Is Barack Obama evil?

While we were having lunch today, my dear friend Don Quixote asked “Do you think Barack Obama is evil?”

I hedged.  “That’s an interesting question.  Why do you ask?”

“I’m getting the feeling,” he answered, “that conservatives are starting to define Obama as being evil.  At least, that’s the impression I get from the emails my father sends me.”

“Well,” I said, “I’m not comfortable with the word evil.  However, if you define evil as someone who has a personality disorder, who is a malignant narcissist, or even a sociopath, then I guess I would say he’s evil.  However, to me, evil is a very fraught word, with a lot of . . . um . . . theological connotations.”

DQ picked up from there and said he thought the word “evil” was being overused and devalued.  “For one thing,” he said, “contrary to the grinning Hollywood maniac, the type who delights in his own malevolence, most evil people in real life are driven by good intentions.  They think they’re doing the right thing.”

“Careful,” I said.  “What you’re saying sounds a lot like moral relativity.”

“No,” he replied.  “I’m not excusing what they’re doing by saying that one man’s evil is another man’s good.  Their acts are still evil.  But their motives may be ordinary or even, in their own minds, good.”

You can tell, can’t you, why I love having lunch with DQ?  There is no one else with whom I can have deep philosophical questions about the nature of good and evil.

Even when lunch ended, my thoughts about evil kept going and going.  (Indeed, I warned DQ that I’d almost certainly write a post on the subject.)

The big question, of course, is “what is evil?”  Go check out the word in the dictionary and you get what amount to a series of synonyms.  Evil is immoral, wrong, bad, wicked, etc.  All true, but that really doesn’t take you anywhere.  When I think about evil, I have two mental definitions.  The first is a theological one, where evil represents the absence of God’s goodness or justice.  Simplistically, evil is the anti-God.  In that sense, I’ve never imagined the Devil as some personified being, with or without a tail and horns.  Instead, evil is the absence of everything that is moral as defined by the Judeo-Christian tradition.  But that’s still an abstract.  What is evil in practice?

And now I get to my second definition.  I think evil is the furthest end of the scale of “bad.”  If you imagine a line with neutral acts at one end, and the worst kind of acts at the other end, that furthest end would bear the label evil.  That’s why not all war time leaders are evil, but Hitler is.

War is a human condition (whether the peaceniks like it or not).  During war, people, even ordinary, normally good people, do bad acts.  When war ends, most people resume their normal lives, and put behind them the barbarity, the cruelty, that war brings out.  I come by this belief honestly.  Although she spent four years suffering terribly in Japanese concentration camps in Java, my mother never bore a grudge against the Japanese.  “It was war,” she said.  “Bad things happened.  Even though they were cruel to us, and didn’t care if we lived or died, they weren’t committing genocide against us, the way the Germans did.”

And my mother is absolutely right.  Hitler expanded to realms hitherto unknown the scope of ordinary wartime cruelty and death dealing.  Under his aegis, and in response to his desires and imagination, a nation embarked on a concerted, mechanized killing spree the likes of which had never before been seen.  The scope of his enterprise was so large that it no longer could possibly fall within DQ’s theory that many evil people actually think they’re acting appropriately or for the best, or under my Mom’s theory that war is always Hell.  Hitler and his minions deviated so far from the scale of human behavior — even human behavior in the worst of times — that they clearly qualified as “evil.”

The same holds true for Stalin and Mao.  Their defenders can argue that they were simply doing what was necessary to advance their political ideologies, hold their countries together, bring their citizens into the future (or, at minimum, into the present), update their economies, or whatever other apologetics these followers’ fertile minds can devise.  But none of that excuses the scope what Stalin and Mao did.  As Dennis Prager explains, we in the West may be forgiving because they visited their excesses on their own people, but the fact remains that they committed their abuses on an unimaginable scale.  Best guesses for Russian deaths under Stalin are about 20-30 million; for Mao, up to 70 million.  No good intentions can explain away that road to Hell.  That is evil.

Evil can also exist with smaller numbers, but heinous acts that are outside the pale of even the worst kind of behavior humans ordinarily commit.  Although the major papers gave it scant coverage, decent people were aware of the unbearable acts of cruelty that four men and one woman committed in connection with the murders of Hugh Christopher Newsom, age 23, and Channon Gail Christian, age 21:

While Channon was forced to watch, her boyfriend was raped prison style and then his penis was cut off. He was later driven to nearby railroad tracks where he was shot and set afire. But Channon’s hell was just beginning. She was beaten; gang raped repeatedly in many ways, had one of her breasts cut off and bleach poured down her throat to destroy DNA evidence-all while she was still alive. To add to Channon’s degradation the suspects took turns urinating on her. They too set her body afire, apparently inside the residence, but for some reason left her body there-in five separate trash bags.

That may not be 70, 20 or 6 million dead, but that is two people dead in a way that is an utter repudiation of all humanity.  Heck, even animals are more humane when they kill.  Although the murders of Newsom and Christian were small in number, in scope they established the actors as irredeemably, absolutely evil.  Those four people (and the word people has to be used lightly in connection with those hideous life forms) broke even the most tenuous bonds they might have had with basic civilization.

With those thoughts in mind — with a definition of evil as the committing of ordinary bad acts on a scale that should be unimaginable (i.e., the stuff only of nightmares) — I cannot say that Obama is evil.  I can apply all sorts of negative descriptions to him (arrogant, ill-informed, thoughtless, unkind, selfish, willful, morally obtuse), but he is not evil.

