DP: All righty, let’s go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Carl. Hello, Carl, Dennis Prager.
Carl: Good morning, Dennis. How’s everything? Good afternoon, I should say.
DP: Okay, thank you.
Carl: I’m a psychologist here in Philadelphia, and I work with prison inmates. And I wanted to answer your question, or raise a question, either one, on what would possess someone to fly a plane into a building. And what I’m finding is, and this is consistent, and I’ve been doing this for fifteen years now, guys who do terrible things, in order to have the ability to do those things, to justify them in their mind, they don’t see themselves as doing something evil or mean.
Carl: So human beings are basically capable of anything if they can find the right justification for their behavior.
DP: That’s right. Well said, Carl. That’s right.
Carl: So yeah…
DP: So when you work with inmates, let’s say a guy has gone into a home and murdered one of the people during a burglary. How does he justify it?
Carl: He would say something like he was just trying to survive.
DP: Okay, very good. That’s helpful.
Carl: Yes, it wasn’t his intention to kill anyone. Circumstances dictated after he got in. It’s almost like the proverbial alcoholic who’s going to the sports stadium, but he stopped at the bar on the way to the sports stadium to get cigarettes, and he went up to the bar to get change for cigarettes, and that’s when he started drinking again. It’s always like a stepwise process to get to a certain end. So they necessarily kind of compartmentalize their behaviors in their mind, but there’s always a justification for each step in their behavior.
DP: All right, but…and how does he defend or justify, which is a more appropriate word given what you’re saying, his original burglary?
Carl: I would…they had more than I did, I had less, therefore I deserved it, and they would have had insurance, or they would have had something to compensate them, and it wouldn’t hurt them in any way at all, so why not?
DP: Carl, one of the most helpful calls I ever received.
Carl: Thank you, a pleasure.
DP: Thank you very, very much. That’s right. That’s exactly right. And you know what the lesson of all that is? The lesson of all that is how important it is to have an objective moral code, because once you rely on your own thinking alone and your own heart, you can justify anything. And that’s why I worry for the breakdown of the Judeo-Christian value system, because I don’t trust the human heart.
End of call.