1. At what point does an individual’s loyalty to a bad ideology turn them into a bad person?
2. Can a bad ideology be formulated by a good person?
To the extent that a person thinks in accordance with a “bad,” i.e. morally depraved, ideology, he or she is, in fact, a bad person. Thought is the root of action. To willingly think evil is a morally culpable action. To believe that evil is righteousness only compounds the sin – it does not excuse it.
A good person may, out of profound ignorance and/or a lack of critical thinking, may formulate a “bad” ideology, i.e. an ideology that produces unexpected and unintended negative consequences in the pursuit of a positive end. The negative consequences of the ideology in question are neither unexpected nor unintended; they are deliberate.
I’m reminded of the character Branson in Downton Abbey – he is both a socialist, just at the time in history when that ideology was new and untried, and a good man. However, there is a scene in which the news of the slaughter of the Russian royal family reaches England – and rather than confront the fact that his ideology isn’t the shining jewel he thinks it is, he is put into a position of having to defend the murderers of helpless children, despite his having naively believed that nothing of the sort would occur. Bad ideology makes for bad people. Good people, when confronted with the bad in their ideology, are willing to criticize rather than defend it.