For example: "The burnings at the salem witch trials are an example of _______."
"Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct." Wikipedia.
lead or take part in an energetic and organized campaign concerning a social, political, or religious issue. –Google
an investigation that violates the privacy or rights of individuals, especially through rigorous or harsh interrogation. –TFD
"The burnings at the Salem witch trials are an example of a(n) [crusade/inquisition] (against heresy)."
Note, both of these words came to mind before I even read the context, which I feel makes them even more appropriate.