The prime offense in the authoritarian situation is rebellion against the authority’s rule. Thus disobedience becomes the “cardinal sin”; obedience, the cardinal virtue. Obedience implies the recognition of the authority’s superior power and wisdom; his own right to command, to reward, and to punish according to his own fiats. The authority demands submission not only because oft he fear of its power, but out of the conviction of its moral superiority and right. The respect due the authority carries with it the taboo on questioning it.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics, Part IV, ch. 2a “Authoritarian Conscience” (1947)
Added on 21-Nov-08 | Last updated 21-Nov-08
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