To say that he Obama is not evil does not mean that I don’t fear the acts he is committing.  I do not know whether he deliberately intends to provoke America’s downfall or whether his arrogance and commitment to his ideology prevent him from recognizing that his acts will lead to that downfall.  Nevertheless, whatever is currently motivating him, he has not left the pale of humanity.  Currently, he’s still just a politico with some damn bad ideas — but ideas that have defined Europe (which is quite a functional, and often a very civil, society) for decades.  Obama may in future commit acts that are genuinely evil because they go beyond the pale of ordinary humanity, but he has not yet done so.

This is an important point.  Conservatives devalue their arguments against Obama’s policy if they start throwing the word “evil” around.  While that may work with the converted, it frightens the vast middle.  Rather than looking like wise men (and women) with a better plan, conservatives start looking like wild-eyed street corner prophets.  We may be right, but no one will listen.

One of the most important things young lawyers learn (or, at least, should learn), is not to use ad hominem attacks against opposing counsel.  If your opposing counsel is indeed dishonest (which is usually the direction ad attacks take), you get much further with the Court if you provide proof of that dishonesty, and then let the Court draw the obvious conclusion itself.  Calling opposing counsel names denies the Court the necessary proof and merely makes you look bad.

In our discussions about Obama and the Democrats, we should make sure that we lead our readers to the truth.  Let them draw the ultimate negative conclusions.  As Socrates knew, a lesson is always learned better if the student has his own epiphany, rather than having a point, no matter how good it is, forced down his throat.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

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Comments

  1. Mike Devx says

    I suppose I am one of the commenters here who lately have been making extraordinarily negative claims. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word evil, but nefarious, malicious, rabid… yes, I am guilty.

    I’ve posted comments that explicitly ask you to wonder: If Obama were deliberately executing a plan to destroy America’s place in the world; to reduce us… based on the actions of his Adminstration so far, could you be sure that wasn’t the case? That is perhaps an unfair question to pose, but the enacted policies to this point appear so destructive in even the short term (of a few years), I thought it reasonable to ask. Perhaps it isn’t.

    I’ve accused the big financial players of practically raping us of our savings and investments, deliberately. We wouldn’t call them evil, were this true. But look at your ordinary scam artist, that bilks a kindly old confused lady out of $30,000. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to call that scam artist bad?

    If you’ve been reading comments across the posts recently, you’ve run across the George Soros interview with Steve Kroft. In this interview, Soros explicitly says that his behavior at the age of fourteen is the same as his behavior in today’s markets, that, to paraphrase, “I’m perfectly OK in the things I do in the market, taking money away from people who don’t know any better, because if I didn’t do it, someone else surely would.” And that is the argument of a predator. The scammer of a little old lady – who did not threaten her, but confused her, convinced her, and simply walked away with her money – works in the tens of thousands of dollars; is Soros any better because he works in an arena where via deliberate market manipulation he accrues millions of dollars? Can’t I call him nefarious, unprincipled, and vicious, even while admitting he’s making sure he can’t be thrown into jail? I’m not calling him evil though I am calling him many other things.

    I accuse many in power of being hopelessly corrupt. Henry Paulson, former CEO of Goldman-Sachs, appears to be a power player who is sending billions of dollars of taxpayer money down paths they were never intended to go. Acting in a manner in 2008 that definitely appeared to betray conservative principles; definitely involved in sabotaging conservative House Republicans’ efforts to craft a conservative response to the Aug-Oct 2008 financials crisis. Using up to a trillion dollars to relieve the balance sheets of distressed financials firms with close ties, or owed no significant money, to Goldman-Sachs, while letting other firms that demonstrably had no close ties to Goldman-Sachs fail catastrophically? I haven’t called him evil; I don’t know if he’s responding to his confidantes’ terror of failure – by pulling their bacon out of the fire simply because they can’t bear to see each other hurt – or if they’re just coldly taking care of each other, deliberately foisting the harm off onto others instead, fiddling while Rome burns? If you saw Rome burning and you looked up and saw Nero fiddling away, wouldn’t you want to point it out to others?

    Perhaps because I’ve no smoking gun, I should stop, or at least admit that I am merely wondering aloud.

    There’s always been corruption; people have always looked out for their own at the expense of others. But I have the impression that in the past there has been the presence of the concept of sin and shame; that in the past, these behaviors were curbed by some concept that “we can only go so far, and we mustn’t deliberately harm all other Americans.” When I look at the behaviors around me now, I just see no such restraint. I don’t, and I won’t, call it evil, but surely it’s worth pointing out that, to all apparent purposes, there are harmful doings afoot, and they sure do look deliberate.

    Hitler, Mao and Stalin pursued measures to satisfy their own ideologies; and what made them evil is the willingness to murder millions to achieve satisfaction.

    But when you have Obama pursuing an energy policy that *might*, in twenty years, raise the level of alternative energy from 5% to 15% of current energy usage; and meanwhile there are clear paths to exploiting oil-based energy that could make us energy independent in twenty years, and supplying millions of American jobs to boot, it is worth pointing out that he is being either hopelessly stupid, or else he is blinded by ideology to create, not the murder of millions, but misery for millions? That may not be evil, but it surely is something terrible, isn’t it?

    And there are clear facts indicating that global warming is definitely not on the up-and-up; facts that indicate it requires a rigorous scientific examination; and we should not institute global warming policies that will cost us trillions of dollars and, again, guarantee an increase in economic misery? Again: they are being either stupid, or they are blinded by ideology as were Hitler, Mao, and Stalin; and while their effects are not evil in that millions are not murdered, we again must point out that they are guaranteeing an increase in misery for millions, and that is not a good thing. It is, in fact, a terrible thing. Not evil. But, yes, terrible.

