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Moral Disengagement Essay

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Moral Disengagement

Moral disengagement is the process by which people justify emotionally, morally, and physically, behavior they or others would normally consider reprehensible. By instituting moral disengagement, societies, and therefore the people that make up said societies, are able to plan and execute certain actions that, if not morally disengaged from their normal self-sanctioning and self-controlling behaviors, would be undertaken with extreme difficulty at best. However, most people possess certain self-regulatory and self-sanctioning behavior mechanisms that prevent them from committing inhumane acts against others. The problem with self-controlling behavior mechanisms, though, is two-fold. First, the behavior is founded on the willingness of the individual to adhere to the humane behavior. Secondly, the existence of several mechanisms with which circumvention of self-regulatory behavior is facilitated allow a readily accessible means of coming to terms with inhumane actions.

One of the main types of moral disengagement is the process of reconstruing detrimental conduct by moral justification. According to Bandura, "One set of disengagement practices operates on the construal of the behavior itself. People do not ordinarily engage in reprehensible conduct until they have justified to themselves the morality of their actions. What is culpable can be made righteous through cognitive reconstrual. In this process, detrimental conduct is made personally and socially acceptable by portraying it as in the service of moral purposes. People can then act on a moral imperative." That is to say, that if people are having difficulty with a certain type of behavior they are committing, they can mold the behavior ...


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...ut the article states that simply by changing the way something is referred to is a means of inciting inhumane actions without the hindrance of self-regulating or self-sanctioning behavior. Therefore, who has the right or power to decide what constitutes someone's thoughts, and when the thoughts have crossed the line and become hate crimes?

In conclusion, moral disengagement is a means by which people can more easily commit inhumane acts, and is a theory as to why people commit these acts. However, the article that defines moral disengagement and its mechanisms so well fails to propose any fixes for the social conditions that it claims are the most likely to cause outbursts of heinous behavior.






Bibliography:

Bandura, Albert. (1990). Selective activation and disengagement of moral
control. Journal of Social Issues, 46. p. 27-46.




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