A paramoralism (from Greek/Latin para - "alongside, against, counter, beyond"; and moral - "system of ethics and human behaviour") is a linguistic device of persuasion. It is an argument or line of reasoning which is pitched to appear driven by ethical concerns, yet under scrutiny is revealed to be driven by self-interest or adherence to a system of rules disregarding conscience.
A paramoralism is a psychologically contagious phenomenon: its receiver is vulnerable to wrongly ascribing an accepted principle or motivation to its argument, and thereby mistakenly accepting the flawed argument. In this way, a well meaning individual can be misled into unwittingly supporting a cause, or propagating an ideology with which his own conscience disagrees.
The invention and use of paramoralisms to influence people is a common feature of pathological institutions, groups and individuals, and their widespread use a defining trait of pathocracy. Acceptance of paramoralisms tends to weaken moral reasoning and deform its development in young people.
From Political Ponerology:
Paramoralisms: The conviction that moral values exist and that some actions violate moral rules is so common and ancient a phenomenon that it seems to have some substratum at man's instinctive endowment level (although it is certainly not totally adequate for moral truth), and that it does not only represent centuries' of experience, culture, religion, and socialization. Thus, any insinuation framed in moral slogans is always suggestive, even if the "moral" criteria used are just an "ad hoc" invention. Any act can thus be proved to be immoral or moral by means of such paramoralisms utilized as active suggestion, and people whose minds will succumb to such reasoning can always be found.