Moral Disengagement

In the development of a moral self, individuals adopt standards of right and wrong that serve as guides and deterrents for conduct. They do things that give them satisfaction and a sense of self-wroth. They refrain from behaving in ways that violate their moral standards, because such conduct will bring self-condemnation. These positive and negative self-sanctions keep behavior in line with moral standards. However, in a pervasive moral paradox, people in all walks of life behave harmfully and still maintain a positive self-regard and live in peace with themselves. They do so by disengaging moral self-sanctions from their harmful practices. These psychosocial mechanisms of moral disengagement operate at both the individual and social system levels.

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