Others may be content, but I am not, when harmful behavior -- behavior which may benefit one point of view but hurts or frightens others in the neighborhood -- is written off with phrases like, "oh, that's just an aberration" or "you don't understand," or "one rotten apple does not mean all the apples are rotten."
Vatican pedophilia ... it's just an aberration.
Collateral wartime damage ... it's for the greater (American, Islamic, etc.) good.
A flourishing economy raises all boats ... and leaves some splintered on the gimme rocks.
I find it offensive (and have no doubt done the same) that the person or movement that makes its best efforts to do something "good" cannot acknowledge that that very movement or philosophy is simultaneously responsible for wounding and sometimes fatal spin-offs. It's like some grade-school claiming "the dog ate my homework." Idealism is dangerous -- alluring, but in the end, self-serving and dangerous.
What brought this to mind was this article, passed along in email -- the tale of a Polish priest who, while running a retreat for kids in an attempt to "explore God" instead scared the crap out of them with a mass exorcism. The story lacks meat on the bone, but even as it stands, it's a good example of the excuses-excuses approach:
School children have been left screaming and sobbing after a priest carried out a mass exorcism on them at a religious camp.
The 1,000 young people, from schools in the town of Gryfice, north-western Poland, were attending the three-day camp to help "young people explore God and devote themselves to spiritual renewal through prayer".
But instead of singing songs and praying, priest Tomas Wieczorek, 37, was more interested in exorcising their demons and replacing them with God.
Where -- in this situation or in personal life -- is the adult who says, "Yes, I am responsible as well for that harmful activity or set of activities and will not attempt to cover it up with well-intentioned treacle. It is part of the human capacity to create not just what is good, but also, simultaneously, what is vile. 'Vile' is not made any less vile by beating the drums of goodness. I will try to do better. That's "I," personally."
At a time in my life when I read a lot of books, I once came up with a formula for the sorts of novels I enjoyed most. That formula was "good + bad = good." I recognized it was a bit too facile, but it was pretty close. What I did not delve into too much was that the latter "good" was simply that roulette number on which I was willing to place my bet ....
And then correct as necessary.