Psychological Self-Help

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They told me to do it --"They talked me into going with
them." "I am told what sales pitch to make, don't blame me if it
isn't all true." "He/she just kept pushing until I gave in." "I do
whatever the law says to do; if I was supposed to do more they
would tell me to." See statement #5 above. 
Denial of responsibility --"I just went along with the crowd."
"I felt certain someone else would help her, there were people
all around." "One person like me can't do anything about
poverty." "I'm going to cheat on my taxes because of all the
free-loaders on welfare." See statements #5 and #6 and #7
Denial of consequences --"I just dropped the bombs on the
coordinates I was told and flew back to the base." "I only
shoplift from big chain stores; they never miss it." "Paying
farmers to not grow food doesn't really affect hunger." "TV just
sensationalizes about hunger; there is enough for everyone to
Dehumanization --"There is nothing wrong with taking their
land; they are just savages." "If they are that dumb, it's their
fault they are taken advantage of." "Those godless Communists
kill anybody in their way; we'd better get them before they
knife us in the back." See statement #8 above. 
You (the victim) caused me to do it --"If you hadn't been so
nasty, I wouldn't have hit you." "You seemed like you were
mad, so I went out with _____." "Those poor countries would
take over this country if they could, I wouldn't give them a
damned cent!" "The poor cause their own problems." See
statement #8 above. 
Bandura believes that most inconsiderate, immoral behavior is due
to these self-excusing mental mechanisms rather than a faulty value
system. So one could "believe in" and espouse a highly moral
philosophy of life and still find many ways to cop out. "To thy own self
be true." Hopefully, by recognizing some of these defense or escape
mechanisms, i.e. ways to escape from your own conscience, you are in
a better position for judging if you are being cognitively honest with
yourself and behaviorally true to your values. Do you use any of the
rationalizations above? See chapters 4, 11, & 15. 
Pitfalls: repressing our moral standards or remembering our morals
only if we are observed 
Besides using rationalizations to avoid the responsibilities imposed
on us by our own morals and values (remember the Golden Rule is
very demanding), we may have experiences that desensitized us to
human cruelty and suffering. As Jerome Kagan (1984) observed, we
are in danger of loosing our moral standards when our emotional
reactions decline, e.g. when we see violence on TV or in horror movies
and are not repulsed, when we see starving children and do not
scream "this must stop," when we realize that someone is cheating on
taxes, a test, or their spouse and let it pass. Negative emotions--
indignation when injustice occurs--are a vital part of being moral. We
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