The “Two Stans” offer definite proof that humans are not suited to living in political arrangements. They are two notorious psychological experiments:
- Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to authority” (the one where subjects were to fake-electrocute other people)
- Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford #Prison experiment.
Milgram’s electrocution experiment:
Tested how far people were willing to go, applying electric shocks (potentially lethal pain), to innocent people, when instructed to do so, by an authority-figure (Milgram himself, in a lab coat), over some flimsy excuse.
It found that disconcertingly many people were willing to administer extreme amounts of pain/danger, so people are not suitable for following orders, due to a tendency to actually do so, without consideration for the results on their fellow human beings.
Zimbardo’s Stanford University prison experiment:
Tested how people behaved when equipped with power over other flesh and blood beings. The results where quite disconcerting. It’s as if a switch got flipped: the students rabdomly assigned the role of prison guard, showed a proclivity for quite sadistic behavior toward their fellow students, randomly assigned the role of prisoner.
So, people shouldn’t be made to have power over others, because Lord Acton was right: absolute power corrupts absolutely.