Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Obedience as an obligation

Continuing with Tim Snyder's book, ON TYRANNY;  the first of 20 lessons, "Do not obey in advance".  

When is obedience an obligation, obligatory, versus a point at which one must obey superior powers--rather than man?  

In his first lesson, Tim writes: 
Most of the power of authoritarianism is freely given (obedience as an obligation). In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want (and demand), and then offer themselves without being asked. A citizen who adapts in this way is teaching power what it can do. 
Using the developments in the 1930's rise of the Third Reich (Hitler, the annexing of Austria and other events) as an example of what happens when obedience or duty goes too far; that is, when intentions, good or not, produce prejudice, persecution and genocide of those peoples judged as deserving such treatment. What is more, that many who could have resisted and rejected these mandates turned a blind eye and then joined in the fray, exiling and exterminating those evidently with entitlement of any rights or supposed worthiness. Most however seemed to go about their business, ignoring the signs and symptoms of their submission.

Should we each be shocked by our willingness to submit to authority while forfeiting  righteousness, our own rights let alone those of other, deemed lesser?

More to come.   


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