The Perils of Obedience

Friends of IFC,

I had been saving the idea I put forth to you now for a rainy day.  I wanted to avoid scaring anyone as I challenged you to think properly through a subject fraught with controversy.  I personally see this very simply, but too few do.  As I pen notes such as these, I know I’m writing to an educated and steadfast crowd of patriots.  What I’m unable to quantify is just how deeply you all believe in your civil rights.  Scarce among you are those who don’t recognize “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety,” as goes one of Benjamin Franklin’s most famous quotes.  We continue to see various states, government sanctions, and high-powered proclamations telling us what we can and cannot do and that doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety

-Benjamin Franklin

Do you know where your rights come from?  As much as I’m itching to tell you, I’m going to resist.  This question you should know, but if you don’t, search long and hard for the answer.  I’ll offer you a hint.  I will share with you where rights DO NOT come from.  Rights don’t come from man.  Why?  Any right conveyed to you by man is one that man himself will most assuredly curtail or remove.  Think about it.  Anything granted by man can be removed by man.  Are you comfortable with the idea that your civil rights are offered up by a seemingly benevolent government when that government is comprised of men that can later negate them at will?  What about only negating them when people are growing sick?  Would that make you more comfortable?  …And just how sick would you need to be in order for a man – the man – to remove your rights?  Cue Ben Franklin’s quote above.

Professor Stanley Milgram with his shock generator

I’ve studied the origin of rights and I’ve also thought through how those in positions of perceived authority offer you the notion that when they’re in charge your submission is not only encouraged, but correct.  During my research, I ran across a study from Yale in the 60s by a psychologist named Stanley Milgram.  Milgram was concerned that acts of genocide, like those he’d followed during the Nuremberg War Criminal trials, post-WWII, could be propagated over and over should a people adhere to obedience.  But it wasn’t simply obedience at the core of the concern.  It was obedience to authority that was problematic for Milgram.  Thus, he devised a procedure to offer a test to see how people randomly chosen would respond to the power of authority. 

The experiment surrounded increasing electric shocks, a “learner,” a “teacher,” and of course an “experimenter” who was dressed in a lab coat, complete with a clipboard, and all the accouterments necessary to ooze “authority” over the unsuspecting subjects.  The rates of shock were labeled and the highest rates were clearly labeled as a danger to health.     

Milgram sought to quantify how far people would go in terms of obedience while harming another person.  Milgram appeared equally interested in how easily influenced or coerced people would become by those in perceived positions of authority.  He believed this would indicate an answer to his question of how likely another atrocity like those committed by Germans in WWII would be.  Below is a video of the experiment with conclusions at the end.  I suggest you watch it in its entirety. 

Milgram summed his findings in an article titled, “The Perils of Obedience” which is easily found with a Google search.  Granted, many have criticized Milgram for the testing locale, the use of only men, and some other variables.  However, the point was not lost on me, when I saw the rates of shock people were offering coupled with far too many that completed that testing in full.

Authority will make you do things you never thought you would or could actually do.  Authority isn’t automatically bad.  We just have to be darned careful about Whose authority we’re submitting to and whose we are not.  Don’t hear what I’m not saying.  I am not for one moment suggesting you ignore best practices when dealing with a highly communicable disease.  I’m of the opinion that only a few of us actually benefit from a restriction, as the balance of us love our neighbors, friends, and family enough we can do what is best without the hand of government on our shoulders.  What I am placing before you is the necessary mandate to guard your liberty from attack.  In times such as these, we see opportunistic politicians and self-proclaimed experts exercising their authority too far and wide.  Be careful and think through what you’re being told to do.  Watch and compare how states outside your own handle things. 

St. Augustine – “libido dominandi” – the lust to dominate – Writing during the collapse of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine offered vital insight into the core premise of freedom. A man was no longer a slave by nature or by law according to St. Augustine. No. His freedom was a function of his moral state. A man had as many masters as he had vices. This precept is the foundation for an intricate form of social control over man and continues to grow nearly unchecked today.

Augustine of Hippo – 13Nov 354 – 28Aug 430 AD

I encourage you all to love your neighbor as yourself.  I’ve read that before and many know where.  Don’t place them or yourself at risk.  But diligently observe the authority figures in our state and nation. Watch both their actions and their attitudes. Are they seemingly eager or reluctant to exercise power over their fellow citizens? Do they incline toward liberty and personal responsibility or do they default to strict regimentation, enforced by the government’s police powers?  Those are character traits of which you should be mindful, and they indicate the core of a person. We must choose our representatives and public servants wisely. 

I began this communication to you all with a reference to saving this sentiment for a rainy day.  I was reminded today in an op/ed offered by Andrew Napolitano, what St. Augustine branded, “libido dominandi” – the lust to dominate – when government chooses between liberty and force.  Where do you think they’ll land if the government entertains this false choice?  Be very careful my friends, it is pouring outside.

