This famous psychological experiment from 1971 demonstrated that when ordinary people are given absolute power over others they act like fascists.
The test subjects were divided into two make-believe persona: prisoners and guards. The prisoners had to do whatever the guards wanted. Before long the guards abused the prisoners.
The experiment was ended prematurely before it got out of hand. There are a couple of movies based on it called The Experiment, and in German, Das Experiment.
The comparison with medical tyranny is that the politicians, media, and unelected state health officials now seemingly in charge of our lives are acting like fascists by abolishing our constitutional rights in various ways.
We’re in the midst of the rise of what’s often called medical tyranny, due to the suspension of civil liberties in liberal democratic nations under “emergency orders” and under the pretext of public health.
It doesn’t make sense to do this for a disease with a high recovery rate (low mortality rate) and for which low-cost remedies are available (e.g., Ivermectin) — unless it’s for some other reason than public health. Another proof is that they want to impose the jab on children who don’t need it. Here is a list of eight proofs that it’s not about public health.
What are the real reasons then? The most obvious reason is to sell “vaccines.” Forty new billionaires have been created in 2021 as a result. It also concentrates power in the hands of those who want to impose a global autocracy: the globalists. And it allows the CCP to spread its brand of imperialism, to achieve world domination by 2049 (their stated goal).
Some of their motives may be altruistic, such as solving climate change through a so-called Great Reset, but for others, the motive is power as an end in itself. For many, more than one motive exists.
For example, Bill Gates may be trying to solve climate change, but perhaps he also enjoys the power that goes along with his role as world saviour. I don’t think profit is a motive for him, as he’s already wealthy.
But the motive of power is evident among politicians and bureaucrats and state health officials. Some examples are Governors Whitmer and Newsom, Mayors Lightfoot and deBlasio, Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Jacinta Ardern, and health official Drs. Fauci and Tam (in the U.S. and Canada). They have long sought the absolute power that they now enjoy.
Many politicians have taken advantage of the situation, turning themselves into petty tyrants by imposing lockdowns, fines, arrests, vax mandates and passports, and other draconian measures that ordinarily would never happen. Some really seem to enjoy the powers they’ve been granted.
They’re also ideologically motivated. Trudeau, Ardern, and deBlasio, for example, are all committed socialist globalists who use climate change and other causes as a pretext for seizing power.
Many of these measures did more harm than good. In fact, a cost-benefit analysis of the lockdowns has demonstrated that they should never have taken place.
Now there are isolation camps being built and in Canada retired police are being hired to arrest the unvaccinated and detain them there, recalling similar tactics in Communist nations.
When you give ordinary people absolute power they will tend to abuse it. It’s also similar to the infamous Milgram Experiment insofar as most people blindly defer to medical authority.
These two famous experiments can together help explain why so many ordinary people have gone along with this situation. Whoever planned this is a diabolical genius. It has far more to do with the exercise of power than with public health.
A detailed social psychology of the entire situation is in order. It should focus on the psychology of obedience and fear and mass hysteria. I would be interested to see more of these deeper analyses.
What’s also fascinating to consider is that the architects of what’s happening now are quite familiar with the psychology of what they’re doing. In fact, it’s been called a psychological operation (psyop), part of asymmetrical warfare.
Secret studies were conducted for years on smaller populations to determine what would work and what wouldn’t; then it was launched in late 2019.
A conspiracy theory? Yes, but quite a plausible one, for which evidence exists (e.g., the 2015 People’s Liberation Army paper on SARS-CoV2 as a form of a weapon against the U.S titled “The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons”).
Peter Berger’s The Sacred Canopy refers to the cyclic pattern of socialization. We’re witnessing that being used now, through propaganda and swiftly changing social norms and laws, on an accelerated time scale.
In a word, it’s social engineering through propaganda to induce mass hysteria. It’s being done for political and economic reasons, to eradicate liberal democracies.
This is how “the new normal” is created — and how all of society is created and reinforced. New norms, such as mask-wearing are first imposed through institutionalization, then objectification, then internalization, until what’s new becomes habitual The following essay discusses what’s happening, from a sociological perspective.
Controversial statuses on Facebook can be a barometer of how compliant those on your friends list are to the governmental rules and guidelines on tackling COVID-19. It could be argued, that if the first comment replying to the status is of a negative, opposing argument, the replies which follow tend to be of the same slant. Nevertheless, if the first one or two comments agree with the perspective of the original post, again the replies tend to follow suit. There is of course exceptions to this rule which is purely personal observation, in that occasionally a “rogue” comment will surface where someone with head firmly placed above the parapet, throws themselves among the lions. Although there is a biased slant to the discussion it isn’t a discussion about the differing or opposing arguments, it is instead a look at studies of compliance conformity and obedience, which is relevant today within the COVID Pandemic.
