Blind Obedience

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Eden: Why? Why did my father kill [her]?! Doesn't even my father... make mistakes?
Leo Mycenae: Wh-what did you say?
Eden: Couldn't my father also make a mistake?
Leo Mycenae: What are you saying lord Eden? We've sworn our loyalty to lord Mars. That means that we must never question his actions!

This trope applies to characters that are sources of authority and those who follow them. Typically the followers have faith (sometimes blind) in the competence, fairness and infallibility of the authority they choose to follow. These followers would never say "My Master, Right or Wrong", firstly because they're not evil, and secondly because the idea that this authority is capable of error and/or immorality may not even cross their mind. Thirdly, if it does they may justify it as the authority "knowing better" or having a view of the "big picture".

The authority in question rarely does much to dispel this notion and may in fact Pridefully think of themselves as infallible to the point of having an Omniscient Morality License (they very much don't though). While they may be a Reasonable Authority Figure, it's common for this trope that they see themselves as unquestionable arbiters of Law and Good (or Might Makes Right for villains), and questioning their judgement is at the least naive foolishness or at worst tantamount to treason. The plot comes in just as they make a pretty bad error of judgement (or go crazy/evil) and a fair chunk of their subordinates/the populace disagrees with them, and the disagreement simmers into open rebellion before long.

Compare/contrast Honor Before Reason. This is the Key Characteristic of The Enneagram Personality type 6. See also Undying Loyalty and My Country, Right or Wrong.


Examples:

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    Anime 
  • Bleach:
    • The Gotei 13 is supposed to carry out the will of the Central 46 without question and even the captains are forbidden from questioning the Central 46's decisions; going against their decisions is treason. This is why Aizen masquerades as the Central 46 when ordering Rukia's execution and why Yamamoto is so angry with Ukitake and Kyouraku's disobedience. This is also the reason Byakuya gives Ichigo in response to the latter's question about why he's willing to support his sister's execution, although it is eventually revealed that this isn't the full truth.
    • The Vandenreich Quincies are expected to be blindly and unquestioningly obedient to Yhwach's will. He has set himself up as a God-Emperor, who has taken the name of the Tetragrammaton, because his power functions as divine miracles. All Quincies are blood-bound to him, and he can further enslave their very souls in the process of giving them greater power. In practice, the Quincies do question Yhwach's decisions, and he encourages dissent among the ranks for his own ends, but he doesn't hesitate to kill Quincies if they betray him. Eventually, some Quincies feel betrayed enough to side with the Shinigami against him.
  • Berserk: This is the general sentiment among the first Band of the Hawk, helped by the fact that (at that point) Griffith's invincible tactics and swordsmanship still have yet to be proven wrong. It all goes to hell when Guts sticks to his original plan of leaving the Hawks, beating Griffith to do so. Griffith is so distraught that one of his men could actually leave him, he sleeps with the King's daughter, which gets him arrested and put to the torture and the whole Band of the Hawk declared outlaw. Griffith's Moral Event Horizon comes when, after the remaining Hawks have rescued him, still hoping he can be returned as he was, he sacrifices everyone to the Godhand without remorse for personal power.
  • Vanilla Ice from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure takes on a form of zealotry that few fanatics can even dream of achieving. When his master, the vampire lord Dio Brando, mentions that he might need some blood in order to heal the scar on his neck, Ice's immediate response is to offer some of his own blood by cutting off his own head.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Mikazuki Augus is fanatically dedicated to Orga Itsuka. He does anything Orga asks without question, complaint, or hesitation, and one of the most common things he says is "Orga, what should I do?" Explained as Orga being the one who kept him alive during their days as street urchins, which has translated into a belief that Orga always knows what's best. Fortunately, Orga is a pretty decent guy who genuinely cares about the people under his command, but it still comes across as rather creepy.
    Mikazuki: Whatever Orga tells me to do, that's what I do.
    McGillis: Orga has nothing to do with this. I'm asking what you want.
    Mikazuki: I told you already: whatever Orga tells me to do, that's what I do.

