Watch Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss the movie "Compliance" on The Young Turks video: "Compliance: Most Disturbing Movie Ever?"
On this Labor Day, another fake holiday dreamed up by another special interest group—labor unions in this instance—it behooves us to think a bit about what it means to “do our jobs.”
We libertarians love to rail about government, and rightly so, especially when government intervention and meddling interferes with our ability to earn a living as it does more and more each passing year. But, overbearing and tyrannical government cannot survive if people refuse to comply with its illegitimate demands. Ultimately, the actions of government reflect the willingness of the people it oppresses to comply with its dictates. Ultimately, we have no one to blame but ourselves if we continue to live in tyranny.
Americans and Brits used to be skeptical of authority. To appreciate just how much so, one only has to read old hard-boiled detective novels and English manor-house mysteries. Cops not only were largely portrayed as a stupid and brutish lot, they also frequently were depicted as comic buffoons whom no one took seriously and whose demands usually were ignored. No more. The cop-and-soldier worship that has swept America, in particular, seems to have its roots in a fairly recent deep-seated compulsion of Americans to comply with the demands of authority figures, most likely the product of modern propaganda and public school indoctrination.
These uncomfortable realities are perfectly illustrated in the newly released movie Compliance, which tells the chilling story of just how far ordinary people will go to obey a figure of authority. Watch the movie trailers here. . .
Inspired by the Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience Experiments” in the 1960s, Compliance depicts the way ordinary people’s slavish obedience to authority leads them to do bad things to other people in the name of “being a good citizen” or “just doing their job.”
Writer and Director Craig Zobel says the movie is “not only about how people relate to authority but also about how people can abuse authority. When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Right?”
In the movie, a middle-aged, female manager of a fast-food restaurant is, effectively, deputized over the telephone by a person claiming to be a police officer. Although she expresses discomfort about doing what the authority figure insists she do—strip search a young female employee—she nevertheless complies and justifies doing so with the excuse, “I’m just trying to do my job.” How many times have you heard that same plaintive whimper from some disembodied bureaucrat on the phone, after which, if you challenge their behavior, they suddenly turn belligerent and shift quickly from “just doing my job” to “comply or else?” A new, fake crime, "non-compliance," has become the most frequently and brutally punished infraction in America today. It can literally get you killed on the street by a cop whose authority you challenge and whose dignity you offend, without warning, without formal charge, indictment, trial or conviction. Comply or else.
After the voice on the other end of the telephone line in the movie praises her for “doing her job,”—“You’re almost like a real cop,” he says—the manager replies with a crooked little smile, “I’ll do everything, you know, that you need.”
In the police state America quickly is morphing into, “non-compliance” is the most heinous crime a person can commit because non-compliance calls into question the very legitimacy of the state and strikes at the very core of its authority. The state can tolerate a lot of crime, in fact it thrives on it, which is why it so frequently encourages it in so many ways, but it cannot tolerate non-compliance.
Watch the movie. It will scare you to death, not of things that go bump in the night but of the upstanding citizen next door who stands ready to bump you up against the wall at the drop of a hat. Just being a "good citizen;" "doing her job," don’t you know.