Breaking Ranks

Beautiful Souls is the main title of a new book that I’ve just finished reading. The subtitle lets you know more of what the book is about: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times.

The main structure is four case studies of individuals, with theory and perspectives and ruminations and history intertwined. The four are a Swiss border official in the late 1930s who let Jews across, a Serb who saved Croats during the 1990s conflict, an Israeli soldier who came to see the plight of Palestinians, and a woman who led in whistleblowing on the Stanford Group in the United States.

From this last case, a few words seemed worth reporting to Brockers.

Drawing on data collected by the World Value Surveys and other sources over multiple years, the sociologist Claude Fischer sought to measure how sympathetic to rule-defying nonconformists Americans actually are. … Compared with Europeans, Fischer found, U.S. citizens “consistently answer in a way that favors the group over the individual,” confirming Tocqueville’s impression that a powerful current of conformity ran through American life. … As the survey by Fischer showed, a higher proportion of U.S. citizens agreed that “people should support their country even if the country is in the wrong,” than in any other nation.   [152-153]

Two men who also contributed to exposing the nefarious activities of Stanford Group derived great strength from sharing their stance, while coworkers and even a spouse thought they were crazy.

Both Stanley Milgram and Solomon Asch discovered in the experiments they conducted: that breaking ranks is significantly easier when a person can draw on some form of “mutual support,” when there is another person who sees things the way you do.   [165]



13 thoughts on “Breaking Ranks

  1. Thanks usxcanada. Sounds like a very interesting read.

    …breaking ranks is significantly easier when a person can draw on some form of “mutual support, when there is another person who sees things the way you do” certainly seems to me the definition of what is going on at Isaac Brock and the support we give each other.

    “…As the survey by Fischer showed, a higher proportion of U.S. citizens agreed that “people should support their country even if the country is in the wrong,” than in any other nation” to me explains the “tax evader / traitor” comments from a large portion of the homelanders to news stories of increased renunciations. How dare we leave? How dare we not pay taxes over and above those of the places we’ve chosen to live our lives? How dare we not buy into blind patriotism and perceived superiority of the USA?

  2. I wrote in my last post that we should not make ourselves lowhanging fruit: “I think those of us in Canada need to present a high level of resistance and make the IRS understand that we are not the low hanging fruit.” It is important, as Calgary also said, that we break ranks together and present a united front.

  3. I go back and forth on this issue. If it was just me, I would go public, and in fact, would be screaming at the top of my lungs at everyone who could possibly hear me – counting on the Canadian govt to protect me (ie no-CRA collections). However, it’s just not that simple. If I make myself into a target, I am exposing my family as well, and I have to respect their right to their privacy, and as well as their full turtle stance. (They’re still hoping this will fade away.) My mother’s health is precarious and I simply can’t do anything that will add to her already huge stress around this. So would I like to scream and shout, yes. Can I? No, not right now.

  4. I’m in the same boat with you outraged. In my quest to get what I perceive as justice for parents/guardians/trustees to be able to renounce on behalf of their developmentally-delayed or otherwise mentally incapacitated family member if they think it in that person’s best interest, I don’t want to make my son the story — it is the story of all concerned with this issue. If there is a favourable resolution of this, I will more readily come out of my shell. In the meantime, I’ll be part of Isaac Brock and the ‘US persons’ it represents who fight rather than roll over to the US.

  5. I admire people who stick up for their principles and for themselves…I would love to fight everything but feel it’s very risky for various reasons I’ve already mentioned.

    I am, however, very very supportive of this blog and feel so much for all the stress and frustration that everyone here is expressing.

    My personal feelings are ambivalent concerning my US citizenship though. I feel angry and bewildered but also painfully aware that I hadn’t kept better aware of my reporting requirements and the possibility of double taxation in spite of the treaties.

    My family are sympathetic but more of the notion of ‘double taxation sucks but don’t forget who you are and where you come from’ than a ‘screw them’ mentality. I also have a sense of honour which believes in putting things right and accepting that

    US citizenship does have its costs. It’s only if things really become impossible that I will actually consider renouncing… at the present time, I think I could just about live with it. Had I been younger with more of my life in front of me, I might have felt differently, especially if planning a family.

    I’m also hoping that there will eventually be tax reform to a territorial based system.

  6. @ outragedcanadian April 27, 2012 at 10:29 am
    We are in the same boat. I won’t ever go to the USA again but my husband has to be able to visit his elderly mother there. We can’t even tell her what is happening because at 90 years old she should not be stressed about our situation.

  7. @Em, Calgary411 et al, this site has saved my sanity – quite seriously. The information that I found, plus the support and empathy of the participants. It’s of no pratical help to know that others are my situation, and yet… somehow, it does make me feel better. Perhaps because I have someone to vent to who understands. While my husband completely gets it he’d actually prefer that I stand up and shout and raise a stink and try to force a court battle! My going slowly and carefully is a bit frustrating for him, I think. I am still hoping for a miracle that will get a lot of us out of this, even though things seems to be getting worse not better in regards to FATCA. I’m still a wee bit hopeful that the University of Alberta’s Centre for Constitutional Studies will come up with something. While they’ve made no promises, they have said they will assign the issues to their new students in May. Who knows what solutions those bright, young minds might come up with? And I still have a smoldering ember of hope that our govt will stand up for us, but admittedly, the glow is getting fainter and fainter….At any rate, I’m still sitting tight to see what develops. And thanks to this site, I’m no longer having panic attacks when I think about all this!

  8. @ outragedcanadian
    “And thanks to this site, I’m no longer having panic attacks when I think about all this!”
    I too am grateful for this site. And do I ever empathize with the panic attacks. I actually stopped eating for 2 days but decided to use my total lack of appetite to do a lemon and water cleanse. The lemon and water helped settle my stomach but it was continued reading at IBS which really put me back on track. Funny thing about panic attacks … brain says panic is stupid but body says maybe so but punishes you anyway.

  9. This looks like a great book and want to read it soon. Thanks for posting about it.

    I have recently given a lot of thought to actually using my real name. I don’t really have anyone else to protect and the likelihood is that I simply am too small a fish to go after. It probably isn’t really that meaningful but when commenting on news articles, etc, it seems more powerful when someone signs their own name. And somehow, I just feel there would be a personally satisfying awareness that they have bullied me long enough. Just a teeny tiny sense of power maybe?

    @outraged I think it is of practical help to be in contact with everyone here. I have learned so much about citizenship, laws, taxes, etc. I like to think “practical” also applies to that hoary area of emotions and perceptions….people who can do that are perhaps, a bit ahead of the pack, you know? Very glad to hear you are no longer having panic attacks – they are really dreadful, I suffered from them for decades and yet, haven’t had a single one since being dragged into this mess.

  10. @nobledreamer; I’ve kind of gotten attached to looking for people’s contributions here as posted under their pseudonyms, but I understand what you mean about our real names. It is a symptom of how they have rigged things – such that dissent is quashed, – for example when renouncing. Like Voldemort – instead of ‘he who must not be named’, it is the ‘T-X’ word which can never be spoken.

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