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The Milgram Experiment

I'M TICKED OFF! I'm tired of COVID-19! I'm tired of the media pushing narratives down my throat and I have no idea what's true and what's false. I'm tired of people at Walmart giving me the evil eye because I don't wear a mask. I'm tired of politicians acting like spoiled 5 year old brats while vomiting their insatiable thirst for power and control over all of us. Its sickening! I'm gonna write a letter!

Dear American People,

It has come to my attention that these are very confusing times that we live in and that many of you are upset. I have very credible evidence that we are being duped! Let me explain. The evidence may surprise you. The evidence was generated almost 60 years ago in two studies conducted separately, first, at Yale University by a psychologist named Stanley Milgram and second, at Stanford University by Phillip Zimbardo. Lets start with the Milgram Experiment conducted in 1963.

Milgram sought to understand the relationship between authority and obedience. Bothered by the dynamics of World War II and how Hitler gained such power over the masses, Milgram speculated how everyday, common, hard working people, could be persuaded that an entire nation of Jews were despicable and did not deserve to live in this world any longer. How did Hitler persuade the masses to suspend their judgment and morals in order to carry out his sick and evil ideology that resulted in the deaths of some 6 million Jews, or two-thirds of the European Jewish population?

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that this is no scientific response to the Milgram studies. I understand that the ramifications of this study are multi-faceted and that many have offered critiques and opinions about the methodology, results and conclusions of the study. That is not the purpose of the letter. If that's what I was doing, I would have written the letter to Dr. Milgram! No, the purpose of this letter is to encourage the American people to use their brains, think for themselves and act accordingly as informed citizens verses blind mice. I'm just using The Milgram experiment to illustrate what we know about the dynamics of authority and obedience and apply that understanding to today's world.

So, back to the Milgram study. To understand the relationship between authority and obedience, Milgram designed an experiment employing men from a diverse range of occupations, with varying levels of education, who became "Teachers" in the study. The Teachers were told to provide feedback to a "Learner" who sat in an adjacent room. Milgram acted as the "Examiner", or otherwise, as the supreme authority and the one calling all the shots! The Teachers were told that the experiment focused on the impact of punishment on memory. The Teacher was led to believe that he was assisting the Examiner in the experiment and that his role was simply to administer feedback to the Learner. The feedback? Various degrees of electrical shock. There was one little catch to this experiment. Both Examiner and Learner were part of the study. It was the Teacher that was being studied! There was no actual electrical shock administered, but the Teacher didn't know that. Instead, when the Teacher pressed the button to administer shocks, shocks ranging from minor jolts on up to lethal levels, a pre-recorded response came out of the room that presumably housed the Learner. The responses were everything from minor groans to full out emotional pleas to stop the torture! However, keep in mind, the Teacher was acting on the Examiner's commands, encouragements and even insistence, that everything would be fine and that groans and even suffering on the part of the Learner, this was all part of a greater good and scientific understanding.

So, what you think happened? How far do you think the 40 Teachers were willing to go? What would you have done? Before you answer, lets make this a little more real. You answer a newspaper ad to get paid to assist Dr. Milgram and his psychology compatriots in an experiment on punishment and memory. You arrive at the study along with the Learner, whom you believe is also there to participate in a study that is trying to understand the impact of punishment on memory. You introduce yourselves, shake hands and off he goes to his private room and off you go to your room where Dr. Milgram sits. The stage is set. You start reading your list of words, later asking the Learner, whom you just met but cannot now see, to recall. When he gets it right, you go on to the next words, when he gets it wrong, you push the button to shock him! All the way up to 450-volt shocks, a jolt that could be potentially fatal. Oh yeah, and just before the experiment begins, the Teacher is given a low-dose sample shock so that they get an idea of what the shock will feel like.

Now are you ready for the results? Before I give them, I want you to jot down on a piece of paper, what percentage do you think was willing to go to the highest level of potentially fatal, 450-volt shock? What percentage were willing to go to the tortuously high level of 300-volt shock? Now, what percentage do you think quit the experiment...that would be the non-conformists, rebels, political dissidents, etc., crowd?

Well, I've gone longer with this letter than I have paper to write on. So tomorrow, I will finish this up, give you the results and make my points. as to the relevance of this study to today's COVID-19 "crisis" and world events! I promise you, the parallels between the lessons learned from the Milgram study and the condition of the today's world is an incredible revelation and eye-opener!


Dr. Russell Thomas

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