Fear of Disobeying Leads to Genocide
Obedience, as well as disobedience, has been ingrained in our culture since the beginning of time, so it is no surprise that so many people obeyed Hitler and killed millions of Jewish people. In the Christian religion disobedience is viewed as bad and obedience as good. In the story of Adam and Eve, they disobeyed God by eating from the tree of knowledge and were exiled from Eden. In the story of Noah, he obeyed God and Noah and his family were rewarded and lived through the great flood. These same stories are found in many cultures and religions throughout history. After hearing these stories your entire life, how can one be expected to disobey an authority without, at least, the subconscious fear of negative consequences? Our natural fear of disobeying authority can turn normal, mentally stable, everyday people into genocidal killers.
Crispin Sartwell explains in his essay, that there are four basic qualities that people share that will make it easy for an authority to turn them into killers. Sartwell’s points include deference to authority, response to social consensus, willingness to respond to people as members of a group and to expect groups, overall, to display certain qualities, and a desire for your own security and that of your family and friends (363). The way people react to police officers, bosses, and other authorities is generally the same; people listen to what they say. If a police officer says to step out of your car, then you will step out of your car. We’ve all been a part of cliques, whether the Goth group in high school or in a fraternity in college. We all expect certain people to act a certain way. Gay men should be neat, clean, handsome, and talk with a lisp. People always have a need to protect their families; fathers have shot burglars breaking into their homes to protect their wives and children. Most people in this world fit these four qualities. Adolf Hitler looked for people who fit these...
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