Actions, Not Intentions, Determine Culpability
Unlike many people, I believe that the ‘foot-soldiers’ of any ideology deserve to be brutalized, tortured and killed with the same intensity as their purported leaders. The common objections to my stance are usually some version of-
But, it was not their idea.. they were just trying to survive.
My answer is- Who Cares? A non-retarded person who is consciously hurting or killing another human being has the same culpability as the person who is “in charge” or the “source” of that idea.
The People who did the dirty work of Hitler or Stalin were as culpable, if not more, as their leaders. Similarly every member of a judicial-legal system that prioritizes the persecution of lesser “criminals” (blue-collar) over bigger criminals (white-collar professionals) are more culpable and hypocritical than either group. Any member of a bureaucracy that fucks over the very people they are supposed to help are scumbags even if they were following all the ‘rules and regulations’ to a T. Physicians who are enriching themselves at the cost of their patients well-being are bigger scumbags than contract killers. Academics and administrators at universities are no less culpable than slave owners and robber barons from a previous era.
The children and grandchildren of such scumbags also share the taint of their ancestors action- because they indirectly benefit from their actions. The fact that they did not commit crimes is immaterial as long as they benefit from its fruits.
Intentions behind actions are immaterial. Does gravity ‘forgive’ you if you fall from the 10th floor of a building? Does fire ‘forgive’ you if you put your hands in it? There maybe a perfectly sound reason to fall from the 10th floor and put your hands in a fire, but you will get hurt regardless of your reasons.
So why should people ‘forgive’ you for your actions?
Is a bureaucrat who stops a patient from getting adequate and proven pain relief or medical treatment any better than a guy who was an overseer in a concentration camp or gulag? If anything, the camp and gulag guys were more honest about the nature of their work. What about people who enforce laws based on morality (drugs/sex) and religious-type beliefs. How are they different from people who conducted inquisitions and witch/heretic burnings? What about people who work for banks or other financial institutions? Are they not culpable for the policies which they help implement?
What about soldiers who go abroad to fight and kill people who may not have hurt them? What is the difference between such people and soldiers in the armies of ww2 era Germany and Japan- apart from being more dishonest about their intentions. Do aging whites really think that the same people who they treated as second-class human beings won’t return the favor when circumstances change?
Good intentions without corresponding actions are meaningless.
The biggest reason people believe they are good even if they are doing horrible things is the fear that they may be eventually held culpable for their actions. Those who do horrible things are fully aware of the nature of their actions, even if they claim otherwise. Therefore, people (and their progeny) do not deserve any mercy for their actions, regardless of their pathetic attempts at rationalizing or justifying them.