In the jargon of good and evil

I have recently had some interesting discussions with Liberal friends that got me to mulling a fundamental question of good versus evil. My thoughts on this did not crystallize until a recent [insert superlative, here] “French conversation” dinner with Book and Charles Martel that kept lapping up to the fringes of my swirling thoughts on this question. Here is what happened:

At my church recently (one wherein my parish spans the full political spectrum), I was voicing my opinion to some friends that, of all the people in the world deserving of my sympathies, “the Palestinians are probably last in line”. A woman burst out furiously from the church pantry and scolded me for not knowing anything about what I was talking about, that the Palestinians were oppressed victims of Israeli perfidy. A short conversation with her was enough to demonstrate that she really didn’t know anything about the Palestinian-Israeli situation other than typical Leftwing propaganda. She and others in the conversation, for example, did not know that Israel’s war of independence occurred in 1948, that there was no “Palestine” before 1948, that virtually all Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries upon Israel’s creation, that more Palestinians have been killed by other Arab states than by Israel, that 20% of Israel’s citizens are Muslim, enjoying full political, economic and religious rights and serve in the military and government (the only Middle Eastern country that recognizes such minority rights, btw), etc. However, what shocked me was how incapable these good women were of seeing the evils represented and committed by the Palestinians. In their view, each act of violence and mayhem committed by the Palestinians and Arabs …against each other as much as against Israelis, was excusable as expressions of victimhood. Since then, I have noticed much of this same dynamic at work in many issues embraced by the Left.

Have Liberals (including religious Liberals) lost their capacity to distinguish between Good and Evil? If so, then we truly are living in a time of Biblical prophesy. What say you?

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  • apeterson2460

    The ability to make moral judgments is like a muscle. Liberalism is all about “not judging”. A muscle withers away if you don’t use it. This is a perfect example of that.

  • BobK

    Tolerance is the idol that western culture worships.  It’s our new golden calf.  The ability to recognize and draw distinctions – to discriminate, if I may put it plainly – is anathema to the idol of tolerance.  The only distinction that matters now is whether a thought or action is sufficiently tolerant.  The only sin is the assertion that there is an absolute standard of right and wrong, of good and evil.

    Our public education system strives to teach in a “value neutral” fashion.  That is, of course, a fallacy.  The very idea of “value neutral” implies the irrelevance of absolute values and the idea that we are all entitled to our own truth.  This dovetails nicely with Book’s repeated observation that conservatives often view progressives as wrong or misguided when they disagree; progressives will often view conservatives as evil.

  • Charles Martel

    Dan, I have no way to telling whether these are the end times as foretold in Revelation or simply yet another of those times in history when an old order is swept away—usually violently and bloodily—by something new.
    I wonder if the problem with many people who profess a belief in God is that they will do everything they can to not actually take him seriously.
    When you can excuse the most vile and savage behaviors, because the perpetrators are “victims,” in a way you become your own god. You can pretend to understand and dispense godlike mercy, as well as excuse your own bad acts. 
    The Christian belief that “we are all fallen and sinners” easily morphs into “since God forgives all sins, I, being my own god, will too. Did I cheat on my husband? He victimized me and forced me into that other man’s arms. I forgive myself. Do the Palestinians routinely murder Israeli children? They are victims. I forgive them.”  

  • Danny Lemieux

    Hammer, we have been through times like this before in our history (late 15th into the 16th Century) when the “old” was swept away and replaced by the new by an extended period of bloody anarchy.

    I worry that we may be approaching one of those timeswhen we human beings find ourselves held hostage by the price tabs of our most craven failings. We are approaching an existential crisis even as the ram of of an evil Islamism batters at the increasingly rotten doors of our civilization and our treasuries and larders lie bare. That Islamism will eventually lose, of that I have no doubt. For now, though, we can’t even find it in ourselves to name our enemy through the darkness of our tightly shuttered eyes.

    Our society will pay a terrible price while we flounder to rediscover our true moral selves through the detritus of a once great society that knew how to struggle to improve itself but somehow, somewhere lost its way.

  • Charles Martel

    Dan, I hope, but don’t really expect, that a Romney victory might signal a long overdue application of the societal brakes.
    My biggest concern is that the best of western civilization has fortresses it can retreat to where it can wait out the inevitable collapses of Islam and socialism—even though those twin evils are now seemingly dominant and inflicting incredible damage at will. 
    Those fortresses should be both physical and psychic—and nuclear armed. Israel is one already, though it is too small to sustain much damage from the savages who surround her. Perhaps a remnant part of the United States, such as Texas or the Far West. Maybe the South will rise again, this time as true defender of freedom.
    Dunno. Even the most prescient Roman could not have told you in 400 where the great centers of power and learning would be after the western empire’s collapse. Certainly the windswept monastic outposts that were beginning to grow in Hibernia would have eluded his consideration. Who knows what great archive of our civilization even now is escaping our notice as it quietly grows?

  • lee

    I have thought for some time that since the end of WWII we’ve been in this state of… upheaval.

    When the Black Death killed off almost a third of the population of Europe, there was a similar upheaval. There was a crisis of faith–God was perhaps not as powerful and omnipresent as man had believed Him to be. Before the Black Death, God held the central place of the universe of Man. But the devastation of the plague had weakened that confidence. While the Rennaissance had started before the plague, I think the knocking of God off the pedestal enabled it to fully flower. Man came to be viewed in God’s place. Man was now able to do more. Even theologically, Man became more integral to religion. You see how the art illustrating the apostles changes–from angels guiding their hands as they write, to angels hovering over their heads, to no angels at all, though still a portait of divinity. Man’s abilities were acknowledged and for centuries, Man has flowered. Then came the century of war. 

     Not like we haven’t been fighting wars since forever, and not like they haven’t been bloody. But newspapers and photography brought war home in a way it hadn’t been before. Guns and ordinance got more accurate and more deadly. New ways to kill were developed. World War I saw the deaths of 10 millian troops and around 7 million civilians. About two thirds of the military dead were from battle, while most of the civilian deaths came from famine induced starvation. The war covered a huge geographic area, and some battles lasted days, weeks… months. (The Battle of Verdun lasted nine months and killed some 70,000 people.) 

    The 20’s, the 30’s, the 40’s–World War II, and Communism and Nazism brought another sort of horror: the wholesale murder of people as the end itself. The Holocaust, the Holodomor, Mao’s Great Leap Forward–all designed to murder people.

    I think that thise decades of death had a not too dissimilar affect as did the Black Death did way back when. Only instead of the primacy of God being challenged, it is the primacy of man. And whereas over six hundred years ago, we replaced God with Man, we have nothing with which to replace Man. And this is why I think we have decended into this post-modern nonsense of moral-relativism and other bull****.

  • lee

    The upshot is, I think we may be screwed.