ISBN 978-157951162-3




Question Authority
to Think for Yourself

Beverly A. Potter, PhD

Do you worry that you are overly influenced by others’ opinions and fear you will be rejected or thought naive, or even stupid, if you reveal that you view things differently? There is nothing wrong with conformity. It is essential for society to run smoothly and safely. And wanting to be liked is a universal human desire. When we conform, we fit in and are respected by other conformers and authorities smile upon us.

Conformity has a downside. We feel trapped, like a robot on remote control, or a bee in a hive. Unthinking conformity can lead to exploitation by authorities who may be focused on preserving and exercising their power, perhaps garnishing wealth. Questioning authority to think for yourself helps us to come to our own conclusions about authorities and what they tell us to think and do.

At times you may come to differing views form your family or friends, who may then ostracize or even ridicule you for your not agreeing with the prevailing “consensus” views. Being true to yourself, knowing that you are acting in accordance with your personal values, helps to inoculate you to being pressured into pc-thinking and rebuffs you might experience when you think outside pc-wisdom.

It takes work to be an independent thinker. Being seen as a rebel can be a problem.  You may be labeled “crazy.” But when you QUESTION AUTHORITY TO THINK FOR YOURSELF, you do not have to be hostile, contrary, or make decisions different from those of others. Instead, you come to conclusions on your own instead of accepting them just because friends, family and authorities tell you something is so. And often you will arrive at the same conclusions as your peers—only you came to the conclusion through questioning and thinking it through.

QUESTION AUTHORITY TO THINK FOR YOURSELF explains why we conform—and how to break out of conformity to think for yourself. It begins with questioning authority, including the sorts of authority that we have internalized and of which we may not even be aware – long-held beliefs and the assumptions underlying them.

Authors Potter and Estren reveal a step-by-step process to think for yourself; explain what authorities do to undermine people who question them; show how to defuse powerful anti-thinking weapons, such as ridicule; unveil the machinery of groupthink; and show how to stand up to professional “facilitators” whose aim is to prevent dissent.  Read QUESTION AUTHORITY TO THINK FOR YOURSELF and you will find out which of your views are your own, which have been subtly imposed on you, and how you can break out of the mental straitjacket that turns so many people into “sheeple.”


Stop Ridicule - Bottomline/Personal

Columbia School of Journalism