Well. In answer to the question, “Would Americans still do this?” here is the answer.
I’m not terribly surprised that we did do this today — the memory of 9/11, and the ensuing feeling we had to let the authorities do whatever they needed to if we wanted them to protect us, is still fresh enough. You might say Abu Ghraib et al. might have taught us better, but then the original Milgram subjects had been reading about a Nazi war crimes trial in the papers just before recruitment.
I’m maybe less surprised than saddened by the fact that it was so easy for them to find subjects who hadn’t heard of the Milgram experiment.
“Did we need to repeat this experiment?” was the other question that immediately leapt to my mind. At first I wanted to say, “No,” but maybe the identical result it obtained argues otherwise. Maybe every generation needs to repeat this experiment, if Milgram was so easily forgotten.
BTW, check out my wife’s blog on this — I haven’t read it yet, but I think she may have a different take.