I had a conversation with a younger colleague today that serves as an example of why it is so important to question authority. We were talking about how there are times when I think it would be good to video or record ‘officials’ when they come to our property. “Is that legal?”, he asked “Surely thats against the rules”. I pointed out that there is no law against filming people in public places, let alone outside your home. He wasn’t convinced. “So its not ok to film someone with a badge if they come to your house, but yet you are filmed on CCTV whenever you walk down the street, go into a shop, or a bank?” I asked. “Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought of it like that”, he said.
We are so well trained to think of anyone ‘official’ as in some way governed by different rules, that it goes without question. But they aren’t. Mostly they rely on us either not questioning, or not knowing what the rules are, and if you don’t know the rules, how do you know whether someone is playing by them or not? Whether its a TV license, a water meter, planning or you are dealing with utilities, find out what your rights are, don’t assume that the person you are dealing with is right, and above all, don’t be afraid to question them. Their power really does come from our obedience.