Socialization at its finest

Why is it that the good guys are always ‘the rebels’, the nonconformists, the outsiders, and the bad guys are always ‘the empire’, the institution, the establishment?  I see this theme over and over again – the only exception being the typical cops-and-robbers scenario.  Even in this traditional ‘law vs the lawless’ situation, the law tends to be a loose cannon type, a rebel even within The Establishment, so the theme is continued even then.  The lawless form their own establishments – some mafioso-style institutionalized evil organization.  Maybe it’s just me.

So why exactly are we socialized so completely to accept this archetype?  Why do we consider the rule-breaker as a positive role, and the disciplined as the negative role?  Isn’t this contrary to the higher-level socialization that helps us differentiate right from wrong?  The law makers, the social leaders, and on a lower level the police all strive (in their ways) to show us the path of righteousness.  The last time FHP stopped me for speeding, however, I don’t remember him saying “Son, you were only going 80mph.  Next time you’d better be doubling the speed limit, or I’m going to have to write you a ticket.” 

Then again, if that were the case and the rule was to break the rules, then would we be compelled not to break the rules? Are we inherently inclined to break rules, to act independently and undisciplined?  I don’t think so.  I think there’s no small amount of cultural socialization that trains each culture to their own particular brand of discipline (or lack thereof.)  I also believe that may be the underlying problem and the answer to the question “what’s wrong with kids today” that we hear so often from them ol’ folks. 

What’s wrong with positive roles?  Whatever happened to Superman?

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