    Film 
  • In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, when soldiers are sent to evacuate the town, one character points out that the soldiers are leading them further into the town meaning they are likely going to nuke the place. Another character's response? "The government wouldn't lie to us!" Much revelry was had in theaters.
  • Lampshaded in Monty Python's Life of Brian:
    Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong, you don't need to follow me; you don't need to follow anyone. You're all individuals!
    Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
    Brian: You're all different!
    Crowd: Yes! We're all different!
    Crowd: Shh! Shhhh!
    Brian: You've all got to work it out for yourselves!
    Crowd: Yes, we've got to work it out for ourselves!
    Brian: Yes exactly!
    Crowd: Tell us more!
    Brian: No, that's the point, don't let anyone tell you what to do, otherwise... ow!
    Woman in Black: That's enough.
  • Similarly in An American Carol. When Malone/Moore tries to say "The government just wants to...." the juvenile lefties break into a chant of "GOVERNMENT JUST WANTS!/GOVERNMENT JUST WANTS!" When even he is exasperated and tells them to "Stop the chanting for a minute!", they respond with "STOP! DON'T CHANT!/STOP! DON'T CHANT!"

    Literature 
  • In Animal Farm, the other animals eventually follow the pigs unquestioningly, especially Boxer, who makes "Napoleon is always right" a motto of his.
  • Gunner Jergen is given this portrayal in the Ciaphas Cain novels. Although only his very first appearance (when Cain was ordering him to help him escape) really counts, since Cain doesn't tend to abuse this trait.
  • In The City of Ember most people treat the mayor as a pretty infallible and sensible authority figure, which he abused to his gain. Though their city was breaking down and the power plant to their Terminally Dependent Society was nearing failure he managed to keep almost everyone content. The protagonists were some of the few to see the problem and fought to find a way out.
  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg has no other option than to obey orders, he's magically bound to do it, and when he doesn't obey, he suffers horribly. However, the only time that happens on-screen, so to speak, he just wasn't able to carry out the order. As his new "owner" Ward mostly orders him to keep on doing things he has been doing anyway, there is almost no conflict about it. Only when Ward plans to give the villains the eponymous dragon bones (which Oreg was ordered to protect by a previous owner) does Oreg object - but when Ward tells him he wouldn't do it if there was a choice, he kneels down and states that he has absolute trust in Ward. This is because, at this moment, he realized that Ward would kill him on his own request, if necessary to protect the bones. He happily goes along with everything Ward wants to do from then on, and when he finally makes his request, Ward has no other choice, as, after all, he's the hero and has to do the right thing, even if the right thing consists of killing someone he'd rather protect.
  • Amar from Allegiant is a staunch believer in what the Bureau teaches about genetic damage and genetic purity, despite living with "genetically damaged" people for most of his life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Revolution: The Monroe militia seem to follow Bad Boss General Sebastian Monroe because of this. Indeed, the episode "Children of Men" had Captain Riley talking to Captain Mark Franklin about Monroe's agenda and his misgivings over it, and Franklin more or less told him to shut up.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: When Reese joins the army, his drill sergeant molds him into the perfect soldier. At one point he orders Reese to walk into a wall repeatedly and remarks "he'll do that all day!" This proves to be a double-edged sword when Reese's earpiece breaks in the middle of a war game, leaving him with no idea what to do. Eventually he reverts back to his Chaotic Stupid self and uses a tank to destroy both the enemy and his own troops.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Mole turns out to be this; his superior officer (also a mole) recruited him as a mentally damaged juvie hall psychopath and trained him to hide his crippling lack of willpower behind ruthlessness and efficiency. As a result, he's one of the most competent agents on the field but willingly betrays his friends in unnecessarily sadistic ways at the whims of his master to ease the "emotional overload" that his damaged empathy absorbs. He denies his own faults to keep obeying his superior officers, and the more they hurt him the more loyalty they gain from him. It gets so bad that in Season 3, when he is killed and possessed by a genocidal Eldritch Abomination, it has only praise for this exemplary ideal of HYDRA's Evil Plan.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age II, if Hawke mentions that Saarebas chose to die rather than leave the Qun, the Arishok is affronted by the human notion that such a choice should be exceptional or difficult; he'd expect no less of any Qunari.
  • The Palace Guard in Armello. The King is dying from the Rot, and going steadily more insane as it drags him closer to death. The Palace Guard, despite being untouched by (and untouchable by) the Rot, will continue to obey his every deranged proclamation to the letter, no matter how cruel or arbitrary it is.
  • The Player Character of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Logan Walker, to his brother, Hesh. In an interview tape, their father said that one time, when he was bringing Hesh and Logan into the woods, he looked back to see only two sets of footprints, instead of three. Logan is such a blind follower of his brother than he literally fills in his footsteps behind him.
  • Symmetra from Overwatch was plucked out from poverty and groomed to be Corporate Samurai of Vishkar Corporation as her new family. When Vishkar started to show their more extremist and corrupt ways, she started to doubt if they were fighting for the right thing after all, but the combination of her upbringing and being autistic and manipulated by them, she only clung into the hopes that 'it's for the greater good' and still promotes the company as a good company out to improve the lives of others. She antagonizes the freedom fighter Lucio who managed to drive away Vishkar from his home when they oppressed it unjustly, but he just mocks her for adhering this trope.
  • While most Nohr royalties in Fire Emblem Fates only looked like feigning the trope in front of King Garon, who has been shown as a megalomaniacal ruler, the eldest sibling Xander is the one who adheres this the most, due to being there when Garon was actually a just and good king and witnessing his change of attitude and couldn't believe it, only clinging to the hope that if they won the war and save Nohr from its harsh location, then Garon would return back to normal. It jaded him so much that he stopped believing in justice and adhering in Grey and Gray Morality, and he's usually the last to finally completely believe the protagonist's story that his father was no longer the good man he grew up with and defected, if he saw the true nature of his father, that it's just a slime monster avatar of the Bigger Bad taking his form and bent on a worldwide destruction desires.

