“A lot of people blame cruelty on dehumanization. They say that when you fail to appreciate the humanity of other people, that’s where genocide and slavery and all sorts of evils come from. I don’t think that’s entirely wrong. I think a lot of real awful things we do to other people arise from the fact that we don’t see them as people.
But the argument I make in my New York article is that it’s incomplete. A lot of the cruelty we do to one another, the real savage, rotten terrible things we do to one another, are in fact because we recognize the humanity of the other person.
We see other people as blameworthy, as morally responsible, as themselves cruel, as not giving us what we deserve, as taking more than they deserve. And so we treat them horribly precisely because we see them as moral human beings.”