http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/percolator-art-new.gifBy Tom Bartlett. In the early 1960s, Stanley Milgram set out to see whether ordinary people would administer painful shocks to a stranger if told to do so by someone in a white lab coat. He found that most people (65 percent) would continue to administer the shocks even when the stranger protested, complained of a heart condition, and stopped responding. The shocks were fake, and the stranger was an actor, but what the findings seemed to say about human nature was real and disturbing. Milgram, then at Yale University, wrote that a subject “divests himself of responsibility by attributing all initiative to the experimenter” and views himself “not as a person acting in a morally accountable way but as the agent of external authority.” Most of us, in other words, are potential Nazis. Read more...