Trump proves that Stanley Milgram was right and Americans are wrong

Stanley Milgram

Last week I visited my in laws. A nice couple, religious jews living in long island. Quite wealthy. Trump supporters. As is well established Donald Trump is ruining the world. He is destroying our environment, separating families, diving Americans and all around tarnishing if not destroying what it means to be an American. From an economic standpoint, his protectionist strategies have resulted in a trade war resulting in tariffs that are crushing small businesses in the US. Many of his activities are an anathema to what it means to be a Republican. Yet the republican congress has not hesitated or wavered in its support of Mr. Trump.

So anyway at this dinner Sandy – my mother-in-laws husband was telling me about his father in WWII and a recent trip he had made to Vienna. Earlier in the conversation Stanley Milgram had come up in discussion in relation to an independent film they had seen about separating identical twins at birth. I couldn’t help myself but to weave the conversations together and I recounted the classic Milgram experiments (https://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html). You know the ones – a scientist needs an assistant to conduct a series of experiments on learning. The true subject is the one who agrees to turn up the electricity at the behest of an authority figure to the point of harming people all in the name of science. We discussed how this might explain (not excuse – much of the conversation) the acts of many Germans and eastern Europeans in WW2.

Well it comes to mind that Milgram’s experiments further explain the acts of many Americans in the US today. Our in inability to stand up to  Trump (especially the republican congress), to reject his protectionist strategies, to engage in free trade. Trump is the problem, no doubt, but the inability of the republicans who traditionally stand for free trade, to reject his policies is analogous to the unwitting accomplice in the Milgram experiments- unable to stand-up to the authority figure.

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