We’ve all heard of the chain of command. Usually people think of the term in the context of the military, corporate and government power structures, but in reality, all of modern society is implicated.
The chain of command sounds powerful, and it imbues the officers, bureaucrats, and petty dictators of the world with a sense importance and rank.
But the term is deceptive, and hiding behind it is an open secret, hiding in plain sight.
Power does not flow from the person who administers orders. A command is inconsequential if it is ignored or laughed at. Obedience is the real foundation of misplaced power. It is in fact the chain of obedience, not the chain of command; the cumulative force of a cowardly and compliant citizenry, which allows evil men to take control.
Can you imagine how Napoleon Bonaparte would be treated today if he arrived in Times Square New York and attempted to order a man put to death? Chances are he would end up heavily medicated in a padded room by the end of the day, but for a few minutes people would probably have a good laugh, and rightly so.
Separated from those who have been trained to obey them, even the most bloody heads of state are hardly more dangerous than pick pocket or mugger.
It may be true that we have a demented pack of inbred maniacs running the world right now, but they aren’t the ones that I fear.
I fear the conditioned masses which will put me to death at the drop of a hat if the right order is given.
I fear the herd of well meaning idiots which believe that written law and authority is to be followed at all cost, even at the expense of self-evident morality.
The death squads and concentration camps of history were never staffed by rebels and dissidents. They were were run by those who followed the rules.
The problem isn’t the chain of command, the problem is the chain of obedience.