In the early 1960s, Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram wondered how apparently ordinary, courteous people in Nazi Germany could participate in appalling crimes against humanity. He had a theory that maybe it had something to do with respect for authority figures, so he conducted an experiment, which later has become known as the Milgram experiment and is taught in every modern psychology class.
A Shocking Experiment
In the experiment, a few dozen test subjects were recruited. Milgram told them that they were part of a vital research project to measure the efficacy of teaching through the use of electrical shocks. The subjects were instructed to inflict a shock on the “student” if he got the answer wrong. What they did not know is that they were, in fact, being tested by Milgram for how far they were willing to go, given that a man of authority, a doctor in a white lab coat, insisted that they continue.
The “student” was colluding with Milgram and was, in fact, an actor pretending to receive electrical shocks. The subjects could not see him, but they could hear his screams and visceral reactions.
Milgram polled fourteen Yale psychology professors who thought that between zero and three percent of the test subjects would succumb to the pressure of authority. He stunned academia by finding that 65% of the subjects were willing to inflict the highest level of shocks upon instruction, a lethal dosage of electricity, which would have killed the “student” had the experiment been real.
The Progressive Experiment
Could the Milgram experiment explain why so many people in the West are willing to go along with a radical deconstruction of their culture, nation, gender and the nuclear family? Consider the following experiment: imagine that you are both the “student” and the test subject. In other words, in this experiment, the authority figure is asking you to do great harm to yourself, your family and your country. How?
By calling you a bigot, sexist, fascist and racist.
Any person who dares say that the nuclear family consisting of a mother, father, and child is the most natural and beneficial for all is immediately labeled hateful and bigoted by an authority figure. Just ask Ann Coulter.
Anyone who has the audacity to say that Islam is not compatible with Western ideas of freedom and individualism is struck down as racist and Islamophobic. Just ask Sam Harris.
Anyone who recites the biological fact that men tend to be more interested in and better at STEM field jobs than women is immediately branded as a sexist and fascist. Just ask former Google-employee James Damore.
The Milgram experiment demonstrates that 65% of decent, ordinary folks are willing to act against their convictions and interests as long as an authority figure insists on it. It means that many non-racist, non-bigoted, non-sexist, non-fascists are willing to go along with harmful policies just because the elite denigrates them.
A Way Out?
There is, however, an upside to this depressing story. The Milgram experiment only works as long as the subjects don’t know that they are being manipulated, and as long as they have genuine respect for the authority of the people in power who are bossing them around. This means that there is a way to escape the progressive experiment.
People need to learn that they have too much respect for people in positions of unearned authority. Take professors, for instance. They receive automatic recognition from their students and society because they surf on the high standing of the academic institution. If people learn that certain parts of academia are rotten to the core and antithetical to academic values, it will desensitize people to their instructions.
Once people learn that some elitists are cynically manipulating them for ulterior motives, it might be enough to bring them out of their natural inclination to obey.