The Essential Existence of Obedience and Liberty

Topics: United States Declaration of Independence, Milgram experiment, Slavery Pages: 4 (1147 words) Published: March 1, 2009
The Essential Existence of Obedience and Liberty

Nadia Boulanger the famous French Composer said, “A great work is made out of a combination of obedience and liberty.” Through this statement we learn that obedience must be coupled with liberty in order to make something or someone great. This will not be an essay supporting disobedience but will in fact show how the greatest obedience is chosen; not forced upon an individual but the joining of obedience and liberty. In the article “The Perils of Obedience” Stanley Milgram defines obedience as:

“Obedience is as basic an element in the structure of social life as one can point to. Some system of authority is a requirement of all communal living, and it is only the person dwelling in isolation who is not forced to respond, with defiance or submission, to the commands of others. For many people, obedience is a deeply integrated behavior tendency, indeed a potent impulse overriding training and ethics, sympathy, and moral conduct.”

Milgram is simply stating that obedience exists in all societies of more than one individual. He defines obedience as a behavior that is deeply intertwined in the ethics of an individual. There is a difference between obedience and pure obedience. Pure obedience is the act of following without questioning while obedience is following because of choice. There are three different variations of obedience and liberty: pure obedience robs an individual of liberty, forced obedience without freedom is slavery, and pure obedience with liberty can be misguided.

The Revolutionary War was fought because Britain required pure obedience while the eventual American people sought liberty. Both could not exist at the same time during this era of American society. This is proven by the fact that the king required a high tax and the obstruction of their many freedoms due to parliamentary law. The Americans fought back because they realized that in order to obtain...
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