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You end up with movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Parties that try to dispense with authority altogether. They reject hierarchies and leaders because they don’t believe in the concepts. The whole world should be like the Internet—a disbursed semianarchy in which authority is suspect and each individual is king.
Again, I wish he were right. But he is far too optimistic. (He’d call it pessimistic.) Neither Occupy Wall Street nor the Tea Party have identified the root of our political and economic problems, and consequently their solutions are not anti-authoritarian enough. But at least they sense something is wrong systemically. That’s a start.
Brooks, on the other hand, thinks it’s not the leaders who need changing so much as those who distrust “their” leaders.
“We have to relearn the art of following,” he writes.
No we don’t. We need to learn the art of living free.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va., author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine. This article originally appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation.