Clearly the question of why people obey is central to understanding the dynamics of political power.
- Habit: the main reason people do not question the actions their “superiors” expect of them. Habitual obedience is embedded in all cultures. After all, isn’t that what culture is—habitual behavior?
- Fear of sanctions: it is the fear of sanctions, rather than the sanctions themselves, that is most effective in enforcing obedience.
- Moral obligation: this “inner constraining power” is the product of cultural programming and deliberate indoctrination by the state, church, and media.
- Self interest: the potential for financial gain and enhanced prestige can entice people to obey.
- Psychological identification with the ruler: people may feel an emotional tie with the leader or the system, experiencing its victories and defeats as their own. The most common manifestations of this are patriotism and nationalism.
- Zones of indifference: people often obey commands without consciously questioning their legitimacy.
- Absence of self-confidence: some people prefer to hand control of their lives over to the ruling class. They may feel inadequate to make their own decisions.
Continue reading here.