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Moral disengagement in the Perpetration of InhumanitiesSummary

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Moral disengagement in the Perpetration of Inhumanities Summary This essay begins by talking about moral conduct and the different varieties of sanctions and self regulatory mechanisms that control human behavior. One way moral conduct is controlled is through social sanctions, which outlines the moral standards of society. Moral agency is said to have two aspects: inhibitive and proactive. The inhibitive factor expresses the will not to behave inhumanely whilst the proactive factor conveys the will to behave in a humane manner. People do not ordinarily engage in harmful conduct unless they somehow justify their actions to themselves. In this case, the only was immoral conduct becomes morally acceptable is through the process of moral justification. An example of this could be the many decent people in history who have perpetrated destructive conduct in the name of righteous ideologies and religions. Euphemistic labeling is one method in which inhumane acts are made to seem less hideous. An example of this would be when civilians are killed by a bomb it is known as collateral damage which is in essence, a weak attempt to sanitize the action and make it seem less repugnant. Advantageous comparison is another way of making harmful conduct look good. ...read more.


Division of labour in a large company can also be used to diffuse responsibility. This is done because whenever there is a dysfunction with a product, it can always be said that the management blames a part of the manufacturing part of the company, and the manufacturing part in turn blames another part of the company. In this way, no one ever takes full accountability for the dysfunction. Dehumanization is another key element in the destruction of moral conduct. This is done by making the enemy seem inhuman, which eventually brings about the mindset that inhumane act can be committed towards the inhuman people. This is used many times in war propaganda which gives soldiers an easier time of killing the enemy. The power of humanization is as strong as any other factor that promotes moral misconduct. The strength of humanization is shown in the essay through the American soldier who helped save many lives because he felt he could relate to the people that needed his help. There were innate feelings of moral goodness to which he was bound. That is why he remarks that he could not turn his back to the villagers. ...read more.


Many times, people that sell weapons, whether they be of huge destructive force or a simple handgun, they often downplay the impact of their merchandise. The essay provides a beautiful example of this type of activity. A man named Terpil became a weapons merchant after he fell from grace at the Central Intelligence Agency. He masked his death operations in the euphemisms of a legitimate business fulfilling "consumer needs," under the sanitized name, Intercontinental Technology. To spare himself any self-censure for contributing to human atrocities, he actively avoided knowledge of the purposes to which his weapons would be put. "I don't ever want to know that," he said. When asked whether he was ever haunted by any thoughts about the human suffering his deathly wares might cause, he explained that a weapons dealer cannot afford to think about human consequences, "If I really thought about the consequences all the time, I certainly wouldn't have been in this business. You have to blank it off." Lastly, moral development is typically studied in terms of abstract principles of morality. Adults who differ in conduct do not necessarily differ in moral values. At a general level, almost everyone has the same moral principles. Differences lie in the way in which individuals choose to commit moral disengagement. ...read more.

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