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Increasing Conformity and Obedience for Positive Social Change: No One Gets Left Behind

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            “Mike Durant, we won’t leave you behind!” Two times this promise were reverberated from a helicopter pilot hovering above the war torn Mogadishu as Mike Durant, battered and injured was taken prisoner by Somali warlords with five dead comrades under his command (Bowden, 2000). Ninety one American soldiers conformed to their military oath to never leave their fallen comrades into the hands of the enemy. Ninety one American soldiers obeyed one superior authority that gives order to retrieve their fallen comrades and expects that order to be obeyed.

These soldiers conformed and obeyed because they are trained to do so. Re-socialization and training can be used to increase conformity and obedience in order to foster positive social change. Recruits were exposed to the new environment in order to conform and re-socialize themselves to their new career as military soldiers. In this case, extensive training is usually given to help them obey unconditional orders that create what we called blind obedience (“Factors Influencing Conformity,” 2010).

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Physical presence of an authoritative figure can also affect high levels of obedience (Milgram, 1974).

German soldiers were blindly led to what we called destructive obedience, bringing death and terror to innocent Jews and throughout the rest of Europe because they assumed that their furor knows what’s good for the German race. As in the case of Gen. W. Harrison that led Operation Gothic Serpent at Mogadishu, destructive obedience is somewhat in unique form. As he ordered his men to retrieve dead and wounded soldiers, it caused unprecedented chain of casualties that led him and his men to conform to the highest military creed: “No one will be left behind.” This fueled them to go on and fight for what they believed in without prejudice thus exemplifying the attitude of sacrificing one’s life for the good of their own fellow countrymen.

            Proper re-socialization and obedience training can minimize or maximize destructive obedience. It can lead to positive social change if given the proper and right authoritative figure to impose such obedience. A country that upholds democracy and liberty has the better position to use blind obedience rather than a country that nurtures terror and death. The 9/11 terrorist attack has initiated a social change that drastically altered our way of life. Various security measures with regards to terrorism has been prioritized and as a result, invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq were decided as the best deterrent to terrorism leading to an increase military recruitment (where conformity is a must) and training (where obedience is a requirement). For the US soldiers, it takes dead and wounded fellow men to be fully motivated by those in authority to join the fight against terrorism. This motivation was created by the necessity of such situation.

Conformity and obedience can be minimized and/or reduced if these emotions that sustain such motivation don’t matter anymore (Dahl, 1978) like what happened to the prolonged war in Vietnam. Increase in conformity and obedience promotes a positive social change by staying more vigilant to safeguard every possible security threat that could kill innocent civilians: By re-socializing those that must be involved in counter terrorism effort, giving them aid and make them feel vulnerable from Al Qaeda and Taliban attacks. By training them to recognize that there is only one authority to suppress such terrorism. And by conveying to them that all are united and that they are not alone in this crusade to deter any aggression and suicide attacks. We could see in the end a more vigilant society undaunted and without fear of any reprisal and terror. All American allies must conform to fight tyranny and oppression against rogue hard lined states. All American allies must obey to uphold liberty, justice and democracy against terrorism. In an American way, no one gets left behind—unity is power where conformity and obedience work as an engine of social change.

References

Bowden, M. (2000). Black Hawk Down. A Story of Modern War (New ed.). New York, NY: Penguin Books.

Factors Influencing Conformity and Obedience. (n.d.) Retrieved August 3, 2010 from 123HelpMe.com Web site: http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=150516

Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Dahl, H. (1978). A New Psychoanalytic Model of Motivation: Emotions as Appetites and Messages. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 1: 373-408.

Study Guide Supplemental

1.       Why soldiers conform and obey?

Soldiers have unconditional conformity and obedience because they are trained to do so.

2.      Suggestions to increase or decrease conformity or obedience in order to foster positive social change.

2.1      Re-socialization to increase conformity and social compliance

2.2      Training to increase obedience

2.3      These leads to unity that can foster positive social change

3.      Pay particular attention to the information about conformity and obedience, as well as the research on minimizing destructive obedience.

Information about conformity and obedience as well as minimizing destructive obedience have been discussed in comparison with the case of Adolf Hitler and General William Harrison

4.      Pay attention to the research on how conformity can promote prejudice and consider the fluidity of prejudicial attitudes.

Conformity to the highest military creed triggered motivation to fight without prejudice thus resulting to the attitude of sacrificing one’s self for the good of his fellow countrymen. But if emotions that fuel motivations to uphold conformity fades, prejudice takes in. Like what happened in Vietnam War.

5.      Consider the various motivations present in the Milgram Study.

The presence of an authoritative figure and the trust that they give to this figure motivates them to conform and obey.

6.      Consider a situation in which obedience or conformity can be either increased or decreased in order to promote positive social change.

Proper re-socialization and obedience training can minimize or maximize destructive obedience. It can lead to positive social change if given the proper and right authoritative figure to impose such obedience. A country that upholds democracy and liberty has the better position to use blind obedience rather than a country that nurtures terror and death. The 9/11 terrorist attack has initiated a social change that drastically altered our way of life. Various security measures with regards to terrorism has been prioritized and as a result, invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq were decided as the best deterrent to terrorism leading to an increase military recruitment (where conformity is a must) and training (where obedience is a requirement).

7.      What are the motivations to obey or conform, and how do these in authority positions create these motivations?

For the US soldiers, it takes dead and wounded fellow men to be fully motivated by those in authority to join the fight against terrorism. This motivation was created by the necessity of such situation.

8.      How can obedience or conformity be minimized?

Conformity and obedience can be minimized and/or reduced if these emotions that sustain such motivation don’t matter anymore (Dahl, 1978) like what happened to the prolonged war in Vietnam.

9.      How can prejudice results from conformity be reduced?

Same, if emotions that fuel a motivation to conform don’t matter anymore or if these emotions lost its intensity to motivate people to conform and to obey—these results to prejudice due to lack of conformity

10.  How can the increase or decrease of obedience or conformity promote positive social change?

Increase in conformity and obedience promotes a positive social change by staying more vigilant to safeguard every possible security threat that could kill innocent civilians.

11.  Provide at least three specific ways of addressing conformity or obedience in the situation and describe the intended results.

11.1  Re-socialize those that must be involved in counter terrorism effort, giving them aid and make them feel vulnerable from Al Qaeda and Taliban attacks.

11.2  Train them to recognize that there is only one authority to suppress such terrorism

11.3  Convey to them that through unity, this crusade to deter terrorist aggression and suicide attacks will succeed.

11.4  Intended results:

11.4.1    A more vigilant society undaunted and without fear of any reprisal and terror.

11.4.2    Unity of all American allies to uphold liberty, justice and democracy.

Cite this Increasing Conformity and Obedience for Positive Social Change: No One Gets Left Behind

Increasing Conformity and Obedience for Positive Social Change: No One Gets Left Behind. (2016, Oct 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/increasing-conformity-and-obedience-for-positive-social-change-no-one-gets-left-behind/

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