liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

QotD: Getting Humans to Kill

The nearness of authority is especially relevant to the real-life obedience requirements of combat and war. As it turns out, individual conscience draws a surprisingly firm line at killing--surprising for those who think of human beings as natural war makers. This aspect of conscience is so resilient in normal people that military psychologists have needed to devise ways around it. For example, military experts now know that to make men kill with any kind of reliability, commands must be given by authorities who are present with the troops. Otherwise, the men in the field will tend to "cheat" on their orders to kill, will intentionally misaim or simply fail to fire, to keep from violating this mightiest proscription of conscience.
--Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door, p65
Tags: authoritarianism, guns, life, military, murder, my species, psych, quotes, science, war

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