Good and evil

The Holocaust is an interesting and scary landmark in history. But what does it tell us? Was this an aberration an exception or is this something typical or a rule, or something else? What lessons can be drawn from the Holocaust?

Milgram and Ash

Watch this and this:


Zygmunt Baumann says the nazis put engineers, doctors, and other advanced professionals in doing simple things like screws in their weapon factories, since you cannot force anyone to do a quality job, or to do complex things, like thinking qualitatively or creating – you can only force them to do simple and concrete things that you can measure and observed

Zygmunt Bauman sees the Holocaust as dependent on civilization, a bureaucracy and rational industrial processes to have happened

Bauman argues, following Arendt, that there is a basic ‘animal pity’ that all humans have which makes it hard for us to hurt others. And even harder to kill others. Thus, there needs to be a mechanism which allows people to overcome this natural moral abhorrence of killing and violence.

Zigmunt Bauman discusses the process of moral distancing that allows people to commit the kind of crimes described in the book. He starts by pointing out that Eichmann (one of the architects of the Holocaust strategy) defended himself by saying the deeds committed would have been praised if the Germans had won, and were condemned only because they had lost. That is, that moral decisions are arbitrary and contextual. He uses this point to lead in the discussion that most people who acted in the Holocaust were ‘normal’ people, doing what was ‘normal’ in very abnormal conditions.

He then identifies three conditions that erode moral inhibitions:

1) Authority (authorization of violence)
2) Routinization (make the work routine)
3) Dehumanization (make people seem less than human).

Read more here.


What does the clips tell you about good and evil leadership? What does this tell you about management? About teaching and leadership in school of even att home, in the family?


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