A Cumpolsory Action Essay

1151 words - 5 pages

Even as people call themselves individuals and claim to do as they please, it is in their encoding to follow a simple command from a superior even if it objects their own judgement. In a simple experiment, such as that performed by Stanley Milgram, one command can make or break your own sense of self. Even if the command isn't compulsory, as seen by the marines in the movie A Few Good Men, orders can be extremely hard not to follow.
A Few Good Men depicts the court case of two marines, Private First Class Louden Downey and Lance Corporal Harold W. Dawson, who had been ordered to perform a "Code Red" on a fellow marine, Private First Class William T. Santiago. Stanley Miligram, a 1970's psychologist who wanted to test obedience in humans, believed that authority was the key to obedience. To test his theory he developed an experiment that involved a "Teacher", a volunteer who knew nothing of the true experiment, asking questions to a "learner", an actor, and if the actor got the question wrong he would be shocked. As long as the experimenter asked them to continue most shocked the learner to the full extent of 450 volts. As Dawson, and Downey knew what they were doing would hurt Santiago, the teachers in Miligram's experiment knew they were hurting the learner, yet they all continued. How far can you go until a command goes to far? When does a command become too much to follow?
The teachers in the Milgram's experiment, were not forced to continue, the experimenter did not take their hand and force it down, he simply told them to continue on. Seeing the experimenter as an authority figure, the teacher continued. It is bred into our minds to follow anyone who seems to have an authority about him, whether it is because we seem trust to someone of importance. The same goes for Downey and Dawson, in A Few Good Men. Being a good marine means listening to your commander no matter what. Dawson and Downey knew what they were doing was wrong, but they were not to question what they were told. They were under the marine code. The code stating: Unit. Corps. God. Country. As private Dawson states: " We joined the Marines because we wanted to live our lives by a certain code, and we found it in the Corps... I believe I was right sir, I believe I did my job, and I will not dishonor myself, my unit, or the Corps so I can go home in six months... Sir (Reiner, Rob)." The code meaning that they would protect in that order. If one marine was slacking, it would affect the entire unit. Without the unit, they could not follow the order. So it was Dawson, and Downey's job to train Santiago, a marine who was failing in his duty, as ordered by Col. Nathan Jessep. This order was known as a "Code Red", an unofficial illegal order by someone to train a marine who is falling behind. It is not stated anywhere in the marine handbook, it is just known.
As Milgram would say it is because Jessep was seen as an authority figure, and that was why the boys followed the order....

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