Just Following Orders – prose by Paul Vincent Cannon

At Dverse Ingrid is hosting Prosery with an invitation to use a line from William Blake’s poem ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ – “If all do their duty, they need not fear harm.”

dVerse Poets – Prosery – Doing Our Duty

Public domain photo of Adolf Eichmann.

“Being evil is only something that only humans are capable of.” Jane Goodall

Just Following Orders

In 1960 an architect appeared in court in down town Jerusalem charged with crimes against humanity. He was the architect of the Holocaust, his defence was banal, he claimed immunity because he was only following orders.

Who never questions motive? Who believes they are perfect and above the law?And who never effects harm on others? But of those who excelled in following orders, no matter how perverted, Adolf Eichmann stands apart as intentionally evil, and more so because of his claim that he was just following orders. And, so, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm? really? Think slavery. Think Eichman, think Vietnam War, Think Derek Chauvin, think so many.

Our actions always affect others, and where there is evil the effect is always negative. Harm comes to those in the orbit of such people. Just listen to Holocaust survivors.

Copyright 2021 ©Paul Vincent Cannon

All Rights Reserved ®


Filed under awareness, death, history, injustice, justice, life, prose, quote, war

41 responses to “Just Following Orders – prose by Paul Vincent Cannon

  1. Well said Paul. These people must have no conscience at all, truly evil.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 4 people

  2. This packs a punch, Paul. If we blindly follow orders without questioning the effects, we are complicit in evil. If we actively follow them knowing the harm we do, so much the worse.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. There are many situations in life where it is necessary to follow orders, but we shouldn’t follow blindly. It is our duty to avoid following orders that our conscience tells us are wrong. If we are asked to follow evil orders, we may be on the wrong side in the first place!

    Very thought-provoking post, Paul. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You tell it like it is, my brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes. Exactly. Very well said. And very much along these lines, you might enjoy the book about the people who captured Eichmann after the war, and the time they had to spend with him in hiding while they awaited a plane to get them out of Argentina – a fantastic read even if CHILLING at times – “Hunting Eichmann,” Neal Bascomb

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think the scariest part of the Holocaust is how easily ordinary people fell in with evil.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have composed a deep, honest, description of his particular brand of evil. The worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The great sham that evil is a devil in a flashy red suit with horns and a pitchfork is a parlor trick that many believe. Evil is banal but the ripples from it grow to tsunami size.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sometimes “orders” pave a way for the expression of evil. Certainly in this case.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I fully agree with all the other commentors, Paul!
    At the moment I am annoyed about something that is monstrous for me in the region. One wants to let “grass grow” in the truest sense of the word over the only sparse floor plans of prisoner barracks in the former Flossenbürg extermination camp. https://www.oberpfalzecho.de/beitrag/imker-wollen-augen-oeffnen-fuer-bluehwiesen-der-kz-gedenkstaette
    Are people so forgotten about history? In the mid-1990s, the Free State of Bavaria had sold the site to a French company. A factory site was to be built there. However, the company’s supervisory board recognized the sacrilege and returned it to a foundation in the Free State of Bavaria. Now one tries in every possible way to make this memorial disappear. xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Charis Counselling

    Great challenging prose


    Liked by 1 person

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