I think this is roughly where we stand with people. Even if there is only a weak presumption of their goodness based on a slender majority, that converts to a very strong presumption given how hard it would be to prove any individual bad. You might say that we should all be agnostic given that it is equally hard to prove anyone good just as, in my analogy, it was equally hard to judge something to be a bingle or a bongle. But the question at issue is not about the rules for judging people good; it is about the rules for judging people bad. (In the analogy, I asked you whether you were holding a bongle, not a bingle.) If there were a presumption that people were bad, we would need rules for judging them good. We might even need them if the presumption is that people are good, since a presumption is not a judgment. Harmful effects can come from people’s over-zealously judging others to be good, so I don’t want to trivialise the issue. But damaging their reputation is not one of those harmful effects, and I am concerned here with the morality of reputation.
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Being prone to vice as we all are, we tend to spread it around liberally. If I am vicious, finding pleasure in all sorts of wrongdoing, surely I will be surprised if others don’t find the same enjoyment? And won’t I find it too much of a reproof to think that although I cheated in these circumstances, and someone I know was in the same situation, they did not cheat as well? Many people, for all sorts of reasons, bear within themselves hatred, envy, malice, anger: for them it will take only the slightest provocation, no matter how objectively trivial, to judge someone else guilty of this or that moral outrage. Furthermore, it is likely that people who have a particular character flaw are more prone than those without it to find the same flaw in others. One reason would be the natural tendency we have not to think of ourselves as unusual in some significant respect—abnormal or singular. Another is the barely conscious thought that by taking our vices to be common, we somehow minimise their seriousness. Again, these inclinations can significantly skew our judgment of others.
“Atheists believe in empiricism
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AB - Organizational corruption imposes a steep cost on society, easily dwarfing that of street crime. We examine how corruption becomes normalized, that is, embedded in the organization such that it is more or less taken for granted and perpetuated. We argue that three mutually reinforcing processes underlie normalization: (1) institutionalization, where an initial corrupt decision or act becomes embedded in structures and processes and thereby routinized; (2) rationalization, where self-serving ideologies develop to justify and perhaps even valorize corruption; and (3) socialization, where naïve newcomers are induced to view corruption as permissible if not desirable. The model helps explain how otherwise morally upright individuals can routinely engage in corruption without experiencing conflict, how corruption can persist despite the turnover of its initial practitioners, how seemingly rational organizations can engage in suicidal corruption and how an emphasis on the individual as evildoer misses the point that systems and individuals are mutually reinforcing.