In liberty,

Michael Ware – IFC Chairman

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  1. Randy Crawford says:

    Cuomo passed up his chance, covered up by pretext excuses, to get 16,000 respirators. He obviously is dumber than a bucket of turkey droppings or else he wanted a catastrophe to happen so he could use it as an excuse to grab dictatorial authority. Trump was very pro-active in quarantining Chinese flights several months ago, and was falsely labelled as a nutty racist by people who are now whining for billions or trillions in handouts. Big surprise. The current corona-virus “emergency” is a manufactured hoax for almost everyone and it is only a real problem for the aged and the immunocompromised, not the vast majority of average citizens. The vast majority of us don’t need to change our daily activities at all, and it is the tiny few who have reason to fear who need to shelter in place. The story we are being peddled by the mass media manipulators is a probe and a test run by political pirates to find out how easy it is to sucker the average American, who is being used as a psychological guinea pig. Or, as P.T. Barnum (reputedly, perhaps, or else one of his followers) put it, “there’s a sucker born every minute” and two standing in line ready to take him. I’ve already had corona virus a month ago, and it is merely like having a minor cold that comes and goes in about four days. That as a 67-year-old borderline old geezer. So, nobody’s lying tail or tale is going to wag this dog.

  2. Norlyn Baker says:

    As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Among the rights that God gave us are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Our rights come from God and our obedience should be to Him. Our country has largely rejected God and His authority over us, therefore, the rights we have accepted come from man, and as you astutely pointed out, can be changed on a whim or emergency. With changing values and authority, people don’t have a basis for deciding what they should do and will do what an authority tells them, no matter how much against what they want to do.
    The book “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman talks about Milgram’s experiments and how people will kill their peers just because an authority figure tells them to do it. (No one was killed in Milgram’s experiments but the people told to kill thought they were doing so.) Because we now have no higher authority than government by men and the supposed “truthful” new media reporting their agenda over and over we will be accepting of giving up our rights for an emergency that can only be met the authority of the government.
    We need to continue to stand with the US as founded and for our rights given by God and fight against the erosion of our country.

  3. Randy Crawford says:

    The statement “We need to continue to stand with the US as founded and for our rights given by God and fight against the erosion of our country.” and its preceding comments are totally true, as is the information in the original IFC article. The problem is that due to contrived anti-education efforts by aspiring dictators for several generations now, many people especially in self-constituted groups have been conditioned to manipulate and scheme for selfish personal power, while the concept of having civilized principles has largely been deceived out of many segments of the population.
    The past few decades, people have been trained to scoff at principles and think only of whatever their calculated lies and manipulations can perhaps get them what they want– at the expense of everybody else. Once people have been perverted and warped into “thinking” and acting more like criminal insects and less like principled humans, all the talk in the world about principles is increasingly likely to go nowhere. Altruistic principles function only when there is fertile soil and not stony ground for the seeds to fall upon. Sometimes you have to shake the dust off your feet and look elsewhere toward the next town.
    The problem is worsening at an accelerating downward rate. For example, Cuomo thinks that once he bungles up the respirator situation, perhaps on purpose, he is magically dictatorially authorized to run around sending his mindless myrmidons to steal any respirators anybody else has. And of course he will determine what if any the fair compensation price ought to be.
    Things aren’t obvious until degenerating to the level of who it may be who has to go to which concentration camp for the “good of the community,” or rather it is simpler to convert the whole country into one giant federalized concentration camp as we now see happening because Big Brother knows better than you do what is good for you. All the indications are that the wolf’s decerebrate “mentality” is going to get worse, while too pathetically few sheep have the means and sense and determination to keep their powder dry. Far too many doves don’t understand: “don’t believe everything you see, and even less of what you hear.”
    On the other hand, suffering makes men wise, so once enough idiots see where the Head Idiots are trying to drag the gullible trusting masses, eventually any luckily and wisely prepared survivors may arise like ancient Greek mythological phoenixes– to reconstitute a better and more civilized civilization. Between now and hopefully then, we may or may not pull out of the current nosedive– which may be an experiment on millions of guinea pigs rather than an ultimate coup type of effort. Or, the contrary since nor does the wolf announce the day and hour of his coming.
    Every person needs to be ready and do what he can 24/7/365 to maximize his own and his family’s chances to withstand the worsening tempest. Meanwhile, don’t depend on God to come save you anytime soon after 2,000 years of ongoing waiting, and don’t depend (any time soon) on most of your neighbors to wake up after lifetimes of being warped and perverted and conveniently deceived by media manipulations and smiley politicians. You are the one who is being tested, and you are the one who has the most to say about your ultimate fate. It is one thing to passively be given rights in the comfort that derives from someone else’s sacrifices. It is another thing to actively step up and fight for retaining them and strengthening them with whatever ongoing sacrifices that just might become necessary.

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