    Webcomics 
  • In Drowtales, the authority of the Kyorl'solenurn Clan is based on this, with the Judicators relying on it to keep the drowussu people in line. One of them even brags that they are so much more obedient than the other dominant race of drow. They're wrong.
    • Even worse in Felde: Snadhya'rune uses mind-controlled taint to get willful obedience. On the plus side, this extends the expected lifespan of the drow from dead and/or mutated into a demon within 25 years, to potentially hundreds of years and with a symbiotic relationship with the demon instead of a constant fight for dominance. On the negative side, this pretty much kills the original personality of the mortal host and forces their subconscious to fuse with the demon, who has been hacked to be loyal to Snadhya'Rune. It's unknown what will happen if she dies, but given the clusterfuck that is Chapter 46, it ain't gonna be pretty.
  • Clippy from Freefall is the robotic assistant to Mr. Kornada. Like other robots, Clippy started out with limited intelligence, but has been learning over time; unlike other robots, he almost never interacts with anyone other than Mr. Kornada, so his entire thought process is set on appeasing his every whim, which includes trying to unleash a virus on all the other robots to wipe out their intelligence so Mr. Kornada can take all their money.
  • The First Empire's Daleks in Second Empire. This comes to bite the Golden Emperor very hard.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Lets just say that this is often seen in politics and leave it at that.
  • The formal sociological term for this behaviour is authoritarianism, and those that have it are authoritarians. This complex can both show up as "leaders" and "followers". An authoritarian leader will lash out strongly and violently against any challenges (real or perceived) against their leadership or authority, and an authoritarian follower will defend any decisions from their chosen authority (which in benign cases include the established authority in their environment).
  • Like our fellow apes, humans are built to respect authority (common chimps are hierarchical around strong males, bonobos are more matrilineal). There's variation, of course, and it is intensely debated whether "alpha males" are leaders or just breeders.
    • The work of Dr. Jonathan Haidt has elucidated that respect for authority is stronger among conservatives than adherents of all other political ideologies. This and in-group loyalty explains why conservatives are a bloc, whereas liberals are a coalition.
    • This also explains Stockholm Syndrome, battered wife syndrome, and similar.
    • Cults tend to be built around incredibly charismatic leaders. Combine force of personality with the enforced isolation that they also tend to adore and you can get seriously blind obedience.
  • This was an explicit tenet of Bushido. Expressing even mild disapproval of your lord's actions was forbidden no matter how wrong or unjust he might be. The only legitimate way for a vassal to protest was by committing Seppuku (although issuing a "The Reason You Suck" Speech just beforehand generally got a pass if you were sufficiently polite about it.)

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