Evil People Or Evil Ideas?
Because everyone believes they're doing the 'right' thing for the 'right' reasons
Sometimes the people who support bad things aren't actually trying to be malicious.
Many of them really do believe they're doing something positive which is why they will attempt to rationalize their actions until the bitter end.
Speaking Wrong At The Right Time is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
To be clear: this isn't directed at any specific topic because it's something that happens in many sectors of life and not just politically.
I believe that evil people are a rarity while evil actions are plentiful because once someone marries a concept of an action being something beneficial, absent of proof or tangible results, it's difficult to divorce them from the concept.
Usually, people want to be "good people" while simultaneously being self-serving, which is why we support social causes or charities because it provides a purpose to help others while giving us purpose. Helping others feels good, especially those who are in dire need of it.
However, we are human and we have egos that enter the equation and can stifle our curiosity to question our actions, advocacy, or beliefs after we've already invested in them.
Egotism demands that we go as far as rationalizing a beautiful lie instead of confirming the ugly truth.
Being wrong about something doesn't typically feel good and we'd rather chase the euphoric feeling that ego endorphins bring about than sober up with humility.
Good people are often misled and misinformed because the attractiveness of these lies fulfills what we've been looking for. They're often instructed by other indoctrinated people an idea that is whimsical and absent of a full picture.
We tend to like delicious ideas that are simple, sweet, and filled with the certainty of fantastical outcomes which is why getting people to digest a full perspective that is complex, unclear, and nuanced is as successful as getting a child to eat their vegetables.
This means that once we get a taste for the lie, we are reluctant to change our diet. It's not that we are bad people who want to create horrible outcomes but instead, it's that we have trouble coming to grips with what we've ingested when told its real ingredients.
A belief is defined as an idea that someone knows to be true even in the absence of proof and no one wants to feel like the leap of faith they took was actually a plunge off of a cliff for themselves and others.
It is why we rationalize first and verify never when something threatens our framework of a given situation. Our opposition poses a potential threat of showing us to be fools who leaped towards something without looking down first.
The people who are on the opposing end must have evil motivations for opposing us, so we must treat them accordingly, right? Only we had the intention of doing something good, so it must be the opposite for our opposition, correct?
I learned a long time ago that most people think they are on the right side of any given situation and are willing to put blinders on to see someone else's perspective. Dare I say that the two ends of a situational dichotomy could both be somewhat correct about their stance?
It's incredibly difficult to set our emotions aside and see how someone could believe something that is objectively incorrect or contextually absent of information. Maybe it's because I've been this person before and I'm moderately empathetic to these types of people due to this.
Next time, when you see two ideological factions going toe-to-toe, consider that likely both believe they are fighting for the right cause for the right reason & maybe their intentions aren't evil.
It matters because evil people rarely change their actions but good people can.