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Obedience to Authority

Stanley Milgram

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”

“It is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act.”

“The essence in obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view himself as an instrument for carrying out another person's wishes and he therefore no longer regards himself as responsible for his actions.”

“Control the manner in which a man interprets his world, and you have gone a long way toward controlling his behavior. That is why ideology, an attempt to interpret the condition of man, is always a prominent feature of revolutions, wars, and other circumstances in which individuals are called upon to perform extraordinary action.”

“But the culture has failed, almost entirely, in inculcating internal controls on actions that have their origin in authority. For this reason, the latter constitutes a far greater danger to human survival.”

“It has been reliably established that from 1933 to 1945 millions of innocent people were systematically slaughtered on command. Gas chambers were built, death camps were guarded, daily quotas of corpses were produced with the same efficiency as the manufacture of appliances. These inhumane policies may have originated in the mind of a single person, but they could only have been carried out on a massive scale if a very large number of people obeyed orders.”

“Control the manner in which a man interprets his world, and you have gone a long way toward controlling his behavior.”

“The importation and enslavement of millions of lack people, the destruction of the American Indian population, the internment of Japanese American, the use of napalm against civilians in Vietnam, all are harsh policies that originated in the authority of a democratic nation, and were responded to with the expected obedience.”

“Tyrannies are perpetuated by diffident men who do not possess the courage to act out their beliefs.”

“There is a propensity for people to accept definitions of action provided by legitimate authority”

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Book Keywords:

action, world-war-ii, wwii, american-values, courage, human-nature, obedience, behavior, tyranny, authority, psychology, ideology

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