What Russian War Criminals Teach Us About Our Own Excusing of Evil

"One of the first steps is to emphasize power over morality. An easy way to do this is to characterize the situation as an emergency, requiring a dispensing of the ordinary norms of behavior." - Russell Moore

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KD Merrill's picture

One of the first steps is to emphasize power over morality. An easy way to do this is to characterize the situation as an emergency, requiring a dispensing of the ordinary norms of behavior. Every criminal regime has done this—usually by identifying scapegoats, blaming them for the people’s ills, and framing the situation as an existential threat.

I wonder if anything might have happened over the past two years about which Moore could have made this statement.  I seem to recall something, but it's all a little vague and fuzzy.  I'm curious as to why he reserved his ire for an authoritarian leader half a world away.

Acting within the bounds of conscience is painted as a luxury, for times that are not as dire as these. This can happen even with situations that appear morally unproblematic. We may rationalize that the mission is too important for us to hold the leader accountable for his or her treatment of people.

Conscience?  I thought that wasn't relevant anymore.  Or at least, we needed to be told what was a "legitimate" conscience issue and what isn't.

Wow.  The irony is palpable.