Quote of the day–Jerry M. Burger

The conclusion is not: ‘Gosh isn’t this a horrible commentary on human nature,’ or ‘these people were so sadistic. It shows the opposite — that there are situational forces that have a much greater impact on our behavior than most people recognize.


Jerry M. Burger
December 20, 2008
Shocking revelation: Santa Clara University professor mirrors famous torture study
[This is a reproduction of the infamous Milgram Experiments. I must conclude that this is either a facet of human psychology or at least a facet of multiple cultures. These results have tremendous impact on everything from the Holocaust, Jonestown, and civil rights to gun confiscation. Do not count on people to “do the right thing” if they are given the option of using the excuse “I was just following orders”.–Joe]


One thought on “Quote of the day–Jerry M. Burger

  1. This goes deep into human behavior. I’d go a little farther and say that there is a tendency to want an authority figure to make the decisions, thereby removing the often heavy burden of having to make difficult decisions for one’s self.

    “For instance, the suicides at Jonestown were just the last step of many,” he said. “Jim Jones started small, asking people to donate time and money, then looked for more and more commitment.”

    I’ll compare that to the continued demands for “meeting us halfway” or for “Compromise” or demands that we be “reasonable” and etc.. One little bit of compromise often leads, automatically, to demands for more compromise.

    More often, the one compromise that’s on the table isn’t the goal– it’s a tactic. Yeah– that’s Jim Jones, and it’s the American Left (leftist Republicans and Democrats). I’ve compared the two on several occasions.

    “Additionally, the volunteers confronted a novel situation — having never before been in such a setting, they had no idea of how they were supposed to act, he said.”

    Poppycock. It isn’t novel. We’ve all been in that situation, on some level, many times, starting in early childhood. Our parents had another term for it– peer pressure. The term “mob mentality”, might work also (the difference being the influence of many, rather than the influence of one or two authority figures). We’ve all seen it.

    In recent events, we saw the post Katrina gun confiscations in NOLA. Officers having been sworn to uphold and protect the U.S. constitution is no protection whatever unless they’ve also been given various role-playing exercises designed to give officers a strong resistance to “just following orders” and thereby instill in them, by examples, a solid foundation of principle. It takes practice.

    This is interesting on many levels. The concept of “living by a set of principles” usually doesn’t get much play in the media, unless it’s for the purpose of ridiculing it.

    I submit that much of the 1960s Youth Movement in America was aimed at breaking down this sort of resistance. The Russian communists, the Nazis, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, to name a few, specifically and openly targeted the youth, assuming, correctly, that young people have less resistance to control by authority (a weak foundation of principles). Interesting isn’t it, how the ’60s youth assumed they were rebelling against authority. “Never trust anyone over 30.” “Fight the power.” Rebell against “The System.” Shunning one set of authorities, I suppose, while embracing some other. The various socialist movements were rife with that sort of thing.

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