Full text of Scott’s notes about the song:
The song “Don’t Obey” began developing after a reading of Howard Zinn’s marvelous Declarations of Independence: Cross Examining American Ideology in the spring of 2003. It is a song in the Gandhian tradition of nonviolent engagement and finds some of its inspiration more recently from the Israeli military men and women–now numbering over 1,000—who have refused to serve or bomb in the occupied territories.
In the book, Zinn quotes British scientist and essayist C. P. Snow. In 1961, Snow wrote:
“When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. The German Officer Corps were brought up in the most rigorous code of obedience…in the name of obedience they were party to, and assisted in, the most wicked large scale actions in the history of the world.”
—Quoted in Milgram, Obedience to Authority, (Harper & Row, 1974)