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Try As We Might, But We Will Obey

In the article, 8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance, by Bruce Levine, I agree quite heavily with what they author presents. When I read through this article, I was struck by how often I find myself in the situations he explained. Everything from student loan debt to the areas of psychology and the educational system we are a part of. With the many factors Levine mentions, we as young Americans are becoming passive to the world around us.

With Levine’s discussion of the educational system, it reminded me of my time in high school. I went to a private Christian preparatory school which held very strict and numerous rules that every student had to follow. If you did not obey to the rules, then you would be punished in some form. With my school, we did not have detention like most high schools did. Instead we had something known as JUG, or “justice under God”. Whenever a student received a JUG they would have to stay after school and perform community service wherever it was needed in the school grounds. Those who disobeyed the rules set forth by the school would be forced to do as they were told or they would get a sanction and have to come back to the school on the weekend to do more time consuming work.

But not every student was deviant and disobeyed. For those who followed the rules (or didn’t get caught disobeying the rules) they would be rewarded for going through the school year without reviving a JUG. People would benefit by obeying to the rules set before them. The school taught us that if we disobeyed, we would be punished and for those who obeyed, they would be rewarded for obeying to the norm of the school. Our school taught us to be docile. They did not want us to be deviant and go against the norm; they wanted us to fit into the standard “good student” category.

In Levine’s second argument about “Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance” I was a bit skeptical about this topic. From my prior understanding, psychologists are meant to help the person seeking psychiatric help. However, after reading Levine’s argument, I was surprised to see that he made a decent argument on how people are being classified as having a mental disorder if they are vocal and act upon their dislike for authority. For myself, I found this very intriguing that there was such a disorder in the DSM-III classifying dislike for authority as a disorder. I myself am currently studying for a degree in psychology. This is why I was so skeptical towards this issue to begin with. But I can see Levine’s perspective on this issue. If a psychologist can name mental disorders such as “oppositional defiant disorder”, then who’s to say they can’t name other disorders similar to ODD. With these cases, it is possible to medicate patients into a docile state. People want to see everyone acting the same as themselves and not going against the norms our society has put up.

Overall, there are many factors on creating a docile society. Some are more prominent than others, but all together, we as human beings are trained from an early age to obey the rules and listen to what we are told and for those that don’t do as they’re told, then there will be consequences  for their actions.

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