A pattern for moral excuses


Let’s say that you are part of an organization made of other humans. In other words, you have qualities but also defects. Let’s say that in some recent past the defects overcame the qualities. Now you are heavily criticized for your mistakes. You are also victim of the public opinion. You cannot just admit that you were wrong. You may lose power (votes) or reason to exist (faith). What you can do to keep the herd quiet and safe?


  1. Your existence depends on being right and knowing what’s best for the majority.
  2. There are unquestionable historical facts that prove that you were wrong.
  3. There is plenty of competition willing to take your place.
  4. Your herd is willing to softer their critical thinking because they are tied to you by emotional bonds.


The solution comprises of two excuses. You must spread these lies everywhere, including modern media like social networking. They are:

  1. The mistakes were actions of lower branches of the organization. The central management was not aware of such misbehaviors. As soon as they were discovered, the central management took action to curb the wrongdoings.
  2. The fault is on the context. The mistakes were already happening before the organization took power. There was no way of avoiding the mistakes without doing more harm than good. They were necessary to keep the organization alive.

You must repeat these lies everyday in front of the mirror at least fifty times. Record yourself saying it and watch it looking for signs of doubt. Erase any weakness in your discourse.

Known uses:

  1. The Catholic Church regarding any of its mistakes.
  2. The government of PT in Brazil.
  3. I don’t know others, but the weight of 1. and 2. may overcome the absence of a third know use.
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