Many westerners ( at least I did ) have the impression that Buddhism is in tight with science, encourages critical thinking ( logic, evidence, etc ) and free thought. You see many younger westerners with a rebellious or scientific bent with an interest in Buddhism for that reason. After years of reading chunks of the Pali Canon, meeting Buddhists from Asia I think this impression is an exaggeration.
I don't think an authoritarian mentality is bad. Like anything else, it has a sweet spot. You can have too much or too little which can cause detriment.
Too little, and people tend not to stick with things long enough to see the benefits. Too much, and you get stagnation. People aren't free to question things, either from someone else telling them to be quiet or from people internalizing those rules inside of themselves. Without questioning things you can't learn enough to make things work, discover new beneficial things or make beneficial changes to make things work better.
In my opinion, too much of an authoritarian mentality is born out of a frightened or beaten down mind. Too little respect for authority is the sign of either an immature mind, a troubled mind or ignorance.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.