Ronald Bailey at Reason, wrote an interesting article provocatively titled: Would You Have Been A Nazi? about the famous Milgram experiment (in which most subjects were easily manipulated to torture others, and which was recently replicated) that makes an important point that many people don’t fully appreciate.
Americans have not escaped the natural human tendency to defer to authority. Instead, we have had the good fortune to find ourselves in the situation where our social institutions have traditionally limited what authorities can get away with. The institutions of liberty are what enable people to act on what Lincoln called, “the better angels of our nature.”
We should really cherish and protect the institutions of liberty and limited government that we have. They have saved us, thusfar, from many horrors that have visited most of the world.