The Milgram Experiment: You Will Probably Do As Told

milgramI remember learning about this in college. It had a profound impact on me, because I realized then that, at the time, I probably would have been one of the vast majority. Awareness of the experiment and its implications — along with some sobering, honest self-awareness — profoundly changed how I viewed the world.

Here’s the rundown of the Milgram Experiment.

The subject was given the title teacher, and the confederate, learner. The participants drew slips of paper to ‘determine’ their roles. Unknown to them, both slips said “teacher”, and the actor claimed to have the slip that read “learner”, thus guaranteeing that the participant would always be the “teacher”. At this point, the “teacher” and “learner” were separated into different rooms where they could communicate but not see each other. In one version of the experiment, the confederate was sure to mention to the participant that he had a heart condition.

The “teacher” was given an electric shock from the electro-shock generator as a sample of the shock that the “learner” would supposedly receive during the experiment. The “teacher” was then given a list of word pairs which he was to teach the learner. The teacher began by reading the list of word pairs to the learner. The teacher would then read the first word of each pair and read four possible answers. The learner would press a button to indicate his response. If the answer was incorrect, the teacher would administer a shock to the learner, with the voltage increasing in 15-volt increments for each wrong answer. If correct, the teacher would read the next word pair.

The subjects believed that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual shocks. In reality, there were no shocks. After the confederate was separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electro-shock generator, which played pre-recorded sounds for each shock level. After a number of voltage level increases, the actor started to bang on the wall that separated him from the subject. After several times banging on the wall and complaining about his heart condition, all responses by the learner would cease.

At this point, many people indicated their desire to stop the experiment and check on the learner. Some test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. A few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner.

If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:

1. Please continue.
2. The experiment requires that you continue.
3. It is absolutely essential that you continue.
4. You have no other choice, you must go on.

If the subject still wished to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, it was halted after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession.

Most expected that fewer than 3 percent of the those in the test would inflict the maximum voltage.

But fully 65 percent, or 26 of 40, administered the experiment’s final massive 450-volt shock. Only one guy refused to go above 300. Subsequent tests maintain this same percentage — nearly two in three obey the authority figure to the bitter end.

In the version I saw, one student refused to take part at all.

I can never know what I would have done in this experiment now that I’m aware of it. It’s ruined for you now, too.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it.

Captain Sully Doesn’t Want TSA Groping His Junk, Either

And this is a man with a pair on him that clang like church bells, they’re so big.

So the TSA says if you don’t want to step into the we-can-see-you-naked x-ray machine, you’ve got to let a gloved TSA employee run a hand over your lady or gentleman parts, all in the name of airport security.

But wait! In steps every American’s favorite pilot, the Hudson splash-landing hero of Flight 1549 fame, Sully Sullenberger, to say, you know what? Keep your hands to yourselves. “I can tell you from my perspective as an airline pilot for three decades, this just isn’t an effective use of our resources.”

Sully gracefully glided into the story just as the cable nets were whipping themselves into a junk-touching frenzy over the camera phone video of passenger John Tyner’s run in with the TSA at San Diego’s airport, telling agents he considered the uber-sensitive search to be, essentially, a sexual assault, advising agents (and creating a phrase that pays) “don’t touch my junk.”

Friday Replay: It’s Not About My Goddamn Shoes

Safety and service.

Your TSA: Safety and service.

The TSA is now full of pedophiles and perverts who grope or leer at naked pictures of men, women and children.

I go back to a rant I wrote a year ago.

The public…who give over their most precious possessions – their dignity, their self-respect, their rights, their spirit – all because those won’t fit in the overhead compartment. They give over what can’t be returned. Say thank you. Bow.

Here’s the original. With a full middle digit straight to the TSA.

UPDATE: If you’re traveling Nov. 24, go to this site and do this. Opt out and overwhelm the system. Free American citizens should not have to surrender their dignity to fly.

Soap: The Yardstick of Civilization

Use this. Or he will kick your ass.

Use this. Or he will kick your ass.

As a magazine writer who sees how the sausage is made, I’m acutely attuned to spotting when some politically correct cause is dressed up as a fashion trend.

As Jack Shafer at Slate notes every week — “How does a journalist count? One, two, trend” and “The plural of  ‘anecdote’ is ‘trend’” — journalism is utter crap when it tries to report on trends. But it’s generally naive, lazy crap.

When it’s environmental extremism sold as a fashion trend thing, well, it’s naive crap with a purpose. And there’s nothing more odorous.

Esquire‘s “Ten Reasons Why I Don’t Shower” and The New York Times’ “The Great Unwashed” try to push it as mainly about being natural. The Guardian — twat-fodder for the great pseudo-intellectual left — is a little more honest about why they’re pushing this stink upon us.

There are, of course, environmental benefits. In a bid to reduce his carbon footprint to the absolute minimum, environmentalist Donnachadh McCarthy, 51, limits his showers to about twice a week. “The rest of the time I have a sink wash,” he says. “I believe that I’m as clean as everyone else.” It has helped him to get his water consumption down to around 20 litres a day – well below the 100 to 150 average in the UK.

Look, I don’t care how much water it wastes or that you think have a great natural aroma.

You don’t.

Everyone in the world except me and The Wife (and I’m not too sure about me) smells like sour cheese and feet. I don’t want to get to know your unique scent. No, it’s not enough to give yourself a quick whore’s bath and swipe a lemon under your arm. It’s awful.

Bathing is a relatively new thing in human history? So effing what? So are antibiotics, cell phones and computers. Deal with it and be a little more considerate to your fellow humans.

Smelly, dirty hippie is not the next fashion trend.

Grab some soap and get to work.

A Near Darwin Moment

KeystoneKopsSo if I’m reading this right, some guys dressed as cops broke into a home, beat the crap out of the residents, and took their stuff.

The residents called the real cops — the Dallas Police Department — which didn’t respond for three hours.

When the DPD dispatch did respond, they sent a cop in an unmarked car.

Resident not at the hospital sees this fishy scene — the cop in an unmarked unit arriving some three hours after the 911 call — and gets scared. She fires a shot at the car.

That’s my takeaway?

Seriously, this has to be made up. Three hours after the 911 call, the DPD sends an unmarked car to a house where the home invaders broke in dressed as cops.

“…pursuing invariably the same Object…”

Still on deadline(s). Submitted without comment.

A New Morning in America

The Establishment GOP, Rove and all the rest of the tired old machine are spending this week elbowing for their piece of the pork, laying claim to victories that aren’t theirs, and blaming each other for where they failed.

Meanwhile, someone else is looking forward. And rubbing the left’s noses in it.

Obama = Keynesian

Awesome. From the Stewart/Colbert rally…