Moral Conflicts and Dark Resolutions

  • Daniel N. Jones
Part of the Jepson Studies in Leadership book series (JSL)


Morality can be used to motivate individuals to altruism (Carlo, 2006) as well as to war (Atran, 2012). Conflict within and across nations can stem from moral missions and perceptions of the greater good (Skitka & Mullen, 2002). Although previous research has shown that good-hearted people under normal conditions can commit atrocities in the name of obedience (Milgram, 1963), sacred values (Ginges, Hansen, & Norenzayan, 2009), or moral justification (Bandura, 1999), the leaders of these atrocities are not always subject to the same psychological pressures. Some have speculated that these leaders are sadistic or psychopathic (Haviland, Sonne, & Kowart, 2004). However, psychopathy is a trait marked by high levels of impulsivity, recklessness, and antisocial tendencies (Hare & Neumann, 2008). It is unlikely that such individuals would have the strategic planning or forethought required to manipulate masses into committing atrocities. I argue instead that individuals high in Machiavellianism are psychologically better suited for effective manipulation of others’ moral values for selfish purposes.


Antisocial Behavior Moral Disengagement Moral Foundation Moral Conflict Dark Triad 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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