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The economy of absolution
Evil behavior enslaves people for the same reason lying does — it creates exploitable dependencies. When people do evil, they become dependent on whatever can help them justify that evil to their own consciences.
“Obey, or lose your precious [clean conscience]”
Here’s how propagandists use this to enslave populations:
Create a fake moral authority.
Then, encourage evil behavior. People tend to take advantage of the removal of social taboos against evil behavior. But evil behavior still makes people’s consciences feel insecure — and it should!
Now that you’ve installed a fake moral authority, people will depend on it for absolution.
You can then control the economy of absolution: “Obey, or we won’t help you justify your evil behavior.”
The world is full of fake moral authorities, and you can spot them by their hatred of their enemies. Real moral authorities say Love your enemies.
But climate change moralists hate science deniers, social justice moralists hate bigots, Democrat moralists hate Republicans, and so on.
They all seem to say:
Hate anyone you want — just don’t disagree with me about [x]
See how this is an attack on our epistemology?
Truth-seeking now costs reflection on our evil behavior (difficult), and
Hiding from our guilt costs only agreement with propaganda (easy).
Recognize this as an attack on our epistemic cost/benefit equations: Increase the cost of seeking truth, and increase the benefit of lying to ourselves.
Evil and immoral behavior makes us vulnerable to such attacks. There seems to be no separation between morality and epistemology. Our consciences will either incline us toward truth, or against it.