“I was motivated by absolutely humane feelings. I never had any other intention. I never had any other belief than that those poor miserable creatures-that the painful lives of these creatures were to be shortened.”
Karl Brandt, the physician who suggested that Hitler use poison gas to exterminate the Jews.
To Karl Brandt, the people he murdered weren’t human.
They were creatures.
They were “those” poor miserable creatures.
Brandt told himself that killing Jews was an act of mercy; the behavior
of a civilized man.
He addressed human evil in “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil“.
According to Peck an evil person tells himself he’s doing good to keep up
an image of perfection.
- Deceive others as a consequence of their own self-deception
- Project their sins onto specific targets (scapegoats) while being
apparently normal with everyone
- Commonly hates with the pretense of love, for the purposes of self-deception as much as deception of others.
- Abuses political (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion”
- Maintains a high level of respectability based on lies.
- Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)
- Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)
For me, the most horrific aspect of the violence I experienced as a child was the worst anti-Semitic beatings were given by adults in the neighborhood.
I was that Jew.
That Christ killer.
The adults at that time felt they had a moral duty to debase and humiliate
How is it different today?
How does it feel to the six-year-old son of impoverished immigrants who hears his parents described vermin?
What happens when a society abuses children as a matter of policy?
What happens to America with a President who incites violence?