They deserve it

July.25. 2013

I’m a firm believer in the intrinsic goodness of human nature. Deep down, I think we’re all good people, at least we think we are.

So why is there so much evil still in the world?

Why do so many ‘good’ people do bad things?

It’s the power and magic of the human mind.

You see, the human mind has the ability to turn good into evil and evil into good simply by thinking so.

It’s a process called rationalization.

I first became aware of this phenomenon some years ago.

I heard about this one guy who had apparently embezzled some money from his company. When confronted, he frankly admitted to doing so, but added, he worked hard enough for the company so he deserved that little ‘bonus.’

In one fell stroke, he’d rationalized away his crime because he ‘deserved’ it.

And then there was this mother and daughter.

After years of a loving relationship between them, the daughter started displaying some rather non-filial attitudes towards the mother. When asked abut it, she said she was beginning to find the mannerisms of her aging mother increasingly tiresome.

Gee, perhaps the fact that the mother is 87 years old has something to do with her new ‘mannerisms?’

Rationalization is a favorite tool of politicians and crooks of all stripes and colors.

In Nazi Germany, they wanted to get at the riches of a certain race so they came up with a ‘master race’ theory to justify the annihilation of that entire race. And somehow the entire country bought into that rationalization.

The strategy of rationalization seems to hinge around the word ‘deserve.’

It’s either I ‘deserve’ it or they ‘deserve it.’

For instance, I heard that one of the reasons the rape of Nanking occurred was because the invading forces were so disgusted with the cowardice of the defending city (because they gave up so quickly without a fight) that they ransacked the city.

This has got to be the jewel of all rationales.

They gave up without a fight, so let’s go and rape and slaughter them. They deserve it!

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the case of the famous jazz musician of Ohio who kidnapped three women for his personal pleasure. I’m sure psychiatrists will have a field day analyzing his mind to understand why he did what he did. And I’m sure after everything’s said and done, that there’s a great rationale behind it all.

So rationalization is a great tool.

It gives you permission to do whatever you want to do, good or bad, and you can still feel good about doing it too.

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