What is being observed is compliance from many, which refers to when an individual appears to agree with an individual or group of people publically, but privately may disagree with them. Therefore a viewpoint may be temporary and changeable depending on the group and their beliefs. This at times may be due to identification, for example, how an individual wants to be identified or in certain circumstances, how they must be identified due to their social identities, such as police, teachers, and politicians. Although we may read about certain behaviours and comments from those that share beliefs of COVID-19 and the guidelines, which tend to agree with the government rhetoric. Nevertheless, outward compliance or conformity does not always match the internal beliefs which may be completely opposite and are unchanging. However, of course publicly or externally agreeing is also at times married up with an internal belief. This is the deepest level of conformity where the beliefs of a group or in this case the government narrative become part of the individual’s own beliefs. This is despite the existing scientific research which opposes that belief, which is then deemed to be conspiracy theories and what would appear to be rational to those opposing the government theory.
THE ASCH STUDY OF CONFORMITY
Showing compliance in action, Asch conducted a study that was to be an experiment in conformity. It highlights the effects of the research participant in a situation where they believed that they were alone in their internal belief. This was to result in the belief being cast aside in favour of the majority belief neglecting their own internal belief. This, similarly to individuals commenting on COVID guidelines is subject to change. The study revealed also that this change can come about if the participant felt they had an ally, this instilled confidence to respond in a way that was true to their internal belief. The video of this study is below.
Nevertheless, the Asch experiment in highlighting compliance when then internal beliefs and external behaviour differ, however, internalisation is also evident within social media arguments relating to COVID. It has been observed that many individuals who are compliant outwardly with the government narrative have also internalised their beliefs. This has resulted in many aggressive arguments which include name-calling and disrespectful comments from individuals by personalities that have given no hint of aggressive impulses previously. This, it could be argued is as a result of moral justification. Psychologist Albert Bandura theorises that a key set of disengagement practices operates when people do not ordinarily engage in inexcusable conduct until they have justified their actions to themselves making liable actions moral. This is through cognitive reconstrual, a moral justification process making detrimental conduct personally and socially acceptable by portraying it in the service of valued social or moral purposes (Kelman & Hamilton, 1989).
DEHUMANISING AND MORAL JUSTIFICATION
Social cognitive theory would support that idea Bandura, (1991) argues that moral standards are constructed, and moral reasoning is translated into actions through self-regulatory mechanisms through which moral agency is exercised. Our standards serve as guides and deterrents for action, which is regulated by the consequences we give ourselves. People act in ways that produce satisfaction and a sense of self-worth. while refraining from behaving in ways that violate their moral standards, as such behaviour will bring self-censure. However, self-censure for harmful conduct can be disengaged or dulled by dehumanization that rids people of human qualities or attributes inhuman qualities to them and no longer viewed as people with feelings (Haritos-Fatouros, 1988; Keen, 1986; Kelman, 1973). Studies have shown that otherwise considerate people when given punitive power, treat dehumanized individuals much more harshly than humanized ones (Bandura et al., 1975). Dehumanization fosters different patterns of thought. People enlist moral justifications for punitive conduct directed toward individuals who have been deprived of humanness, which allows their condemnation on moral grounds. In everyday life, a lot of aggressive behaviour gets justified in the name of protecting honour and reputation and in the case of those that argue for the COVID guidelines to protect the nation’s health.
MILGRAM’S OBEDIENCE STUDY
However, the moral justification theory was tested by Stanley Milgram who conducted an experiment in 1974 that examined the power of obedience to authority,. Obedience is a form of social influence that involves performing an action under the orders of an authority figure. It differs from compliance (which involves changing your behavior at the request of another person).
Most people would inflict what they believed to be painful electric shocks ranging from 15 to 450 volts to another person when instructed to do so by an authority figure. Although only simulated, the research subjects believed that the experience was real and controlled the delivered shocks with 65% of the subjects going to the end despite cries of pain and the pleadings of the learner to stop,. Thus, proving the tendency people have in obeying authority figures even when their orders go against people’s values and morals. Many participants later explained that they genuinely did not feel responsible for their actions because they were just following an authority figure’s orders.
