Abuse of Power

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  1. ledefensetech profile image69
    ledefensetechposted 9 years ago

    It's funny but after all the crap the US armed forces went through over Abu Gharib and abusing suspected terrorists, it would seem that prisoner abuse is endemic. 

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090717/ap_ … ison_abuse

    Of course, for anyone who knows anything, it's long been known that putting even a group of seeming normal people (guards) in charge of others (prisoners) leads to abuses.

    http://www.apa.org/topics/iraqiabuse.html

    The above link tells the story of the Stanford Prison and Milgram experiments.  They took a group of college kids and divided them into two groups, one guards, one prisoners.  The guards, most of whom never showed sadistic tendencies, became devotes of the Maquis de Sade during the experiments.  This quote, "It's not that we put bad apples in a good barrel. We put good apples in a bad barrel. The barrel corrupts anything that it touches.", in particular struck a chord with me.

    This study proves that people cannot be trusted with power. I'd argue that not only can they not be trusted in guard/prisoner roles, but any role in which people are given the power to decide the fate of another.  In effect, the power goes to their head.

    The Milgram experiments support this view.  In fact, those experiments go a long way to explaining the actions and reactions of Germans and Jews during the Holocaust.  Which is why, I suppose, many Nuremberg defendants used the "I was only following orders" excuse.  It also explains how otherwise normal kids can participate in atrocities.  When it's all around you, you tend to just take cues from the environment.

    What's the point of all of this?  Nothing much.  I just found it interesting that some of the people most loudly bemoaning the "criminal" activities of American soldiers are now guilty themselves of perpetuating the horror themselves.  And it's a warning to the rest of us who might be complacent and think we're above doing that.  We shouldn't be that sure.  Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

    I'd even argue that it's not only guard/prisoner relationships that are susceptible to this kind of abuse, but any relationship in which one person can compel another.  Something to ponder I think, especially when we're considering giving so much power to those in government.

    1. profile image0
      Madame Xposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I've read about this. That's why our tripartite form of government is so brilliant. Two branches of government are supposed to hold the third branch in check. It worked for a time, but these days everything is as scrambled as it ever could be.

      It's important for people to know about these experiments. Thanks for bringing it up tech.

      1. ledefensetech profile image69
        ledefensetechposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        No problem, I found it kind of interesting.  Actually I think all three branches were supposed to fight amongst each other so much, they wouldn't have time or energy to infringe on our freedoms.  It held up for a while, but those days are long behind us.

    2. Anam Cara999 profile image61
      Anam Cara999posted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Have you seen (or read) "The Reader?"  It makes astute observations on the phenomenon.  Perhaps those who would be guards are more likely to have the personality traits that lead to abuse of others.

      1. ledefensetech profile image69
        ledefensetechposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        No I haven't but if I understood the way the "guards" and "prisoners" were chosen it was pretty much a double blind so you wouldn't necessarily get the sadistic kids as guards and the submissive kids as prisoners.  Besides I have a hard time believing you can take a random sample of kids and get 99% of them to be chosen as guards who were also sadists.

        1. Anam Cara999 profile image61
          Anam Cara999posted 9 years agoin reply to this

          I recommend the film.

          It is sad if this is true.  However, there will always be a few who can judge right from wrong.  With that, there is hope.

          1. ledefensetech profile image69
            ledefensetechposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            I know what my decision would be, but I'm almost certain that my thought processes are different than most people.  I wouldn't rationalize torture that way. If I tortured, it would be because I made the choice, not because someone told me it was OK to do so.  Heck even the Holocaust had those who were willing to die to do the right thing.  I can't help but try to emulate their courage myself.

            1. Anam Cara999 profile image61
              Anam Cara999posted 9 years agoin reply to this

              You are a good person, and I think, someone who thinks.

          2. Misha profile image71
            Mishaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

            Providing there is no right or wrong, hope it is smile

            1. Anam Cara999 profile image61
              Anam Cara999posted 9 years agoin reply to this

              And YOU...should not give up hope.

  2. Misha profile image71
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    Wait till you get a real socialism here. You'll have lots of observation material - providing you manage to escape...

    1. ledefensetech profile image69
      ledefensetechposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      We'll have a revolution before too long.  Our frontier history is not that forgotten.

      1. onthewriteside profile image60
        onthewritesideposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        AMEN brother!  And that's not a religious statement!

  3. someonewhoknows profile image74
    someonewhoknowsposted 9 years ago

    It reminds me of an experiment done where a piece of fruit like a bannana was put into a jar and presented to a monkey.The monkey had to put his hand into the jar to remove the fruit,but he couldn't remove his hand while he also held the fruit. In fact he would rather die from being attacked than let go of that fruit.Interesting experiment.Humans are like that too.

  4. Misha profile image71
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    Well, both you and I know that revolutions rarely lead to planned outcome, at least on a populace level smile

    1. ledefensetech profile image69
      ledefensetechposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      True, but when it happens, I plan to secede.

  5. Misha profile image71
    Mishaposted 9 years ago

    LOL I gave it up long ago, and replaced it with the risk analysis. Serves me quite well since smile

    1. profile image0
      Madame Xposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      lol lol lol

  6. ledefensetech profile image69
    ledefensetechposted 9 years ago

    You can still hope, Misha, that doesn't mean you don't plan for the worst.

    1. onthewriteside profile image60
      onthewritesideposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Don't believe the church and state,
      and everything they offer.
      Believe in me,
      I'm with the High Command!

      and...

      There's a gun and ammunition,
      Just inside the doorway.
      Use it only in emergency...

      A little Mike and the Mechanics for your listening pleasure!  lol

      1. ledefensetech profile image69
        ledefensetechposted 9 years agoin reply to this

        I love that song!

        1. Make  Money profile image77
          Make Moneyposted 9 years agoin reply to this

          Yeah excellent song but Yikes.
          Mike & The Mechanics - Silent running

 
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