It’s from Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. He wrote this book called The Gulag Archipelago. Have you heard of it? I bet Sergey has.
To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good . . . Ideology—that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.
My good friend Andrew Sullivan posted this today. He was talking about Cheney.
But it’s worth considering what happens when a group of people, in a position of power, convince themselves that anything they do must be good, if only because they’re doing it. And that anything they do to bring about that good — lying, cheating — is therefore justified.