Balancing Loyalty to Authority with Personal Moral Responsibility

A question frequently asked to ourselves, how to balance loyalty to authority and personal moral responsibility, is often swept under the rug, ignored, simply because of the difficulty of answering it. Finding an answer to the question would most likely challenge or contradict natural instincts inside ourselves, which is why it is so scary. Our visit to the Jewish Museum really placed emphasis on this fact for me. It questioned and challenged me in ways I probably wouldn’t admit. The entire experience, the overwhelming amount of incomprehensible knowledge was incredibly difficult for me to accept, to the point where i don’t think i did accept it, or understand it. That in itself, I believe, is an example of how difficult it is to find an answer to “how¬†to balance loyalty to authority and personal moral responsibility”. I also believe, that one can’t truly ever be able to answer this question until they are put into a situation that requires them to. In that case, this difficult question may even be irrelevant. Even if we came up with the answer, I don’t think it would have any change on how one would act in a situation that requires the answer. But perhaps I only think this because I haven’t even come close to comprehending the tragedy of the holocaust.

I learnt many things from the Jewish Museum, or at least, had many things put into context for me. One thing that I didn’t know, was that Hitler killed many of his own people in an attempt for a perfect race. He killed his own people. People who were challenged, who already had to battle more to live, he killed them. This really put into perspective the strength that power, greed and obsession can have over a man. One man. Can enforce, brainwash, so many other men to do things that otherwise, would breech their moral responsibility. I’m not even sure if these men were showing “loyalty to authority” but rather, were put in a position that didn’t really allow them to consider this question. These men were also influenced by power, greed and obsession. I believe it was like a disease. It was a terrible place to have been put into.

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