Moral Disengagement In The Perpetration Of Inhumanities

1437 words - 6 pages

Moral Disengagement in the Perpetration of Inhumanities


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. In
essence, how an act is perceived can be explained by what it is
compared to. By using this tool, guilty actions can be made to look
more innocent or less harsh that they really are. There is another
type of advantageous comparison called exonerating comparison. This
type of comparison seeks validity and moral justification based on
utilitarianism. This is facilitated by two types of judgments. The
first is to try an act through non-violent means which is the decision
that is never chosen. Most of the time, the second option is chosen
whereby someone believes that it is necessary to commit injurious
actions because it will cause less harm than the adversaries actions.
When harmful conduct is committed through moral justification,
sanitizing language and exonerating comparisons, it ultimately sets
the course as a few of many tolls of breaking moral control.
Displacement of responsibility has long been a method used by the
military especially, to put the blame on someone else. When it comes
to military commanders, they have been known to be constantly
misinformed as to what their soldiers have been doing. Implicit
agreements, insulating social arrangements and

authorizations by indirection are used to leave the higher ranks of
officials unblamable. When harmful conduct does get into the public
scene, they are always downplayed and when there is an investigation
going on, senior officials constantly happen to be uninterested with
the details of the case. Diffusion of responsibility occurs when there
are many people involved in a...

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