John Stuart Mill's Obedience To Authority

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In Obedience to Authority, Stanley Milgram suggests that freedom is an intrinsic attribute for humans rather than an undertaking. Milgram believed that people are overly obedient because they have a potential from birth for obedience, and this potential meets society’s hierarchical and authority driven world that demands obedience. Milgram wrote that people obey because they have an instinct to do so, and that instinct is expanded by society and leads an individual to obey (Milgram 1974, 125). However, his claims are simplistic; his ideas require further development. Power and authority exist from the time one is born. Authority figures form one’s conscience from birth, and obedience is constructed in this conscience by authority. Because of …show more content…
John Stuart Mill, who raised questions about unquestioned following of organized religion, came to the conclusion that blind acceptance, or believing without critiquing, will petrify humans into obedience. Alexis De Tocqueville noted that this petrification does not solely happen to religious followers, it happens when one blindly accepts directives from authority, no matter the domain. Accepting mandates from authority figures without thinking on how it impacts oneself hinders freedom just as much as a clear, grotesque disruption of freedom, as in authoritarian governments. People blindly accept authority’s orders everyday, not just in controlled experiments like Milgram’s. It is as simple as accepting the norms society creates for men and women. It is the acceptance of a woman to wear makeup, dress a certain way, and act submissively toward men without question. For men, it is submitting to the norm that one must be able to jumpstart a car, have a muscular body, and be chivalrous. When this act is expected or required by authority, it hinders freedom. Plenty of women enjoy wearing makeup whether or not it is mandated, as men may enjoy lifting weights; however, in many instances, authority impedes on liberties and freedom. This blind acceptance is a deep rooted obedience that is so intense that authority could step away, and these acceptors would be completely lost. Without authority to tell these people how to look, act, and think, they would not know how to go on. This acceptance is the essence of obedience, which Milgram describes as when “the action carried out does not correspond to the motives of the actor, but is initiated in the motive system of those higher up in the social hierarchy” (Milgram 1974, 166). Milgram’s experiments not only described this blind obedience, but also explained why people obey so

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