Source: Our enemies are human: that’s why we want to kill them | Aeon Ideas
the failure to recognise someone’s humanity predicts indifference toward their welfare, not an active desire and delight in bringing about their suffering. To understand the active desire to cause pain and suffering in another person, we have to look to a counterintuitive source: human morality.
dehumanisation allows us to commit instrumental violence, wherein people do not desire to harm victims, but knowingly harm them anyway in order to achieve some other objective (imagine shooting a stranger in order to steal his wallet). However, dehumanisation does not cause us to commit moral violence, where people actively desire to harm victims who deserve it (imagine shooting your cheating spouse). We find that moral violence emerges only when perpetrators see victims as capable of thinking, experiencing sensations and having moral emotions. In other words, when perpetrators perceive their victims as human.