There’s a terrific (although slow) movie on NetFlix instant these days called Hannah Arendt. It’s a very accurate movie about a famous philosopher and a book she wrote about the “banality of evil”. She said that the Nazis weren’t necessarily evil because of being monsters, but by being ordinary people making ordinary but wrong choices for bad reasons. They weren’t evil because they were so extreme, but simply because they somehow didn’t allow themselves to ask whether what they were doing was wrong. There is something disturbing about a system that allows horrendous evil to be done by regular people. That should give us pause. Sometimes bureaucracies can be dangerous, and sometimes people can rationalize abhorrent evil as long as it lets them be part of something bigger.
An interesting article about the movie and the book is here.