Obedience

Topics: Martin Luther King, Jr., African American, Nonviolence Pages: 3 (872 words) Published: February 6, 2014
Obedience

Some of the darkest times in history have resulted from passive obedience, not from large acts of violence. Howard Zinn, a social activist, once stated “Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.” In many instances, leaders or dictators have taken over a specific group of people and caused them to obey their commands by frightening them with authority. Obedience appears as the main cause of war, genocide and slavery because people show obedience at the wrong times and the wrong places all over the world, in hopes of eliminating and preventing poverty, starvation, war, cruelty and all terrible predicaments. Obedience relates to our contemporary culture because humans feel that in order to adapt they must respect higher authority obey the individuals of higher authority in order to survive. However, the wrong individual usually acquires power when society lacks rules and authority. According to history, civil obedience has caused devastation and through civil disobedience, people have achieved justice. As seen multiple times throughout history, civil obedience causes more of a threat than violence, allowing the views of one to be imposed on many. Society has a tendency to maintain the past. Rebellion acts only as an occasional reaction to suffering in human history; we have infinitely more instances of submission to authority than we have examples of revolt.The Nazis gained power in Germany because of Adolf Hitler, a dictator that wanted to conquer all. During the Holocaust, the only way that people survived was through obedience. Hitler’s sudden rise in power frightened people because they finally realized his capabilities. They cooperated with his violent acts with little hope that they may have made it alive. People obeyed only because of the fear they held for the higher authority. Conformism and obedience can also cause danger. Historically, rulers have used...
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