A contrarian friend, whose contrarianism I have been pushing against since the election, linked approvingly to this essay by Liane Carlson on "moral luck".
I find this piece very much not true for me. I would much rather the madmen not be in power than that I feel heroic. If what she were saying were true, I think I'd hear friends expressing clarity of purpose and appreciating the soldier's role in a righteous war, more than I'd hear them ask for help with managing panic, weeping because their children are hated by the rulers, and asking for mental health recommendations.
Unfortunately, the opposite seems true, at least in my world.
Going further, I read this piece as applying a lens I have long felt is ignorant and even complicit with oppression. That lens could be described as "what's really interesting about this power struggle is its epistemology".
You see the problem, for example, in reports about studies of bias that appear to lump liberals and conservatives together, without entertaining the question of what if would mean for evaluating the study to consider whose beliefs are, in the objective world, actually true. There is a genteel elitism in the perspective, from above the fray where the actual battles don't matter day to day; the worst perpetrators of this are the David Brookses and David Frums who hand wring about details while the world burns.
Even the Gaugin example trades in this sort of nonsense. The notion that his success as a painter bears on the morality of his family life is cocktail party flatulence.
Honestly, it's offensive to blather about moral luck like this. An autocratic leader and his horrendous cronies have taken power. Who gives a fuck if people are comparing him to Andrew Jackson or Hitler? The preoccupation with this or that nuance of people's epistemology is some bullshit.
Wake the fuck up.