Milgram and evil.

Author:Wilson, Donald K.
Position:Correspondence - Letter to the Editor

I maintain that Stanley Milgram did much more than a simple service for us, as Richard John Neuhaus claims ("While We're At It," June/July).

In his haunting, though brief, cinema verite film Obedience, Milgram left us a classic horror film that fully reveals the banality of evil which is a trademark of modernity. The film encapsulates many of the essential elements of modernity--technology, organizational imperatives, and professional expertise--and uncannily demonstrates how any of us might be seduced, thereby, into unreflective evil behavior.

In Milgram's studies, ordinary men and women willingly complied with authoritative commands to shock the supposed victim. In showing the film to many different groups, I have found most viewers respond that they too would have kept...

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