  2. Charles Martel says

    I differentiate between people who are consciously evil because they see themselves as Nietzschean supermen who are beyond good and evil (Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Soros, Ayers, Dohrn, Castro, Peter Singer) and people who do evil but think they don’t, mostly because they lack the wit or insight to see how destructive they are (Pelosi, Biden, Keith Olbermann, Ted Turner, Obama).

    It is easier to confront and expose a clearly evil person than it is to do the same with somebody who acts to further evil but believes s/he is on the side of the angels. After all, humans rationalize their acts all the time by claiming to do them for some good end.

    Obama believes that what he is doing is the right thing. It is irrelevant whether he is doing evil by accident or intent. If I kill somebody by accident (involuntary manslaughter) or by intent (first-degree murder), my victim is still dead. Obama can either stumble or plot his way to the destruction of the United States, but the result will be the same.

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    I distinguish between people who are evil and people who do evil. I agree with Don Quixote in that many people who commit evil believe themselves to be doing good (Santayana’s “road to hell…”. The socialists of all stripes (Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot) all thought that they were going to create better societies once they got through doing their “evil”. While I personally don’t think Democrats in toto are “evil”, I do believe that they are in the process of unleashing great evil on the land, in the form of destruction, poverty, dispair, demoralization and worse (if you don’t believe this, just wait until the consequences of their actions play out).

    I also happen to believe that there is a force that militates for evil, but that is an article of faith for me rather than a philosophical exercise. We Christians refer to “it” as the “Devil” and Judeo-Christian writings provides a history for how such came to be. While I don’t think that the Devil, Moloch or Baal are behind all the evil that happens in the world, I certainly believe that “it” facilitates evil and makes its presence known in the world. C.S. Lewis wrote about the many ways that this happens in his “Screwtape Letters”. I believe that moral relativism has had demonic consequences, as it opens the door to so much evil. It certainly helps to explain outbursts of evil from Manson to Rwanda.

    Is Obama evil? Frankly, I really don’t think that any of us really know. He’s an unknown quantity, a cipher, which is a big part of the problem. Also, whereas I have no problems pointing the finger at the evil actions that others do, I do hesitate passing judgment on whether any individual is evil or not. First, it doesn’t really matter – what matters is their actions and consequences. Also, frankly, that judgment is waaay above my pay grade, as it is for any other human on earth.

    And that, folks, is exactly 2 cents-worth of my considered opinion on the subject. ’nuff said.

  4. suek says

    Evil is a moral judgment. Bad is a much easier decision.
    I’d hesitate before making a decision about how moral a person is, but judging their actions? not so tough.

    So…I’d probably _not_ call Obama evil. But I think he’s absolutely wrong in what he thinks is good for the country and I think what he’s doing is bad. On the other hand, Congress….!!! I actually think Obama is an idealist with stupid ideals. Congress has no such excuse. I think they’re flat corrupt.

    I’d consider the “evil” designation for Congress…

  5. Oldflyer says

    I wouldn’t use the term evil because I think that term is reserved for a fairly select few. I do not believe that you can label someone evil, before evil actions are manifest on their part. I do believe that evil exists and has been manifest; I will use Sadaam Hussein as a convenient example.

    I don’t yet know how to characterize Obama. I do know enough to wish that I had never heard the name. I don’t know exactly what his motivations are, or what his vision for the future actually is–if he has a coherent vision. I know that people of my age are very worried, even frightened, about where he will take the country. I am talking about strong people; men who went to war without blinking–and the women who held families together while they were gone. This isn’t rhetoric. This isn’t hyperbole. This is what they are saying in deadly earnest to their closest confidants.

    On the first day of Spring I sent an email to my address book stating that I was filled with Spring-time optimism. I stated that I did not doubt that Obama intended to take the country where we did not want to go, but that I was convinced he was too inept to succeed. Hence the optimism. Whistling past the graveyard.

  6. says

    In our discussions about Obama and the Democrats, we should make sure that we lead our readers to the truth. Let them draw the ultimate negative conclusions. As Socrates knew, a lesson is always learned better if the student has his own epiphany, rather than having a point, no matter how good it is, forced down his throat.

    That is what the best propaganda utilizes and what the best lies are composed of, Book.

    Although the major papers gave it scant coverage

    I remember that incident, and the major papers did not give it much coverage because the perpetrators were black and the victims white. And why was that? because of affirmative action. And why does affirmative action exist? Because of the same reason why Obama has been elected.

    I do not remember the details of the incident in question, of course. Because I refused to read and research the details. Not because I am squeamish (God forbid that I would turn the other cheek); it doesn’t particularly matter to me in the end, one way or another.

    What matters is how I would act in a similar situation. I look forward to such a test, the only real test available in this life. Will they survive or will I survive? Will they die or will I die? And more important, who will be the real killers here, them or me. Those are important questions. Far more important than the details of the story. Because it is the only way to truly help the people in the future who will suffer the same fate, once the evil ideology that Obama and the Left pushes keep on going. People will continue to ignore injustice and destroy justice, simply because of a race war they must sustain in order to sustain their lock and power over blacks and minorities. Obama did not give the orders for such, because he is a symptom of the problem, just as the incident in question is a symptom of the problem, and the lack of coverage and a lack of intent or attention to fixing the problem is a symptom of the problem.

    Look at the worst evil in human history and you will always see the strong preying on the weak and making the weak weaker. Keeping them forever imprisoned and enslaved, because evil fears strength and evil fears order born of progress. Evil is entropy, the forever destruction of creativity, usefulness, and productivity. The potentiality of all life will be snuffed out by entropy, and evil is simply entropy given human intent and human will. Oh, people die and they die by old age, torture, pain or any number of other things. But evil actively promotes the cause of entropy, not because it is necessary but because they find it of benefit to themselves.

