This I Believe

Will - La Grange Highlands, Illinois
Entered on February 26, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

It is common knowledge that one can’t believe everything he or she hears. In a world this complicated, even authorities aren’t even always right. Throughout the history of the world, one can see many instances where leaders used propaganda or abused the trust people had in them by deceiving their followers. You might think that all of these authorities are seen in a bad light but this is not always the case. Even the greatest leaders influence the general public to their needs. Therefore, I believe that although there are trustworthy authorities, the general public should not believe everything they hear.

The famous singer/songwriter Roger Waters wrote in his songs that there were three kinds of people. He compared these people to animals. Firstly he talks about the dogs of the world, who vainly tried to climb to the top on their own for their own personal gain. Then he wrote of the pigs, who led the masses corruptly, and the sheep who mindlessly followed the influential. This is a rather bleak outlook on life but is partly true. Some believe that the government follows this pattern since there are those who use propaganda to further their agenda as well as the mindless followers. Others believe that the public schools show a similar pattern.

But how did I find out that not all authority can be trusted? It is a strange story that goes back to my grade school. When I was in sixth grade, I had a rather odd science teacher to will be un-named in this essay. She believed many odd and unorthodox things but imagine my surprise when one day she presented the most ridiculous idea of all. In retrospect I suppose it wasn’t completely foolish since there are perfectly smart people who think it but she still shouldn’t have presented it as if it was fact. There in front of a class during the middle of a school day, a teacher tried to teach that man hadn’t truly landed on the moon. I don’t remember her explanations for this belief, but I do remember being surprised that she would teach such outlandish ideas to a whole class. I never openly challenged her idea, but realized that day that the sad truth is that authorities are just normal people who aren’t always honest and well meaning.

I believe that even though there are trustworthy authorities, the general public should not believe everything they hear. However, I am not advocating that one challenges all authority he or she comes across. There are still those who mean well and try to be unbiased. What I am saying is that people shouldn’t mindlessly follow anyone like sheep. Conversely, one shouldn’t be among the “dogs” of the world, who are self-centered and treacherous in their goals to reach the top. Instead people should be in the perfect middle, thinking for themselves but not being a lone agent and challenging everything.