Contemporary American life has become, in so many ways, a spectator sport. We pass judgment on the lives of others without much self-reflection and often without full knowledge of the complexities involved. Doing so gives us a measure of self-assurance in the moral strength of our own character. Such self-assurance may indeed be self-deception.
A typically excellent column by David Brooks.
Commentators ruthlessly vilify all involved from the island of their own innocence. Everyone gets to proudly ask: “How could they have let this happen?”
The proper question is: How can we ourselves overcome our natural tendency to evade and self-deceive. That was the proper question after Abu Ghraib, Madoff, the Wall Street follies and a thousand other scandals. But it’s a question this society has a hard time asking because the most seductive evasion is the one that leads us to deny the underside of our own nature.