Why is man so prone to obey and why is it so difficult for him to disobey? As long as I am obedient to the power of the State, the Church, or public opinion, I feel safe and protected. In fact it makes little difference what power it is that I am obedient to. It is always an institution, or men, who use force in one form or another and who fraudulently claim omniscience and omnipotence. My obedience makes me part of the power I worship, and hence I feel strong. I can make no error, since it decides for me; I cannot be alone, because it watches over me; I cannot commit a sin, because it does not let me do so, and even if I do sin, the punishment is only the way of returning to the almighty power. In order to disobey, one must have the courage to be alone, to err and to sin.
But courage is not enough. The capacity for courage depends on a person’s state of development. Only if a person has emerged from mother’s lap and father’s commands, only if he has emerged as a fully developed individual and thus has acquired the capacity to think and feel for himself, only then can he have the courage to say “no” to power, to disobey. A person can become free through acts of disobedience by learning to say no to power. But not only is the capacity for disobedience the condition for freedom; freedom is also the condition for disobedience.
If I am afraid of freedom, I cannot dare to say “no,” I cannot have the courage to be disobedient. Indeed, freedom and the capacity for disobedience are inseparable; hence any social, political, and religious system which proclaims freedom, yet stamps out disobedience, cannot speak the truth.
On Disobedience – Erich Fromm
We are drowning in a sea of corruption from every corner of this nation, from the highest offices on down the lie is accepted and shrugged off and self-serving law-breaking and blatant deceit combine with an arrogance that is beyond simply unjustified, it is downright putrid. There are no heroes left in America. Cheating and lying are the norm now from Presidents as well as football quarterbacks who seem to be impervious to their narcissistic hypocrisies, as do the majority of the American people. Except for those tragic cases, as with unfortunately deceased snipers who were totally deceived by their government into committing murder in the name of American patriotism. Today America generates heroes that, in more moral times, might have found themselves staring out at the world from behind cold steel bars.
The Al Sharpton’s and Hillary Clinton’s and very likely the entire staff of the Obama administration and the President himself who are heroes to many, should be anything but. Corruption reigns supreme as the binds of morality, religion and ethical norms are now more than frayed, they are no more. There are few places left to seek refuge from the raging selfishness and cultural narcissism that has infected us. It will consume us in its flames before too long. It is almost impossible to see from what well-spring of humankind’s soul a revival of the essential civilizationally binding beliefs can now erupt, except after our entire world is bathed in the fires of tribulation and suffering well beyond what most can imagine.
This Post article is so trivial, but now so ubiquitously mundane.
The state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan secretly funded an all-expenses-paid trip to a conference at Baku on the Caspian Sea in 2013 for 10 members of Congress and 32 staff members, according to a confidential ethics report obtained by The Washington Post. Three former top aides to President Obama appeared as speakers at the conference.Lawmakers and their staff members received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of travel expenses, silk scarves, crystal tea sets and Azerbaijani rugs valued at $2,500 to $10,000, according to the ethics report. Airfare for the lawmakers and some of their spouses cost $112,899, travel invoices show.The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, known as SOCAR, allegedly funneled $750,000 through nonprofit corporations based in the United States to conceal the source of the funding for the conference in the former Soviet nation, according to the 70-page report by the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent investigative arm of the House.