Sunday, May 28, 2006

"The Evil That Men Do...."

I can honestly say that most of my education has come from reading outside the classroom. I learned more reading on my own than I ever did in or for school. It may also surprise the reader to find out that I have learned more from fiction books than I ever have reading history, science, etc. Good fiction is well-researched, and leads you off on all kinds of interesting tangents.

At any rate, I digress. I read an interesting proposition, put forth by a fictional character in Joel Rosenberg's THE LAST JIHAD. One of the good guys makes a profound statement. Without quoting it directly, the character states that America's biggest problem is that we don't believe in evil.

This little tidbit struck me as somewhat profound. I read a couple of years ago a book by Gavin De Becker, called THE GIFT OF FEAR. It's actually nonfiction, so that sort of belies my earlier paragraph. De Becker notes that most people in modern society suppress their natural fear signals, by telling themselves that the danger doesn't really exist. Basically, we tell ourselves something to the effect of, "that doesn't REALLY happen to people." Thus, we get robbed, raped, or ripped off. This is despite the fact that warning signals are flashing merrily in our minds. But we turn them off, because after all, people aren't really that bad, are they?

Yes, they are. Or at least, they can be. Evil does exist, and we have to accept the possibility the man outside selling vacuum cleaners might actually be a serial rapist, and treat him accordingly. I'm not talking about preemptively shooting him or anything like that. Just do not let him inside, and call the police.

The point is this: we often subvert our own survival instincts, to keep from hurting other people's feelings, to keep from looking like a bigot, to keep from looking intolerant, etc. But we do so at the risk of opening ourselves up to all kinds of horrible things that can happen to us.

Liberalism has been really great about denying the existence of God, and of teaching that one's own happiness is the guiding light of morality. In other words, if it makes you happy, then it can't be wrong. So if there aren't any objective good moral standards to apply, then there can't really be evil out there. Which takes us down a bit of a slippery slope. We aren't allowed to make value judgments on behavior, because there isn't any behavior that's wrong.

There was a great quote from somebody, somewhere that I cannot remember verbatim, unfortunately. The gist of it was the greatest trick the Devil pulled off is convincing people that he didn't exist. I think that was from THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE. Not the Ambrose Bierce stuff, but the Keanu Reeves movie. Boy, there's a world of difference for you.

Anyway, it seems to me that denying evil exists blinds us to all sorts of dangers. But we can't say evil exists without defining things that are good. That means making value judgments on things, such as behavior, beliefs, etc. That means taking a stand on some things.

For example, if we simply say that illegal aliens are coming here simply to find a better life, we blind ourselves to the fact that there are a lot of drug-courier/mules crossing the border. There are thieves and murderers. There are terrorists. Sure, the band of illegal aliens crossing your land might just be heading to Chicago to work in a restaurant bussing tables. They might be carrying a ton of drugs, and are willing to kill a ranching family to get their product to its destination.

Some things might seem innocuous. They might even BE innocuous. To ignore the possibility these things MIGHT be dangerous, however, is foolishness to a Darwinian extreme. We have to recognize that evil exists, and defend ourselves accordingly.

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