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July 5, 1965

We the People of the United States— Are We Sheep?

JAMA. 1965;193(1):26-30. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090010032008

The other day I was browsing through a bookstore and idly glanced at the back of a book lying on a shelf. I turned the book over and noted the title, The Heart of Man by Erich Fromm. I have enjoyed Fromm in the past and the quotation on the back coverleaf of the book interested me. So, I opened the book and read the opening of the first chapter:

There are many who believe that men are sheep; there are others who believe that men are wolves. Both sides can muster good arguments for their positions. Those who propose that men are sheep have only to point to the fact that men are easily influenced to do what they are told, even if it is harmful to themselves; that they have followed their leaders into wars which brought them nothing but destruction; that they have believed any kind of