    It is only a ulitarian perspective that says evil can only be seen from the perspective of ex-post facto consequences. What kind of standard is that, when it is only useful when you count up the body bags After everything has been settled? What use is a philosophy that says the greatest good for the greatest number can only come after the body bags have been tallied? It is of no use at all, and incredibly flawed given human perspectives and weaknesses.

    It is only Judeo-Christian philosophies that see people and attempt to label them as evil or good. People such as me, Deists or whatever you call us, have no need for such things. To us, you don’t need for people to be evil, all you need are evil ideas. Evil ideas that individuals sell their souls to in return for personal favors. Are the individuals evil then? How is that so, when entropy, when all is said and done, cannot be human? Entropy and destruction are only methods and tools that can be used by the human mind and ingenuity, but entropy and destruction and death by itself is not evil. They are things that exist in our universe, our lives, but they have no malice, no intent to harm, they just are. They are what they are. It is only humans, those with a sentient and sapient will, that can choose to side with the forces of evil and darkness. And people do this all the time, and it does not matter what you call them, evil or good. Cause it doesn’t matter. Those that serve the cause of entropy serve the cause of evil. Does it matter that the gun I use to shoot a daycare center up is good or evil? Does it matter that the cells in my hand considers themselves not guilty of the sin that came about due to an order from my brain? No, what matters is the consequence of the action and the decision from whence that action came.

    Yes, people have a sovereign will, but as we all know, the Left don’t really use much of it in their crusade to strip humanity of free will, free choice, and ethical responsibilities. So what are they?

    They are what I have always called them: tools. Nothing but tools.

    And tools, just like guns and the cells in my hand, cannot be evil or good. No, it is the ideas and the men who created those ideas, the ones who put it into reality, into effect, and convinced others to do the same, that are the primary avatars of evil. Obama did not create the ideas and social climate that led to the incidents of which Book quoted above. That was not Obama. That was somebody else. Look to such people for evil, because it does not matter on Obama. He is the 2nd, or 3rd, or 50th generation of the Original Cause. His parents were part of it, and on it goes.

    What matters the blame? It does not matter the blame. What matters is that you stop the consequences of Obama’s actions, right now, right here. Or history will indeed come to the conclusion that a leader who would rather see his entire nation sacrificed to fire and ruin, as Hitler proclaimed during the Allied Invasion of Germany, was evil. It would be inevitable. And it does not matter whether he was evil or not, and it does not matter whether he intended evil or not. Once the cause of entropy has been served to the fullest measure possible, and the victors on the side of good and progress have won and are able to write the history books, they will tell of the struggle that they fought against and they will recognize it for what it truly is.

    The metaphysical argument here is quaint. Evil is an idea, obviously, yet it has certain physical manifestations. Metaphysical manifestations as well. There is a physical embodiment of evil and there is a non-corporeal, or spiritual, side of evil. Sometimes they juxtapose, as with the person of Hitler or Pol Pot, and their transparent and non-corporeal ideas. Other times we have the Judeo Christian philosophical difference hating sin and loving the sinner. Between doing and not allowing the evil that you do to destroy your own soul, by making atonement for your mistakes.

    Redemption is a road sought by the soul, as much as it is sought by the mind’s fear or guilt.

    I am a fan of philosophy, of course, it was one of the first things I studied in the short years preceding 9/11. But I continued to study it for one reason only. To better understand my enemies and to better learn how to crush them. That’s very particular, in a way. A very pragmatic focus. As such, the theory of knowledge, from philosophy, and the ethics produced from epistemology and metaphysics, are very convenient and very studious and very Ivory Towerish. Or they can be, at least, on the latter.

    Is Obama evil? I say, it matters not. Let the historians decide that, should they have survived and should they have survived while being on our side. Our responsibilities are different. We seek to improve the lot of humanity, and to fight against those, like Obama and his supporters, who seek to transform us into inhumane and cruel sadists who will glorify in the destruction of those unable to defend themselves.

    What makes evil evil to historians? Organization. The serial killer or small time criminal can do evil, yes, and they can go past the pale of humanity, yes, like all sociopaths, but they are not organized. They are not organized. Therein lies the difference, for great matters of destruction suddenly starts looking very different from small acts of nature, such as tornados or tsunamis, even if such had been guided by the evil Bushitler.

    But I say it changes nothing. It would have changed nothing to begin with, assuming it even mattered to me, because evil is evil, regardless of whether it is organized or not. Small evil, big evil, all are evil because they serve the cause of entropy, willingly and eagerly, in return for personal benefit.

    That is my categorization and it applies to all spectrums, to all creatures (including animals and insects), and to all beings with free will.

    1. It must be your choice, and not the choice of others or a product of coercion.

    2. It must serve the cause of entropy, which decays all things of progress, although not all things of progress are good things.

    The Judeo-Christian standard portrays evil as greater and lesser. Greater because it requires some massive destruction on the epic scale, which only ever comes from the little evils piled up high to a point because everybody ignored it as “not evil, just small small things”. They were small, until they became evil? A metaphysical contradiction really. Either they were actions of evil to begin with, or the totality was never evil to end with. Lesser, because when you portray individuals as evil, you diminish evil. Evil isn’t about individuals. It isn’t about Adam and Eve, about Original Sin, nor even about what God’s will is and opposition to that will. God doesn’t have a will, for the entire universe is his will and so one might say anything that happens is by his will, for he is not a person and he is not a spoiled child prone to whimsy, for that matter. He is no Obama. So what is this evil that we speak of, this rebellion against God? It would be a rebellion against existence, if God was the entirety of existence. And what is the destruction of existence, if not the act of entropy?

