I profess the belief that authority is responsible for most of the social problems in the world today. My definition of authority is, "The coercion by force or threat of people who could otherwise make their own decisions regarding their lives." This coercion can be direct or indirect, and can be readily seen or masked under subterfuge.
One place where coercive "authority" can be plainly seen is in the dictatorial regimes dotting Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The people there are subjugated to the ruler's will (often forcibly) at all times. Dissent is crushed under a military boot-heel whenever it rears its head, and freedom of speech is at best a false dream. The people are forced to labor for their overlord, who in turn uses this labor to grow even more powerful. The fruits of the common worker's labor are often automatic rifles, bombs and missiles, never the food, medicine, and education that they would need to loosen the grip of their masters and free themselves.
But, authority does not just reside in other continents--it is easy to see in the United States as well. A country founded by those who disdained any authority (Who we would today label as radical leftist Anarchists and Libertarians) has evolved into a State that mongers repression of the self and a lack of the freedoms that men died for in droves two-and-a-half centuries ago.
The gap between the poor and the rich continues to grow, with the "middle class" scrambling to regain a grip where they now reside. They desperately resist being sucked down into the "Lower Class" but it becomes more of a reality every day.
The class system (being labelled as "lower, middle" etc.) is an acid that dissolves away personal worth, making people believe that they are worth less than they are. People become inhuman, they become meat graded on its ability to feed the slavering jaws of politicians and businessmen. The laborers become nothing but another piece of machinery (See Marx), to be used and abused by the Capitalists who, in their greed, refuse to recognize workers as human. This class system was an invention of the Capitalists to keep the common man under his thumb. This devaluing of the self is one potent weapon that the corporations and government use to make us assume that there is nothing better in the world for us than laboring for them.
The rights that were once deemed absolute now can be dismissed with political misdirection and red-herring arguments. Freedom of Speech is limited in the respect that I have to adhere to certain rules when writing. NO HUMAN CAN REACH THE LIMITS OF HIS/HER ABILITY WHILE CHAINED TO THE GROUND. The adherences of convention, the ideas of obscenity and heresy are all inventions of those who would rather have people not express themselves to a fuller extent. Freedom of the Press is trampled with the amount of political manipulation that seeps into the media, warping what we need to know--FACTS. HUMANS CAN NOT BE EXPECTED TO MAKE A DEMOCRACY WORK WITHOUT UNBIASED INFORMATION THAT DETAILS THE FACTS OF CURRENT EVENTS. Freedom of Religion is sleighted when the Muslim endures torment among Americans, when the Jew is reviled by the ignorant, when the atheist is shunned by the believers. YOU CANNOT MANDATE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE OR DISBELIEVE.
The idea behind "rights" is that we are meant to believe that we were given them. We were not. We were born as humans , born out of the control of authority, and though we were indoctrinated into it early, we were never given rights, never granted them.
We were born with freedom, though some may have forgotten it.