I believe that the instinct to obey authority is generally a virtuous one.
- You should stop when a cop says to stop.
- The laws of congress should be enforced.
- And children should obey their parents.
But all of this should be measured against what is ethical and what is “right.”
Let’s just be conscious of mindlessly following nothing but a title.
To Milgram’s mind, evidence of a chilling phenomenon emerges repeatedly from his accumulated data: “It is the extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority that constitutes the chief finding of the study.” There are sobering implications of this finding for those concerned about the ability of another form of authority—government—to extract frightening levels of obedience from ordinary citizens.
-Robert Cialdini, Influence