If some random guy ordered you to submit to his will – or else – most of us would at least consider it assault. Many of us would try to escape – or defend ourselves. Very few would quietly submit. And almost no one would submit willingly.
But when exactly the same thing is done to us by a person wearing a uniform, most of us not only submit and obey – we do so without even questioning the rightness of the thing.
The uniform – and other totems of officialized authority – confer legitimacy upon the illegitimate. It is a startling thing. It reveals that most people are incapable of grasping the concept of a moral principle – that something which is wrong when committed by an unsanctioned individual is just as wrong when committed by a sanctioned individual – or a group of them.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Why Do We Obey? by Eric Peters