NAZI WAR CRIMINALS
Milgram noted that the Nazi war criminals typically offered the same explanation for their terrible deeds (Milgram, 1974). However, as one war crimes prosecutor suggested, “obeying orders” was probably a convenient excuse (Sereny,2002) that helped conceal the Nazi perpetrators’ personally more responsible motives, including careerism, greed, ambition, and racism, and many others. To test the validity of the just following orders defence, one Nuremberg judge shrewdly asked a Nazi war criminal if: “…after receiving an order…from a superior officer, to shoot your own parents, would you do so?” Averting his eyes from the other defendants…Seibert responded, “Mr. President, I would not do so…” In one sentence Seibert had destroyed the defence’s case (Earl, 2004). It therefore could be argued that had members of the same family as teachers and learners, Milgram’s results may have drastically altered if, as the case of Seibert shows, even Nazis were likely to have resisted orders to hurt those close to them. The protection of those close to us may also sway our judgment and opinions when referring to the following of orders from the government concerning infection control.
FOLLOWING COVID ORDERS
This may also explain to an extent the behaviour of individuals given temporary power of control within settings such as supermarkets. Supermarket assistants were also afforded a power over shoppers, with many barking orders to “following the arrows”, and “stay back” among other demands. and the new guidelines that the police are to ensure the public adheres to. The police made sure that the public didn’t leave their homes for longer than an hour, keep two metres apart, and only shop once a day, alone. Reports revealed that they made house calls following complaints that these guidelines were being ignored and people were stopped and questioned as to where they had been, why, and who with. We are essentially unaware if those with this temporary control are acting out of real fear, or acting under external compliance, yet their internal belief is different. Or are their actions due to internalisation, wherein they internally and externally believe the government narrative and are perhaps also acting out of fear? Or are they simply following orders? Maybe there is an authoritarian personality that is bubbling under the surface of a few individuals?
ZIMBARDO -THE STANDFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT
The authoritarian personality syndrome was developed by a team of psychologists (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson, & Sanford, 1950) after WW 11, in an attempt to make sense of the Holocaust and appeal of national Fascism and Hitler. Biased towards a dispositional conclusion focused their study on personality factors responsible for a fascist mentality, overlooking however many processes operating at political, societal, economic and historical levels of analysis to influence and direct millions of individuals into a controlled behavioural channel of hating Jews and admiring the apparent strength of their dictator. Cognitive reconstrual could be also attributed to the participants of Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Research Experiment in 1971.
Twenty four subjects assumed the roles of ‘prisoner’ or ‘guard’ within an experimentally devised mock prison setting on the Stanford University campus. The projected two-week study was to test people’s responses to an oppressive regime; however, it was to be prematurely terminated when it became apparent that many of the ‘prisoners’ were in serious distress a result of many of the ‘guards’ behaving in ways which brutalized and degraded them.
The role play was observed to become almost reality in conformity that was to influence all that operated within it to behave in ways appropriate to its character, but inappropriate to their usual life roles and values; this included the research staff, faculty observers, a priest, lawyer, ex-convict, and relatives and friends of the subjects who visited the “prison”. One guard, in particular, was influential in swaying other guards to behave in an aggressive and vindictive manner, behaviour is contagious, and the behaviour modeled by one followed by another to conform. Other behaviours may be seen to be an expression of compliance (obedience) toward authority in a display of minority conversion. Zimbardo believes the Guards behaviour and display of perverse power in both shaping behaviour and predominating over personality, attitudes and individual values were of a situational disposition
THE COVID PANDEMIC SITUATION
During the COVID pandemic, individuals have displayed personality traits that have possibly lain dormant previously. Disrespectful attitudes have been more noticeable than before between groups with differing opinions, with one group refusing to accept the government rhetoric and with a desire to “show” society that they are being lied to, and the other group dehumanizing them, allowing the moral justification strengthen their confidence. However, there is a tendency to minimize or ignore situational variables or the situation which has forced the behaviour, and instead of referencing the disposition of individuals, this has been termed the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE) (Ross 1977). This is a result of society’s individualistic values which negates the collectivist according to Triadis (1994) which when trying to understand the ambiguous causal scenario tends to overutilize dispositional analyses and under-utilize situational. In other words, it is individuals that are blamed for the ills of society and we look for evil or deviant in society, which according to Zimbardo (2004) has the ‘social virtue’ of taking society “off the hook” as blameworthy. Essentially we must not forget that it is an accumulation of history, politics, and the encouragement of dehumanising those that dare to disagree with authority.