Do People Usually Obey Authority  Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Largely, Individuals Obey the Authority

Determining the level of obedience to authority is an important practice because different jurisdictions have diverse considerations in the way they exercise their laws and other reinforcements. Individuals will naturally obey the law based on two primary factors, intrinsic or extrinsic rewards. This research will attempt to prove largely that individuals will naturally obey the authority. The study is structured into two main sections; firstly, a background will endeavor to assess critical research in the area of abiding by the law. Secondly, the literature review will attempt to justify research presented on the background. The review will as well discuss the justification of the thesis statement whilst presenting the research design employed in relation to this study.


The Psycho-law and its nature

MacGuire (23) attempts to discuss and offer perspectives about the legal and psychological law. In this case, history of psychological law has a close relation to the happenings seen in medieval Europe. The study has been founded in the middle and late nineteenth century. In this case, the implication of this study focuses on the deep explore of the criminal mind. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the focus was directed at examining the understanding of seemingly inexplicable acts that coerce individuals into respecting the law. Although studies were solely bestowed to criminal mental mind, this research cannot ignore the imperatives of subjugation of individuals to the authority.


Lavesque (82) discourses the various experiments examining the levels of individuals respecting the law. In this study, the focus was directed to the level at which subjects would refuse to obey the law. An experimenter is constructed to investigate the shocks developed whether an individual felt remorse if the course of his action directly hurt another person. In Lavesque report, 65% of the participants delivered remorse in the degree of shocks with some individuals experiencing remorse levels of 450 volts. In this case, it is imperative to note that humanism in general will feel remorse traits in causing harm to fellow humans. Therefore, according to Lavesque's research, obeying the law is paramount. Lavesque's idealism is supported by Singh et al.'s (531), which discusses similar results.

In Singh' analysis, human beings are often compelled to high endorsement towards obeying the authority for its intrinsic reward. The sense of maladaptive function occurring in behavioral patterns can be applied when examining personal control as positively related to psychological measures of self-satisfaction and self-esteem. To this effect, endorsement of humans to authority can be argued as a sense of personal duty, which has intrinsic rewards. In this light, respect for authority can be related to a sense of adaptive and maladaptive functioning. Research has also examined respect for authority to come from coercion. These views are backed by (Bordens, 116) who presents the 1940 Nazist case. In this case, authoritarian rule is applied to determine the nature of an authoritarian personality. In an analysis, it is evident that individuals obey the authority largely either intrinsically or extrinsically.

Research Questions

Is it appropriate to argue that individuals of a given jurisdiction obey the law because they are well aware of it?

What are the guaranteeing factor that prescribes individuals to obey the law

What are the underlying factors that coerce an individual to obey the law?

Literature Review

Obligation of the law

For the last century, social debate has been centered to investigate whether human has obligations towards the law. Questions have criticized what the law is, and who is in charge, who breaks, and who is eligible to break. In addition, critical study examines the extent of obedience/disobedience, and the way individuals in authority are empowered by the law. Take a good example of a two officers, both involved in a fraud scandal. One of them, the engineer is aware and materialized the fraud while the other was not aware, but through paperwork, he was involved in the scandal. As a result, the two of them are technically involved in the scandal. Now individual A, is using coercion to sway individual B. that he or she is technically involved (Burglin, Barry, and Kuwatch 40).

The question revolves on whether individual B. is obliged to come out clean. Morally, obeying the authority is an ethical matter and not because of coercion. Largely, individual B. will feel obliged to honor the law on the grounds of morality. However, law and justice present considerate reprisals dictating to the individual to decline the morality of obeying the law. In any case, the individual B. will not only be acting under the Doctrine, but also fears reprisals accustomed in obeying the law. This study certifies that fear of reprisals as not a mature obeys or disobeys to the law (Bordens, 118).

The act of Consent

Wallerstein (320) argues that the act of consent is based on the thinking pattern of a given individual. In any case, the public policy may compel all individuals to act in a given manner. However, the extent of crime in terms of obeying or disobeying the law is based on what the individual presumes right. The degree and the lowest of injury of a crime are involved in this consent. Firstly, an individual may obey the law for fear of reprisals. Perhaps, the individual was aware of the crime, and he or she committed it intentionally. This is a close example with individual A: due to his consent, he disobeyed the authority by pursuing a crime, and attempting to cover it.

The California drunkard Law (Burglin, Barry, and Kuwatch 40) argues that exercise of the right to refuse consent to entry in order to demonstrate a conscious guilt. In fact, the punish exercise has been applied to coerce offenders to accept a given reprisal. However, the authority (through it several weaknesses) enables offenders to practice the right of 'I refuse to consent.' In fact, an individual right to consent to a given reprisal does not explain obey or neglect to obey. A contract for consent is a signatory between an individual and the authority. Therefore, an individual who is party to the contract has the power to neglect it or abide by it. In fact, the contract is an exchange to an obligation to abide by a given reprisal level. Consent in psycho-law conveys autonomy to others and promotes the knowledge and the power of a utilitarian position via intrinsic acceptance (Wallerstein, 320).

Obey Democracy or Dictatorship

Based on the nature of this discussion, one will notice the two pulling sides of democracy or dictatorship. Hunter (22) states that, in democratic countries, people are free to say what they feel. This applies to the power of consent to a given law. This is an obligation when the individual is acting inside the law. In a dictatorship, individuals who disagree with prevailing policies are constrained in what they say. Therefore, in debating the validity of a given course, one will not fail to notice the basis of a given authority, democratic or dictatorial (Bordens, 110). The Nazi regime did not comprise whether individuals obeyed or disobeyed the law. After all, the underlying regime was heavily dictatorial. In a democracy, power rests with the people because of consent. However, power is directed by a given limit in a dictatorship. Therefore, obeying levels vary significantly in the two cases. As a result, obeying a dictatorial regime is going to be entirely extrinsic (safety)

Utilitarian Position

Utilitarianism theory is integral in how it assesses the application of obedience. However, it is lucid to note that utilitarianism applies to democratic institution better than dictatorial ones. Utilitarianism prevails on the notion of maximum utility of an individual is one that derives happiness of an individual, as well as reducing suffering. For example, under a utilitarianism theory, individual A may be obeying the law because defrauding a company maximizes personal happiness. Based on this notion, individuals obey the law to a greater extent based on their personal perception of good and bad (Burglin, Barry, and Kuwatch 32). However, for elements such as justice to prevail, Falcon (184) ascertains that the goodness or badness of an action must be judged by the good or evil of the consequences of the rule. With utilitarianism, it is possible to evaluate the level of good or evil and the consequences of a rule when an individual can carry out similar actions in a different circumstance. Therefore, utilitarianism is a deeper sense of personal self; it examines the independent role of an individual in given situation (Wallerstein, 321).

Intrinsic and extrinsic Rewards

An eminent issue in obeying the authority is the contention among behaviorist is the cognitive evaluation of theorist and attribution theorists. In analyzing consent patterns, behaviorist analyst will often extend a distinction between the automatic and arranged by other people. In this event, the difference between natural and social consequences is seemingly at the heart of the controversy involving the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Behaviorist such as Cameron (70) will often argue that the extent of…

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