I’ve been reading Vincent Bugliosi’s Divinity or Doubt and came across his simple demonstration that those who claim that most people are basically good are not only wrong but are also lying to themselves.
What he does is ask those people to imagine the scenario where they get up in the morning and find that their car that is parked on the street has a huge dent in the side. He then asks them if they would be surprised if they found a note on the windshield written by the person who caused the dent giving his name , phone #, and an offer to pay for the damages. Since they all admit that they would be surprised, that pretty mush refutes their contention that most people are good.
I love demonstrations like that. It reminds me of when I proved that those people who say they don’t send $1000 to Africa to save fifty lives because it is better that Africans learn to help themselves are also lying to themselves. I merely asked what they would do if they could drop a quarter in a slot to save those fifty lives. Since almost all woulddo that, there goes their argument.