The Baby Boomer generation (estimated at around 75 million) became politically active in the 1960s and 1970s, leaving its’ mark on society. The sheer size of this human tsunami rolled through American society and fueled the continuing Civil Rights, Gay Rights, and Women’s Movements and agitation against war. It also coincided with (caused?) loosening social mores, the sexual revolution, widespread recreational drug use, political correctness, identity politics, diminishment of personal responsibility, and excesses in many areas.
The 1960s mantra of “Challenge Authority” was the basis of my political activism. What exactly does “challenge authority” mean? Certainly more than disobeying your parents as a kid. Or calling the police “pigs.” Those are juvenile acts of rebellion. Challenging authority is not an attention getting ploy to display your courage or smarts or just for the sake of a good fight. A key component is resisting the temptation to act impulsively. In short, it's okay to break certain rules. But know why the rule exists, and have a good reason for breaking it.
In a serious political context, challenging authority does not have to be negative, especially when done with a clear purpose. Challenging authority is a form of nonviolent direct action. You must know what you want to accomplish—hence the need for focus, confidence, and hard facts. A legal/moral/ethical foundation is a prerequisite for such disciplined non-conformity.
The title Challenge Authority: Memoir of a Baby Boomer tells it all. Each of the five chapters contains at least a couple of challenge authority stories. In most cases I still believe my challenge, or at least questioning authority, was justified and the correct path. However, a few times my challenging authority was a dismal failure, often due to my immaturity and lack of experience.