How’s that for an emotional, irrational, extreme title for an article? Well, if it looks like some accusation or complaint that someone would just blurt out in anger and frustration, possibly while waving a Bible in the air, please read on. Because I am completely serious when I make that statement, although I don’t mean it in an occult or religious sense (I’m not religious). I do mean it in a moral and logical sense.
To be more precise, I could have phrased the statement thusly: "The belief in authority is fundamentally evil." These days the belief in "authority" usually takes the form of an advocacy of "government." Most people no longer think that religious "authorities" have the right to forcibly rule the world, so that particular manifestation of authoritarianism has been reduced to a relatively minor threat to humanity, which is why "government" is primarily what I focus on now.
To be clear, I am not just saying that "government" can sometimes do evil stuff. That can be true of anyone. Nor am I just saying that "government" can be corrupted into something evil. I am saying that, by its very nature, "government" is inherently and unavoidably anti-human, immoral, and horribly destructive to human society. It can never be otherwise. It can never be legitimate; it can never be good.
In order to prove that "government" is inherently evil and anti-human, I should first explain what I think is good and “pro-human.” Whatever made me—God, Mother Nature, aliens, blind luck, whatever—gave me a conscience, and the ability to think. (I’m not pretending that either of those qualities are perfected in me, or in anyone else.) When I see someone violently victimizing innocents, I do not need any religious text or any government legislation to tell me that that is wrong; my own conscience tells me that that is wrong, that that is something that should not happen.
I think it’s fair to say that a person’s conscience, his ability to feel empathy, and his ability to judge right from wrong (and to act accordingly) is a measure of his "goodness" as a human being. If that is the case, what would be "anti-goodness"? It would be something that makes an individual set aside his empathy and ignore his own conscience—something that makes him disregard his own moral judgment, and surrender his free will in exchange for unquestioning obedience to something else, thereby essentially transforming himself from a human being into a robot.
And that is exactly and precisely what the belief in "authority" is: the insane notion that it can be good to NOT use your own brain and heart to figure out how to behave, but to instead blindly defer to someone or something else. And you don’t have to look far (any history book will do) to see the real-world results of that belief.
There are countless examples in history of otherwise decent people bowing to, and enforcing the will of, a supposed "authority," leading to mass oppression, torture, extortion and murder. That is what happens when good people are taught that obedience to “authority” is a virtue: they enable EVIL because they were taught that it is GOOD to "follow the rules" and "do as you’re told."
Incidentally, while I’m not Christian, and don’t believe in the Christian god or in the Devil, there is a lot about the description of Satan—the "Great Deceiver"—that perfectly matches the myth of "authority": it lies, it pretends it is good, it drags you away from true morality, it corrupts and hardens hearts, it steals your soul, it creates hatred and conflict. Sound familiar?
Of course, what statists hope the belief in "authority" will do is make nasty people behave properly. But reality doesn’t work that way. Here it’s important to distinguish between two things: 1) the fear of reprisal, and; 2) the feeling of an obligation to obey. If some thug is trying to break into someone’s house to steal their stuff, and suddenly finds himself staring down the barrel of a 12-gauge, that can create a deterrent effect, and can make him decide to change his ways. This is true regardless of whether the person on the other side of the shotgun has a badge or not, and regardless of what some "law" somewhere has to say about it.
In cases like that, what can prevent crime is NOT respect for "authority"; instead, what prevents crime is simply fear of pain and/or death. The thug doesn’t suddenly grow a conscience or acquire a pure heart. He simply backs off because of his own instinct toward self-preservation. So in that case, belief in "authority" accomplished nothing, even if it was a cop holding the gun. The threat of defensive force—which requires no badge and no special authority—was what stopped the bad guy.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but thugs and sociopaths don’t care about being good. They’re not trying to be nice to their fellow man. As a result, they don’t feel any moral obligation to "obey the law." It is only people who are trying to be good who make an effort to respect and obey authority, and that’s only because they’ve been misled into thinking that subservience to "government" makes them a good person.
And that brings us to the most dangerous, destructive aspect of statism. It doesn’t take long for crooks and psychopaths to figure out that, if decent people think it’s virtuous to submit to political "authority," then all the crooks and psychopaths have to do is BECOME that political "authority," and they are set for life. Acquire a position of political power, call your thievery "taxation," call your thuggery "law," call disobedience to you "crime," and your victims will feel morally obligated to be victimized. They will take pride in being robbed and abused, and will even help you (the evil bastard) to enslave and oppress others, condemning any who resist tyranny as criminals, rebels and terrorists.
That is the true evil of the belief in "authority," and it can be seen throughout most of human history.
In summary, the only effect the belief in "authority" has on BAD people is to give them a means by which they can drastically increase their ability to victimize good people, and the only effect it has on GOOD people is to make them passively submit to injustice and cooperate with evil.
In other words, the belief in "authority" always endangers the good and empowers the evil.