“Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today’,” said Will. “I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good’.”
Astoundingly, people have taken Smith’s remark to express sympathy with Hitler. But it seems clear that he meant to make something like Aristotle’s point in the first sentence of the Nicomachean Ethics:
Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good….
Even Augustine, who famously disagrees with Aristotle by confessing his own adolescent theft of a pear, would agree that most actions aim at some perceived good. Sins for the sake of sin alone are rare, Augustine thinks, even for the most egregious sinners. Those who express outrage at Smith’s remarks reveal their own illiteracy.