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5-28-2010 @ 12:26PM
While I don't argue with your conclusion, Milgram's experiment wasn't proving people become tyrants with power. It proved that people will follow instructions by "authorities," as a rule, especially when the results are not directly seen. Remember, the experiment was that the volunteer was "shocking" another "volunteer" to see if "noxious stimuli" encouraged the recipient of the shock to remember better. But the twist was each shock was meant to be slightly more powerful than the one before. Before long, the shocks became agonizing, with the recipient begging to have the experiment stopped, but because the "authority" told the person controlling the shocks to continue, they kept coming, even when the implication was that the shocks knocked the victims unconscious or even killed them.The Milgrams experiment investigated blind obedience of "authority." ("I was just doing as ordered.") A closer experiement would be one I read involving children in a class room being told that a certain hair color (or eye color or something) was less intelligent than others, with the rapid onset of insults, exclusion, and bad behavior towards the "lesser" color. Or the classic experiement on abuse of authority, as in the Stanford Prison Experiement, where the "guards" rapidly began treating the "prisoner" volunteers (Both groups college students) very poorly indeed.We're social animals and tend to follow the group behaviors. For good or ill.
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