Sunday, April 4, 2010

Good versus Evil

An issue that I’ve studied a lot is the issue of how an honest person can deal with and survive in the presence of evil. I define evil as the ability and willingness of a person to do harm to other people, their minds and properties without concern for the damage done.

The average person must confront a myriad of situations that involve dealing with evil and the difficult question is how to recognize it, how to make sure you aren’t being fooled by someone who claims to be doing good but who has ulterior evil intent. That an honest person is put into a situation where he must confront evil is a travesty in itself; the best policy is to avoid it, not deal with it and let it destroy itself. But when a society is on the slippery slope toward the dominance of evil, honest people must learn to defend themselves. So, to begin, we must start with a proper foundation.

As Voltaire said about Francis Bacon when he asked how we can know a great man. His answer: "It is the man who sways our minds by the prevalence of reason and the native force of truth, not they who reduce mankind to a state of slavery by brutish force and downright violence..." The implication is that the evil person has only one goal in the final sense: to destroy or enslave people. The good person is one who adheres to reason, truth, morality.

The difference between the good and the evil represents two fundamental principles, each the direct opposite of the other. I break them down in the following way:

Life as Standard-----------------------------Death as Standard
Life-serving Values-------------------------Nihilism/Moral Equivalence
Capitalism/Limited Government------Dictatorship/Unlimited Government

Notice that each of these principles has an exact opposite. This is based on the principle of anti-thesis that takes abstract principles and defines them in terms of their contradictories.

This approach makes it possible to draw clear lines between good and evil, truth and falsehood, and eliminates the confusion created by taking a moral “middle-of-the-road”. The middle-of-the-road approach is called moral equivalence which puts us on a slippery slope (so to speak) that leads to the victory of evil. This is the position of many of the "talking heads" on television and radio who admonish people for taking a stand against the progressives; their position is that you should not judge, not question and just assume that the left is really just trying to make things better. They accuse you of "McCarthyism" "racism" or anything else they can get away with so that you feel guilty for taking a stand against government coercion. Those who favor evil, consciously or sub-consciously, want to get you on that slippery slope toward evil so you don't really know what is happening to you in terms of your integrity and moral sensibility.

I like this approach to understanding human problems because it starts with a broad abstraction that subsumes a host of other abstractions and concretes. By understanding issues in this way, you can sweep aside the ideas of those who want to confuse you about their ends and the means of accomplishing them. For instance, if you hear an argument based on nihilism, you know that its opposite must be life as the standard and therefore nihilism holds death as the standard. This enables you to eliminate the influence, in your mind, of people who are nihilists (such as George Soros, his funded organizations and other pragmatists). The same can be said of those who favor self-sacrifice. Their opposite is self-interest which explains why they are constantly criticizing capitalism, individualism, reason, etc. This puts them squarely on the side of evil though they claim to represent the good.

For those of you who think there is no harm in compromising with bad ideas or who say that you can see good in all sides, I'd like for you to consider where you stand on the chart and to what you are opposed. I'd like for you to consider that self-imposed blindness is still blindness. Any compromise with nihilism and anti-reason puts you on the side of evil. You have to decide the truth for yourself. "Whenever men expect reality to conform to their wish simply because it is their wish, they are doomed to metaphysical disappointment. This leads them to the dichotomy: my dream vs. the actual which thwarts it... "(1)

Those who would usher evil into society, those people dedicated to plundering values of all varieties, must convince the good people that their rationalizations are really aimed at the good. This is why you hear progressives in our society constantly telling you that they respect freedom and the Constitution, but they want just a little bit of force in society in order to do good. The truth is, because they advocate force as a means for accomplishing their goals, they really don’t want to do good. They want to destroy and they should be rejected out of hand.

Just look at the chart.

(1) Objectivism, The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff

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