Protective Rationalization

I came upon the quote below while reading Joseph Heller's Catch-22, and I loved it.
It reminded me of the role of reasoning in the moral judgement process. Jonathan Haidt (2001) argues that we only employ reason in order to justify our moral judgements after we have already made them. I think this is the active ingredient in what Heller called "protective rationalization":

"The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalization and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous! It was almost no trick at all to turn vice into virtue, and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism and sadism into justice."

Catch-22 is full of moral dilemmas and dubious moral justifications. This novel is a lot of fun from a moral psychology perspective, and just quite funny in general. Check it out for more great morality quotes!

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