    Rebellion is not chaos or disobedience to God’s will, and destruction is not entropy. Entropy is not the same as blowing up some village in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan. Entropy is the destruction of the ability to produce work. The ability to harness the energies of the universe to construct something of order, of usefulness, of beauty. Entropy, if left to its own devices, will make the universe the same, everywhere, for all time. Perhaps that sounds familiar to you students of Equality.

    However, that being said, the Judeo Christian philosophy views rebellion as evil because they are still stuck on Lucifer’s rebellion to God’s rule. Things are still structured on a hierarchy and at the top of that hierarchy there is still order vs chaos and the leader vs the wannabe leader. But these are human constructs, human hierarchies. What need God have for such petty concerns as who rebels against him or not? He is existence, and what does existence fear? Non-existence? perhaps. Equality forevermore? Probably, due to the boredom factor if nothing else. I am sure even the universe will become tired and depressed should everything always be the same, everywhere, until the end of eternity.

    Evil is a powerful thing, a fearsome thing. I do not base it upon simple human hierarchies and flaws, for I see it as a diminishment of that which we must respect if not fear. To say that a man or woman has sinned and thus committed evil, I would have to say, how would one man or woman be able to further the cause of entropy with their single sin, if sin it be? And if it can be proven, proven not opined, that such an action did further entropy, entropy not just somebody’s inconvenient policies, then mistakes can still be atoned for. But in the end, it is choices that make people what they are. It is choices that people make that decides whether they are soldiers of the Light or servants of Darkness. And compared to that, it really does not matter to me whether Obama is evil or not, for I know he does not serve the Light.

  7. says

    Let’s reduce the hgh flown philosophizing down to basics. If a person serves darkness, I would, and necessarily must, have no hesitation in killing them.

    For sociopaths, that is a done deal. No need to decide anything there.

    For Obama, the answer is no, and that makes a very good difference.

    Because in war, even though people might be your enemies, they can sometimes stop being your enemy or they can lack military threat to justify a strike against them.

    If you rank evil as in need of killing, as I do, then Obama does not rank that high. Bush ranked that high for some people, but only because Bush, for all his faults, did much to help the progress of humanity, the light against the darkness.

    I am very pragmatic on this score. If my definitions are confusing or complex, if my philosophy is un-orthodox, this, at least, will be very simple and direct.

    The people that are need of killing are both evil and servants of entropy, and it doesn’t really matter because the most important thing is that they are in need of killing, not that they are servants of entropy. They don’t be doing much of anything once they are dead, you know.

  8. says

    P.S. I know I glossed over a few points of theological contentions, and made outright inaccurate descriptions in at least one spot, but you must excuse me on the account of my being rather rusty with theological implications and fine points of details. If any would like to write a treatise on theological contentions, I would welcome such, since as we all know, we don’t usually read about such things on the daily blogosphere: at least I do not.

  9. says

    Chris Newsom and Channon Christian are very good examples of why I am interested in TFT, since it was TFt itself that taught me why I should really be interested in such things. 9/11 taught me much, the instructors at TFT, via their orders and their no-nonsense professionalism, taught me so much more. The things that the Left did in Iraq, the terrorists did in America and were currently doing to the Iraqi civilians after OIF, all came together after I read some of the TFt instructor’s comments.

    I wrote before concerning personal epiphanies in which I believe Mike D and Bookworm here noted that it was surprising that I ever had any doubts concerning certain subjects given my confidence now. I said at the time that 9/11 motivated me and gave me inspiration, and that is true.

    But if you really want to know, if you really want to see a glimpse, read what happened to those two and you will know most of my motivations.

    As Chris RB wrote, I Ain’t Going Down Like That. Nor will I let that happen to my loved ones. Nor will I leave such threats to humanity alive and free to do as they please, if it was ever in my power to prevent it.

    The Left, in their opposition to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam, don’t think the same way. They cheer on such people, and it ain’t the victims they are cheering on and giving advice to and aiding.

    There was a thread here concerning something or other that progressed into a thread about bullies and people’s childhood memories of such. Well, let me share something in that vein, since I didn’t write anything of that note at the time.

    The me that existed before 9/11 would have pissed my pants had I been faced with the prospect of facing those who kidnapped Newsom and Christian. Some of it would have been fear at my own personal fate, of course, since I am not and was not suicidal. But some of it would also have been fear, not of the evil that others would do unto me, but of the evil I would do unto others, of the evil I would have to become, to invite in, in order to fight with violence, the tool, I had thought, of evil people. The fear that all good loyal Democrat base voters have. “Don’t become the enemy by fighting the enemy”.

    I no longer have such worries. It is quite… liberating, actually. The constant gnawing guilt and fear that you would become a monster by fighting evil (or bullies as the case may be) because you would get angry and might lose control, it is gone. It is like it has never existed.

    It wasn’t 9/11 that changed this, of course. It happed over years, more than a decade even if you want to know the truth. For example, when Leftists talked about torture at Gitmo in the beginning, I was sympathetic to their cries of “don’t become the enemy”. Now? Pssh, as if it matters. I am certain in the status of my soul, even if they are not.

  10. USMaleSF says

    You seem to have omitted the race issue here, Book. You know very well that if the race of the victims and perpetrators had been opposite, this Passion Play would be front page news to this day. Horrific.

  11. USMaleSF says

    Well, thanks for ruining my morning, Book. I cannot get that story out of my head…and now it has migrated to my stomach. One definition of evil, from John Kekes, my favorite political philosopher, is the wilful doing of serious undeserved harm to a human being. This crime fits it perfectly. My unconstitutional fantasy is that the perpetrators would be punished by having meted out to them exactly what they did to their victims.

