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Obedience To Authority As Showcases In A Few Good Men

2320 words - 10 pages

Obedience may be a simple word, yet it has a powerful impact on the daily lives of millions. Obedience is simply when one follows the orders or directions of another figure, presumably in an authoritative position. This is something nearly everyone bows to everyday without even realizing it - and it can drastically change our lives as we know it. Obedience is, for example, how the holocaust happened. The Germans were ordinary people turned into murderers because they followed the orders of one man - their dictator, Adolf Hitler. Of course, obedience does not always result in horrid results such as the holocaust or result in such a large catastrophe. Obedience can have drastic effects on the ...view middle of the document...

Nathan Jessep, the leader of the troops at Guantanamo bay, he began to become suspicious that something was amiss. With the urging of Lt. Col. JoAnne Galloway he dived deeper into the case, and brought it to court. Against all odds he manages to get Col. Nathan Jessep to stand trial and admit that he was responsible for the Code Red. However, his confession did not let Dawson and Downey leave as free men; they received a dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps, which was everything that they stood for. In Milgram’s experiment the “Teachers” were told to administer increasing levels of shocks to the “Learners”, who were actually actors. The experimenter controlled the experiment and whenever the teacher was on the brink of abandoning the experiment he demanded that they continue. Fromm discusses why a person is so willing to comply to authority. He notes that a person can only become free through acts of disobedience, and that obedience could literally bring upon the destruction of life as we know it. He concluded his essay by stating that a few people could extinguish the life of millions by following orders to push very dangerous buttons that would unleash an arsenal of nuclear firepower.

Even when a command goes against one’s morals he or she is likely to obey the command. In A Few Good Men Jessup orders his underlings to give Santiago a “ Code Red”. This surprised the other officers as “Code Reds” were no longer allowed in the military. However, the order was passed down, all the way to Dawson and Downey. They proceeded to do as they were told even though they did not want to. This is evident because while one of the members of the platoon in question was standing trial, he said that the reason that no one else would give Santiago a code red was because Dawson would kick their butt. This shows that following through with the “Code Red” was against Dawson and Downey’s morals. In fact, they repeatedly said that they had just followed their orders… they felt like the fact that they did what they were told excused them from what happened. Kaffee, however, upheld his morals by not doing what was expected of him. He knew that he had been assigned to the case because he had plea bargained every one of his previous cases. However, once the parts of the puzzle started to come together he decided to make a stand - and he risked being court marshaled in the process. This level of honorability was not reflected in Milgram's study. In his experiment teachers were told to deliver a jolt of electricity to the learner for every wrong answer. They did so and, with prompting from the experimenter, about two thirds of the subjects went all the way to 450 volts. This was phenomenal, as nobody was predicted to go past one hundred and one hundred and fifty volts. “ Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work became patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few...

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