Throughout world history, a sly aristocracy has committed atrocities beneath false flags and finagled wealth from war. And throughout history, callow generations of working-class sheep have been duped.
It happens every century: millions upon millions of peaceful citizens are baited to steal land, plunder enemies, and undermine their own prosperity. Golden lives are discarded under the influence of a cooked-up dose of fanatical patriotism that rarely profits anyone, save a select elite.
Are common citizens powerless to end the age-old cycle of deceit? Can a new generation be inoculated against crazed nationalism before it merrily volunteers to be cannon fodder for world conquest? What is the antidote that will counteract the deadly effects of false flag poison?
The Milgram Experiment
In 1961, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram dreamed up a hard-boiled experiment to determine if all Nazi war criminals deserved to be labeled accomplices. Milgram soon discovered how disturbingly easy it is for authority figures to corrupt the behavior of others.
Under the guise of studying the effects of punishment on learning, Milgram seated volunteer subjects at a device he called the “shock generator.” The machine had switches ranging from “slight shock” to “severe shock,” and electrical wires connected to a person designated “learner.”
The experiment was simple: when the learner answered a test question incorrectly, the subject inflicted increasingly powerful electric shocks.
The subjects did not know that the learner was an actor, and there was no real electricity flowing from the shock generator. But despite believing they were inflicting horrible pain…despite hearing agonized screams, claims of physical injury, and frantic begging to be set free…the subjects, more often than not, continued to administer what they believed was cruel, inhumane punishment.
Later, Milgram noted:
…even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.
The World Needs Dissidents
Fortunately, when established opinions do steer the flock toward an unjust and destructive cliff, a few people with adequate fortitude often refuse to follow.
These are the dissidents. These are the unlikely heroes who dissent. These are the initially scorned who, nevertheless, actively oppose wrongfulness no matter what their misled peers, priests, and dictators demand.
These are the true patriots who inspire me.
So, without further ado, please join me in counting down my favorite 10 Dissidents Who Changed the World. Number 10 on the list is…
Go to the series index:
10 Dissidents Who Changed the World.