Before this incident, my friend and I were always fairly aligned in our rejection of capricious displays of authority. We had no tolerance for either physical or intellectual bullies, and we sure did hate The Man. So I thought about it until I realized that while I hated the abuse of authority, he just hated authority. Period.
Why? Well, I can only guess that all the early forms of authority he saw were abusive, so that's just what it tasted like to him. Authority no longer had to do with right and wrong and became just some a*****e telling him what to do, and it broke him. It deprived him of the ability to see a completely professional cop speaking politely to a law-breaking, long-haired college student and letting him off with a good-natured warning. Good news, though: This difference didn't spell the end of our friendship, as fortunately, many in positions of authority do abuse it.
A Childhood Filled With Sensible Authority
Here's the tricky thing: When it comes to authority, I think it's nearly impossible to get it right. My early life was not filled with tyranny. I had plenty of rules in my house, but they didn't seem pointless: I had to be home for dinner, I had to get all my homework done before bed, I had to study hard for tests, and if someone hit me, I had to hit them back. Those were the big rules, and they made sense. Oh, no drugs, either. At 5, my mom told me if she caught me with weed she'd call the cops. (Again, I was 5.) But you get the point. I have to say that by any standard my parents were accountable and fair, and they did not fill me with a fiery belly of injustice that I then spewed forth out into the world.