    To pick up on a theme in Ymarsakar’s remarks: one of the most debilitating attitudes our liberal masters try to inculcate in us is a self-regarding fear that we will become like our enemies. The truth is, that for these liberal masters, people like these murderers, or Al-Qaeda, or Hamas, etc. are not their enemies. But they are ours. Some people just need to be put down. Period.

  12. Mike Devx says

    Ymar, #10-13

    Ymar, I might be wrong, but it seems to me that you have a metaphysics here that replaces God with “resistance to entropy”.

    That concepts of God-based “right and wrong, good and evil” are replaced with axioms based on “resistance to entropy”.

    I’ll be a little snide here: You and a friend are walking down a darkened street, and you see a woman under assault by three men who have every intent of harm, injury and rape.

    Do you turn to your friend and say, “My good man! Look at that increase in entropy! It must not stand. We must do something!”

    Similarly, a Christian does not turn to his companion and say, “My God! Look at that rebellion against God’s will! It must not stand. We must do something!”

    In both cases, there seems to me to be a recognition that what you are seeing is a grotesque wrong that cannot be allowed to continue. It may be that the act constitutes an act of entropy or a rebellion against God’s will… but I would say it’s not the fundamental nature of what’s going on. What’s going on is an act of wrongness itself. I would say that those are explanations, not prime motivations.

    Consider the minister who sexually abuses his child. He clearly does not see himself in rebellion to God’s will, though he may come to that realization once put upon the psychanalyst/metaphysicist’s couch.

    A metaphysics based on “resistance to entropy” can result in a conservative philosophy such as yours, or a highly Statist philosophy such as Obama’s. Similarly, there are many Christians who believe that all wrongness in the world is attributable to “resistance to God”… but many of them are highly Statist as well.

    When you walk down a street, what leads you to say “I am moving through a diseased community, a city in the throes of collapse”?

    I would argue: open prostitution on street corners, drug users slumped in despair against many brick walls of buildings that are in various stages of decay. Broken windows, weeds, and graffiti. Gangs of young men on street corners, obviously up to no good. People shuffling all about, without hope or purpose. People moving in fear, obviously because crime is more and more uncontrolled, and law enforcement is not in control. At night, people passed out on the sidewalks, vomiting into gutters; most people NOT on the streets, afraid, locked away inside their houses. The absence of children in the yards, on the streets, having fun: fear and danger rampant.

    This was essentially the situation on Times Square and everywhere else in New York City when Giuliani took over. The Statists had said, “We are not interested in any of those problems! What is important is that we reverse discrimination! What is important is equal pay in which everyone is unionized! What is important is busing to alleviate school discrimination! All those problems that evidence the complete collapse of civilization are unimportant. To which Giuliani called BS, and rightly so. And cleaned it up. And everyone agrees that the lasting legacy of this is that New York City is again a FAR, FAR more civilized place. Civilization rose again from its near collapse.

    The pure libertarian would say: “Open prostitution is totally fine, as no one is being hurt. It is simply a contractual agreement. Drug users should have freedom of choice in what they do AND WHERE THEY DO IT, and if their choice is to ruin their lives, then that is their choice. If broken windows and weeds and graffiti are problems, then a market force in the community will arise to pay to fix it, else it is not a problem at all. Etc.”

    Your constructed conservative framework of ethics is based on “resistance to entropy”. I would say that you have very much in common with a conservative whose framework is based on “resistance to rebellion against God’s will.” There’s so much room for compromise and agreement. But not so long as you resist each other’s commitment in the struggle against the decay.

    A reliance on individual freedom (as is evidenced in much of libertarian thought) that does not place at LEAST equal importance on individual responsibility inevitably leads to the collapse of civilization. Can you expect humans – via human nature itself – to always engage in acts of civil responsibility? Of course not! Therefore we expect to have laws that promote civilization via the regulation of bad human behaviors. Where we run into division, on the conservative side, is how far to go, in the regulating of negative human behaviors.

    In those behaviors that constitute increase in entropy, to place within your framework. I hope there can be compromise; I believe there must be compromise, between those whose ethical framework is Godless, and those whose ethical framework is Godly – but in each case actually share a framework grounded in conservative values. There is no need for division when we’re actually on the same team. Can we find the necessary compromises, the right place of balance between individual freedom and individual responsibility?

  13. Mike Devx says

    I’d also like to chime in in complete agreement with Ymar and USMaleSF.

    Ymar:
    >> It is only a ulitarian perspective that says evil can only be seen from the perspective of ex-post facto consequences. What kind of standard is that, when it is only useful when you count up the body bags After everything has been settled? What use is a philosophy that says the greatest good for the greatest number can only come after the body bags have been tallied? It is of no use at all, and incredibly flawed given human perspectives and weaknesses.

    USMaleSF:
    >> To pick up on a theme in Ymarsakar’s remarks: one of the most debilitating attitudes our liberal masters try to inculcate in us is a self-regarding fear that we will become like our enemies. [...] Some people just need to be put down. Period.

    It seems to me that we show wisdom and intelligence when we catch them in the planning stages, and punish them as if they’d already succeeded in doing their worst. Heading them off at the pass, so to speak.

    What good is it to detect them while they are planning; to listen in on their plans to murder a hundred thousand people? To monitor their purchases. To surreptitiously observe them assembling their bombs or their poisons. To detect them in setting the date and time they will enact their scheme. To watch them carry out their scheme. To witness the slaughter. And only then to swoop in and capture them, and punish them? That would be monstrous.

    Once we know their intent, and once we see them begin their actions in support of their monstrous scheme, we are justified in taking them into custody, and I would claim (though Book might not, as this is against the current state of law, I believe) that they should be punished as if they had succeeded in carrying out the entirety of their scheme. For they have moved from discussion to action. That alone should suffice. We should not have to wait; they should not be relied upon to deviate from their course of action, nor to fail from incompetence.

