Even the cruellest behaviour and the most senseless policies can be justified



Someone puts a plate with something that’s supposed to be edible in front of you.

You look at the plate and try to work out what it is.

“This is not a banana,” you then declare. “It’s not a piece of meat. And it’s definitely not a potato. I don’t know what it is, but if people claim it’s a banana, a piece of meat, or a potato, they are definitely trying to deceive you.”

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Are all these mandates and regulations part of an evil conspiracy to regulate ordinary people with an ever heavier-pressing iron thumb? I don’t know. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is not about Covid-19, or people’s health.


The Nazis justified it in academic works at university, sermons in the church, lessons at school and in public speeches, and clearly explained why Jews should be deprived of their German citizenship, and why the government should come up with … a final solution.

For decades, the Soviet government justified why dissenters should be thrown into prison, deported, or executed as enemies of the state.

In South Africa, white governments for decades convinced the public that Apartheid is the only solution for South Africa’s racial relations. Pastors justified it to congregations from the Bible, and teachers explained it to pupils.

In Mao Zedong’s China in the 1960s and early 1970s, teenagers with red booklets in their hands could justify why teachers should be humiliated, and why it was absolutely necessary to kick people’s doors off their hinges in the middle of the night to search for Western musical instruments and books which could undermine the revolution.

Fact is, anything can be justified. Words are extremely useful means of spinning just about anything to make wrong look right, and right wrong.

Be aware of what you are saying. Express, as a matter of principle, the other side’s argument in such a way that that person must admit that you understand it correctly.

Can’t do it, or don’t do it because some crisis currently doesn’t allow the luxury? Then I have bad news for you: Your opponent is also inventing excuses as to why your argument is not worthy of proper consideration.

Do you furthermore find that you increasingly think of your ideological opponent as a caricature, not someone with a complex personality and dreams and fears just like you? Guess what? On the other side of the dividing line are people who make a similar caricature of you.