I’ve been talking about improving society as a process of making society more honest, but the only evidence I offered that society is not honest is that you can feel it.
To really appraise the state of society and suggest reasonable changes, we need a better way to describe honesty.
So let’s carry out this metaphor by comparing the individual with society. A dishonest person holds private thoughts or feelings that are different from what they express outwardly. In other words, there is a disconnect between the things that make up their identity, and the actions they perform that express that identity.
What does this look like on a societal level? What can we say to explain what we mean by society is dishonest? What does it mean to say that society does not reflect its members?
Where the individual performs actions that either express or disguise their identity, society’s “actions” consist of the use of power. So the public identity of society is embodied in the places where its power is concentrated–in bodies of authority.
What is the difference between legitimate authority and illegitimate authority? It’s subjective, isn’t it?
The difference is whether or not we perceive that the authority shares our values. When companies, government, and community groups use their power to strengthen things we believe in–things like justice and equality–we support their efforts because we perceive value congruence.
When authority is used in the pursuit of goals that conflict with our values, then we get angry and want to reform or overthrow.
Can you figure out how Circumvention lends itself to more legitimate authority?