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Is the teacher-student hierarchy justified?

+2 votes
In terms of young child to teens being taught by adults, is authoritative power justified? If so, when does it stop being justified? And what are ways you could explain this to a child?
asked Jun 4 by Ari
what do you mean by "justified"?

as nihilist and funky said in their answers, "justifying", "justice", etc. get defined by "the authorities", by hierarchical organizations. in that sense, authoritative power is always justified, because people in positions of authority define justice and justification, the words themselves and what actions apply or don't apply. i have no desire or interest in "justifying" anything.

if you mean, do i like/want/desire a hierarchical, authoritative relationship between young students and older teachers, i would answer: certainly not.

in my teen and pre-teen years, i hated that people assumed authority over me, whether my parents, or teachers at school (a place that all the so-called authorities forced me to go)....

and when young people tell me now (40+ years later) that they hate the power of teachers over them, i try to help them fight that authority in whatever ways i can. i express to them that i don't believe in that hierarchical power relationship, that i hate it as they do.

2 Answers

0 votes
It's only justified to the extent that the students agree to it, but children never have that option.

In anarchy how something "justified" is un important because it's based on voluntary human relationships. Justification is generally important in the authority business. For example: what is a court system other than a justification for the state?
answered Jun 5 by Nihilist (-790 points)
+3 votes

i see absolutely no reason why a "teacher/student" relationship need be hierarchical or authoritarian. the idea of expertise (often expressed as "authority", a poor choice of words imo) need have no relationship with the idea of hierarchy (or power/authority). i am more skilled at building rustic structures than my friend who is more skilled at growing food. there is no hierarchy there, simply individuals sharing freely.

the question of when a child is capable of making their own autonomous decisions is a tricky and nuanced one. but the extent to which modern humans (at least in my experience) coddle and over-protect young beings is a huge problem in the growth of strong, independent-minded beings, imo. and that coddling is typically done using authority (compulsory education?). analogous to the way nanny government tries to coddle and over-protect its constituency.

the idea of "justified" hierarchical/authoritarian relations sounds like chomsky's school of thought.

literally anything can be "justified" (or "unjustified"), based on one's perspective and situation. once the analysis goes beyond that, all kinds of assumptions and generalizations come into play. such as the idea that there is some singular, common baseline against which "justification" becomes relevant/necessary (that baseline is typically defined by authority). for me that is a completely individual thing.

answered Jun 7 by funkyanarchy (12,380 points)
funky, i think quite often about what you said in the second paragraph...

it seems like such a strange phenomenon, that young people so frequently get coddled/over-protected while simultaneously using the concept of authority....so they become catered to and ordered around at the same time....the message of both indicating to the young person "you can't think for yourself or handle anything yourself...i cannot trust you, you cannot trust yourself".
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