For example: "The burnings at the salem witch trials are an example of _______."

  • ..example of misguided self-righteousness is what you meant? I'll lokk for a single word then.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 18:59
  • I don't know any single word for this. A common proverb used to describe this idea is "the end justifies/the ends justify the means." People also use the phrase "a necessary evil" to describe something bad that is supposed to ultimately serve "the greater good."
    – herisson
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 19:00
  • 2
    Fanaticism, or one of it's synonyms.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 19:01
  • Monomania almost fits.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 19:06
  • And, of course, "zealotry". (It should be noted that nothing "good" was done in the Salem craziness. Rather, some very bogus pseudo-religious superstitions were harnessed to do nothing but bad.)
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 19:09

3 Answers 3




"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.


The actually is a word for that, I just forgot the correct spelling, but its got like 3 syllables, goes like: I-pi-kea or I-pi-kia (nvm the spelling).

  • Found it😎. The word is epikeia Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 10:29
  • 1
    You should edit the word from you comment into your answer (and include a dictionary definition). Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 10:33

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