a guy getting pulled over, having a polite conversatio with the officer about his speeding, then driving off? That would be boring.

They only show the drunks / wife beaters whatever, as it’s more interesting to watch.

Since when is a cop an “authority figure”?

No offense to LEOs, but I’ve never met a cop who was an “authority” on anything. They’re simply there to maintain order when called upon.

Cops have authority. That makes them authority figures.

Cops have authority. Security guards do not. They can lick my thanks-to-one-hundred-million-a-day-spam-email-rock-hard-erect-giant-oversized-novelty-circus-penis. The county commissioner has authority. My butthole neighbor on the “Dustbowl Advisory Council” does not. May he discover his wife is secretly making canine bukkake videos.

Fagjunk Theology: Not just for sodomite propagandists anymore.

Because many authority figures get a kick from pushing people around. Also, I think I should decide who has “authority” over me.

While I agree 100%, if a cop pulls me over for speeding, I’m gonna play nice so he doesn’t decide to smell nonexistent reefer smoke, search my car and find the 10 pounds of meth or the 3 corpses in the trunk, unlike the chair moisteners on “Cops.”


While I always try to make nice to cops who pull me over, I have a problem with authority figures. No matter how polite I am I confess I hate it when they give me the whole, “Now, do you know what you were doing wrong? Why I have to cause you to pay the town treasury $100 for not hurting anyone?”

In general, I find that most people who have risen to positions of petty authority (say, the boss at work for example) have not done so by virtue of their extraordinary moral values, great understanding of human nature, and high-minded insight into life. Usually, they got there by being ambitious asskissers. In that case, often they enjoy exercising said power in ways that are not always to the benefit of anyone but themselves.

I go along with people when they’re right. I feel compelled to resist when they’re wrong. I’m trying to subvert that instinct for the sake of my career, but it’s hard when the world is so full of morons.

I’ve been trying to figure this out, too. My husband loathes police officers. I remind him time and time again that the vast majority of police officers with whom he came into contact during his misspent youth were pretty damn nice. I mean, sure you can get mad at the cop for making you break your bong on the cement, but fer chrissake he didn’t arrest you. Or call your parents. I don’t know how many times he got off with warnings. But he feels no gratitude. He’s quite hostile.

Oddly enough, I really dislike cops, which is undoubtedly a holdover from my Bitch Punk Girl Days. I seriously can’t shake this antipathy, and have really had to restrain myself on several “marginal” encounters with the city’s fine officers of the law. Local cops are just so… so… I dunno… so bossy. Like they really don’t want to help; they just want to swagger. Just my opinion, natch.

I took a psych test once and was told that I may have some problems with authority figures. I tried to figure out why my answers were analyzed that way. There were some questions about whether or not I thought at times that I knew more than people in supervisor or manager positions. I truthfully answered that sometimes I did. In real life I have not had problems with cops, etc.

My wife’s father is extremely autocratic–he makes Archie Bunker look like a tree-hugging liberal. Every word that came out of his mouth when she was growing up was a Pronouncement from On High, Not to be Questioned and To Be Obeyed.

She has a little problem with people who claim authority without demonstrating it. Cops carry badges and guns, so they’re okay. People who pontificate and present themselves as experts without any proof get zero credit. She can’t even follow a recipe because she has no idea whether the person who wrote it knew for sure what he/she was talking about.

Somebody once asked me how bad this was to live with. I said, “If her hair was on fire, I wouldn’t tell her to put it out. I’d tell her it was on fire, but I’d leave the decision on how to deal with it up to her. She’s just ornery enough to say, ‘I was going to get a haircut anyway.’”

Fear of all of the above
and just plain fear.
This is a really rich subject.

When anyone says I have a “problem” with authority figures, I point out that Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams also had problems with certain authority figures. That usually shuts them up.

I’ve always had a “problem” with authority figures. I consider it healthy.

Rubysteak said:


I have a “problem” with authority, too. I don’t think it’s a problem, I think it’s a healthy independence of thought.

It may be a wiring thing. Some people can’t be told what to do, some people can’t function without being told what to do.

I think the “cop” mentality is also part of the problem. Give some dork a badge and a gun, and suddenly they’re hot shit. I think also that cops’ perception of humanity gets thrown out of whack from dealing with criminals all day long. I suppose doctors being around sick people all the time get skewed, too.

I took a similar test recently and was told that my scores on the anti-social/problems with authority figure scale were higher than those recieved from prisoners.

Then again, I thought this was pretty cool. :smiley:

You, on the other hand, seem to have a problem with *non-*authority figures.


I dunno.

Ask Woody Allen. :smiley:

It’s philosophical.

Even when the individual in question has good judgment and uses the authority of the position only to set policy or prevent disorder, I’m still seeing the situation as a necessary evil for the time being, and, no matter how benign, as another small manifestation of what’s wrong with the world.

(I’m an anarchist)