On reflection, I have decided we all have capacity for cruelty, but there is an inate threshold at which is kicks in.
In some people it’s just naturally a lower threshold than for others – probably correlated in some way with how sensitive your are.
In de olden days, life was tough and likely people were treated (as adults and as children) much more harshly than we face today. I expect many more people were tipped over into the cruel basket. And maybe cruelty begets cruelty too.
It follows that a proverbial bell curve of cruelty might have shifted over time with the peak now falling closer to the left (left being not cruel; and right being de Ville).
So, I disagree with Sade that cruelty is human nature uncivilised. Instead, I think that cruelty is human nature when pushed there by a lack of civil treatment.
It’s a minor but important distinction.