Why do good people do bad things?
I may not agree with everything that Dennis Prager writes but he has a number of good things to say in his article, “When good people do bad things? His conclusion–when good people lack wisdom, they do bad things. For Prager, wisdom is not just about knowing more, about being educated.
He says the key to wisdom is not the heart. But wisdom must be engaged at the heart and cognitive level for it to have its effect. And of course, Prager does not deal with the problem of disordered desires–a problem for even the most wise among us (Read Romans 7 and Galatians 5:16 ff if necessary!).
My favorite quote from Prager’s article (bold and italics mine)
The wise — as opposed to most of the highly educated — know, among many other things, that when you give people something for nothing, you produce ungrateful people; that when you obscure the differences between men and women, you end up with many aimless men and angry women; that when you give children “self-esteem” without their earning it, you produce narcissists who enter adulthood incapable of handling life; that if you do not destroy evil, it will proliferate; and that if you are kind to the cruel, you will be cruel to the kind.
Links to previous posts I did on evil, here one on the Nazi doctors participation in the genocide of the Jews and one here on looking at evil from the perspective of the perpetrators of evil. In both cases, those committing evil often thought they were doing good.