  14. Al says

    Is Obama evil? This one is easy for me. Yes.
    Why?
    He voted in the Illinois State Legislature to deny medical treatment to an infant born after a botched abortion attempt. Twice.
    Al

  15. says

    Do you turn to your friend and say, “My good man! Look at that increase in entropy! It must not stand. We must do something!”

    That concepts of God-based “right and wrong, good and evil” are replaced with axioms based on “resistance to entropy”.

    There is no concept of good or evil, and there is no concept of God, without metaphysics. And entropy is as metaphysical as you can get. All standards of right and wrong are based upon concrete metaphysical constructs, whether one may call it perception or reality or fantasy or idealism or the spiritual realms of Heaven and Hell.

    Similarly, a Christian does not turn to his companion and say, “My God! Look at that rebellion against God’s will! It must not stand. We must do something!”

    The reward and punishment control mechanism behind Christianity is Hell and Heaven. It has always been so, beginning with Adam and Eve, though while they did not go to Hell, they got pretty close due to disobeying God. There would be no Hell and no fear of being punished for one’s actions by being sent to Hell, if the basic concern was not a rebellion and a resistance to God, in one fashion or another. Heaven is for those who live by God’s laws or rules and Hell is for all the others that disobey. Whether you call this rebellion or not, matters little.

    A metaphysics based on “resistance to entropy” can result in a conservative philosophy such as yours

    It is not metaphysics, but ethics, for ethics is composed of equal parts of epistemology and metaphysics. Knowledge and reality, interpretation and facts.

    There is no such thing as a metaphysical reality or system in which there is not a “resistance to entropy”. Entropy is, entropy is resisted, and entropy is inevitable. Those things are epistemological truths, not arguments of concern or contention. They are axiomatic. It is from that foundation which the conclusions are formed. The validation and acceptance of the inevitable decay of the universe and of the innate flaws of human nature, does lead to a conservative philosophy.

    Thermodynamics was not very clear when Christianity was formed, thus their doctrine evolved differently and using different sources to teach others. I see no need to burden myself with ancient limitations on this score.

    I would say that you have very much in common with a conservative whose framework is based on “resistance to rebellion against God’s will.”

    The theological differences are not based upon a difference of opinion concerning the state of the universe and whether entropy is or is not an existing factor. The theological differences concern other matters.

    A reliance on individual freedom (as is evidenced in much of libertarian thought) that does not place at LEAST equal importance on individual responsibility inevitably leads to the collapse of civilization.

    I don’t see why this is relevant vis a vis the subject you raised.

    Therefore we expect to have laws that promote civilization via the regulation of bad human behaviors.

    Again, what does this have to do with my positions.

    There is no need for division when we’re actually on the same team.

    There is always need for division. The balance of powers created by the Founding Fathers weren’t because they liked chaos, disunity, and civil wars. Such was created because division is the natural state of human nature and one might as well make the best use of it in furthering certain goals. I mention the balance of powers, but that is only one example and it is not even a major one. The truth at this point concerns the fact that human beings do not function as One. There will always be differences and those that say they will create equality, with no differences existing, are lying and conning people.

    Those differences are good and should not be confused with the Left’s consequences, which led to ultimate entropy, destruction, and chaos, to name but a few of the consequences of Leftism.

    Divisions exist because they serve a purpose.

    (though Book might not, as this is against the current state of law, I believe)

    Book is more familiar with laws than I am. I will leave this arena in her capable hands. I prefer to focus on civic duty and responsibility, and that is an entire other ballpark than criminal law and prosecution.

  16. Mike Devx says

    Ymar (#20)

    I found the first half of your post completely consistent and unassailable, based on your axioms, Ymar. It’s well thought out and, as these things go, quite correctly deep. I do have some thoughts on the second half…

    First this exchange:

    Mike: A reliance on individual freedom (as is evidenced in much of libertarian thought) that does not place at LEAST equal importance on individual responsibility inevitably leads to the collapse of civilization.

    Ymar: I don’t see why this is relevant vis a vis the subject you raised.

    Mike: Therefore we expect to have laws that promote civilization via the regulation of bad human behaviors.

    Ymar: Again, what does this have to do with my positions.

    To answer this – what it has to do with your positions – I have to back up a bit, in your comment, and note this from your position:

    Ymar: There is no such thing as a metaphysical reality or system in which there is not a “resistance to entropy”. Entropy is, entropy is resisted, and entropy is inevitable. [...] The validation and acceptance of the inevitable decay of the universe and of the innate flaws of human nature, does lead to a conservative philosophy.

    It’s rarely useful to proceed from the abstract to the concrete in arguments, which, unfortunately, is what I did. (Concrete to abstract is by far the better approach…)

    If entropy is, and is inevitable, I’m not sure it’s axiomatic that it is resisted. There are plenty of people trapped in ennui and despair because, at some level, they see the resistance to entropy as useless. I suspect many people are religious, and believe in a God who is a conscious entity rather than some formless natural creative force, precisely because they reject a meaningless, purposeless Universe whose end result is that pure entropic low-grade soup of heat death.

    I think I agree with your statement that A. the acceptance of entropy coupled with B. the acceptance of the innate flaws of human nature does lead to a conservative philosophy. If one accepts BOTH parts of the premise, I think the conclusion does follow; I can’t see how one arrives at Statism either.

