I frequently refer to The Milgram experiment of the 1960s as proof of how ordinary people are prone to trust and follow authority. The Burning Platform site clearly explains how the results of this study apply perfectly to the situation we face in the world today. My own contention is that all of public life is driven by instinctive behaviors, although sentient thought is always assumed. One of those instinctive propensities is expertly explained in the article in the link below. I hope you will read it. It explains a lot.