The truth is much more terrifying: human beings as evil and ruthless as Hitler, Stalin, and Mao are so common that we pass them on the street daily, see them on TV, and may even have the misfortune of knowing them personally. The real difference between these notorious butchers and the guy in a federal prison is not so much the degree of depravity, but the unchecked power needed to make his darkest desires reality.
… sometimes the shift from human to fiend can have murky beginnings. Some people step over a line and come back. Others follow that tragic path described by C.S. Lewis,
[quote]The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
Here, at least, are a few signposts that will alert you to stop, pause, and take stock to make sure you’re not on that gentle slope.
1) I/You vs. I/It.
Oftentimes, the “morally challenged” among us tend to see themselves as real people, but they look at most others as “things” to be manipulated in any way that benefits them. … Ultimately, the perpetrator looks at himself as an “I” and his victim as an “it,” like a coffee maker. Few people have moral qualms about what they do to a coffee maker.
2) An Ends -Justifies-the-Means Mentality.
Utopianism and a willingness to use any means to achieve a predetermined “good” end can devastate the lives of other human beings — and even that assumes the “good” outcome is really good. Jim Jones, Pol Pot, and the KKK all probably believed what they were doing was right and good. Yet in the end they turned out to be doing evil in pursuit of an evil end. This is the norm of human history since the beginning of time.[/quote]
Avoiding wrong paths is easier than making a U-turn and walking back a wrong path you’ve walked for some time.