    I think you proceeded in your arguments to several specific concrete conclusions, and so did I. Where we appear to differ – in the nature of our conservatism – is the implications of innate flaws of human nature. I find it totally acceptable that a society/culture/civilization’s peoples may correctly enact laws that regulate human behavior due to those flaws. I *think* – but I could be wrong – that your philosophy would make it correct to enact only those laws to prevent us from harming each other, which is a core principle of “pure libertarianism” that I’ve abandoned as I’ve moved deeper into social conservatism.

    Hence my move to the concrete discussed “bad human behaviors” and “individual responsibility” as concepts that allow laws/regulations even where one human is not directly harming another. That is likely the crux of our difference.

    My key example was prostitution. I think it’s an entirely valid position that prostitution is degrading on the personal level – entropic, if you will – and degrading to the community as well – entropic, again. That makes it *reasonable* to posit that we can ban it. I completely accept that a community may choose to ban it or allow it; I would vote against allowing it.

    I think we would agree that without individual responsibility, civilization cannot flourish. Our differences would probably be based on our answer to the question: Can a civilization *encourage* individual responsibility without laws/regulations that in some manner enforce it?

    I do recognize that my positions open the door (at least by a crack) to Statism, and that is all they need to exploit the opening and drive towards the things we see around us today. Much as the idea of a safety net in capitalism, to catch the people on their way down and support them at least temporarily, cracks open the door to allow total state control of the results of human work. That doesn’t stop me from supporting the safety net as a protection against the wilder fluctuations of the capitalist system’s creative destruction – so long as the safety net can be fiscally paid for.

    Wow. Here I’ve gone from abstract to concrete again. I guess I enjoy repeating the same mistakes!

  17. says

    If entropy is, and is inevitable, I’m not sure it’s axiomatic that it is resisted.

    Besides action and reaction, an existence and its anti-thesis, a representative analogy would be life and death. If death is inevitably for all living constructs, then why not end it now instead of resisting death, or delaying death, or living a life worth dying for? If death is inevitable, why resist it? For the same reason that we humans resist the encroachment of entropy, for the same reason that we get out of the way of hurricanes and tornados, and for the same reasons why we rebuild what is destroyed even when we know it will be destroyed once again sometime in the future.

    I think it’s an entirely valid position that prostitution is degrading on the personal level – entropic, if you will

    I think you are stretching the analogy here. Metaphysics (entropy or no entropy) leads to ethics and ethics leads to “prostitution being degrading”. A direct comparison of entropy to prostitution is not, however, useful or true. Human beings suffer from entropy every moment of our lives. The very fundamentals of thermodynamics are based upon it. Every time you start up your engine you are speeding up entropy just a little bit more until the energy in our closed system is diffused throughout all space and time.

    It is not that entropy=bad and lack of entropy=good. An ethical system utilizes more than simply a metaphysical principle or axiom; epistemology is also required.

    Where we appear to differ – in the nature of our conservatism – is the implications of innate flaws of human nature. I find it totally acceptable that a society/culture/civilization’s peoples may correctly enact laws that regulate human behavior due to those flaws. I *think* – but I could be wrong – that your philosophy would make it correct to enact only those laws to prevent us from harming each other, which is a core principle of “pure libertarianism” that I’ve abandoned as I’ve moved deeper into social conservatism.

    Well, here is the thing. I have related some of my views on metaphysics and ethics, but I have not covered the politics that arises from such ethics. What this means is that I have not made my position apparent on such enacting of laws. I am not a politician and thus it has not yet been necessary to interpolate what I have said concerning evil to policy formulations about civlization.

    For policies in civilization, I use the Meta-Golden Rule, which is a modified and derived product of the Golden Rule, modified by my own particular brand of philosophy.

    The Meta-Golden Rule is essentially “libertarian” as you call it, but it is also religious, in the sense that the ultimate indicator of why you should do X is because of punishment from on high. Except I posit that you don’t need an omnipotent being to cast shadows of doubt on humanity. All you need to understand is that for any one person, there will always be someone stronger and someone weaker. This sets up an ethical hierarchy of duty and moral luck/responsibility/hazard.

  18. Mike Devx says

    Ymar,

    >> All you need to understand is that for any one person, there will always be someone stronger and someone weaker. This sets up an ethical hierarchy of duty and moral luck/responsibility/hazard.

    Well, I’m still seeing: Pure freedom, unrestrained by any laws except those pertaining solely to where one person clearly intends harm to another.

    That’s the most admirable of political philosophies if it can be applied to human nature. I’ve found myself doubting that it can be applied to human nature.

    It could be that I have misled myself into abandoning it, because it hasn’t really been tried, but only flirted with; much as capitalism hasn’t really been tried.

  19. jillcw says

    I’ve read some of the posts regarding a definition of evil and I think the author’s premise that it is anything anti-God is correct. However, to say that evil is not a person, e.g., the devil, is incorrect. The Hebrew Ha Satan (or as we say in the USA, Satan) means “the accuser, or the adversary.” Now, the O and his minions have done enough that is anti-God in the last few months to make my hair stand on end. The left has a theory: “God hasn’t stopped me yet, so I’ll keep going.” As for the O’s malignant narcissism, it is serious business with regarding to the definition of evil. God tells us that He wants us to forget the self. The self should die and be replaced with more of Him in us. That said, He also speaks about us being other centered as opposed to self centered. The O, however, lives (like most who are anti-God) in a world that says, “It’s all about me.” In all honesty, we are living in perilous times. Those who doubt me should read Ephesians 6. We are not warring against flesh and blood, “but against the powers and principalities of this present darkness.” Read Romans 1 and Second Timothy 3 and 4. It will all make sense. Read some of the articles on worldnetdaily.com and your hair will stand on end, too. Go to youtube.com and type in the search box, “Is Obama the anti-Christ. Some interesting videos on the subject.

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