and yours too.
I’m finishing up Mein Kampf in a quest to understand why it seems so difficult for individuals to identify Evil. I have had to read bit’s and peices of it over my lifetime but never beginning to end. He named it appropriately whether that was his intention or not.
But to the point.
A common film cliché is the inevitable soliloquy offered by the Evil Mastermind outlining his Evil plan for the benefit of the Hero just prior to the Heroe’s anticipated demise.
This scenario, once identified, becomes genuinely funny.
The basic questions are 1.) Why does it matter? 2.) Why is the speech always to blatantly Evil?
Well, writers have long known that it is difficult for individuals to identify, let alone understand, evil when it is right in front of them. We seem to have little ability to discern what is good from what is bad unless it is spelled out in the simplest terms. Blame it on whatever you would like, but my experience is even those who have subscribed to a specific morality still fail to recognize evil when it is present.
My question started with “Why?”. Why do we not see things for what they are? Why aren’t Bad Guys so easy to spot?
My past has provided me exposure to Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Mussolini and of course Hitler. I have added Hussein (Saddam), Galbraith, Keynes and a list of Fabians among others.
Wrapping up Hitlers vision of government built on racial elitism and a hatred of those he perceived to be responsible for all the evil in the world has yet again left me bewildered. This book was not just some persons perception of Hitler… it was Hitler’s perception of Hitler. In his own words he defines Evil without seeing it as such.
So why do many of these same ideas come back to haunt us? Why are we still arguing the benefits of Socialist planning from the likes of Hitler, Marx and Mao?
Frankly its stunning.
The reason the film cliché is funny is because of the overt maliciousness of the bad guy’s plan for the rest of us. In other words, even He knows it’s mean. He knows it’s Evil.
The reason we can’t seem to recognize Evil when it’s right in front of us is because the “true believers” honestly think they have the best interests of the world in mind. The reason Hitler was able to rise to power is exactly because he didn’t see himself as Evil which allowed many Americans and multitudes of others to also not see him as evil… though it was plainly in front of them should they have had the foundation, desire, or both, to assess it.
That’s really what it comes down to. A lack of a solid foundation built upon a governing theory that does not require force. Once you have that, the ideas of those with the best of intentions will no longer escape scrutiny. The Marx and Engels of the world will no longer get a pass from those who consider themselves better educated, superior, enlightened or whatever adjective they choose to save themselves the effort of being intellectually curious… then intellectually honest, that is unless they see the value of these ideas in terms of the power provided to those in charge. Socialism will always attract those in search of power over others.
I have long said “If your going to be a Socialist, then be the best Socialist you can be. But know what that means.” I take this position because I also believe that once you know what that means the majority of us are repulsed and disgusted. As a single, simple reason I will refer you to Killer of Men.
It will serve you well to understand that our leaders will not identify themselves, or their ideas, as Evil.
They believe they have your best interests in mind when they propose to force you into a world they see as “fair” and “socially just”… as defined by them.
These people whose ideas should be immediately suspect are those who consider themselves the elite. By their judgement they have attended the right schools, know the right people and know what’s best for you. They will tell you right up front what they have in mind… until they realize you have no interest in supporting them. Then they will work in the background to further their ideas. Their righteousness drives them. They feel that if you would simply do what you are told the world will be better for it. The tragic history of those ideas will always be dismissed by a wave of a hand and the statement “They just didn’t do it right.” In reality, it’s not about “doing it right”, rather it’s their desire for power over others which motivates them.
None of the individuals mentioned at the beginning of this post would have considered themselves Evil… nor would they have subscribed to the idea that any aspect of what they wanted to do could be construed as such. The same is true of our leaders today… do not expect any one of them to “wake up” and see the Evil of their ways.
The Enlightenment brought us a group of men who saw Evil clearly over 250 years ago. Because of that they attempted to establish a governing structure which championed the Individual and secured the concept of Private Property. We are squandering this gift daily by not recognizing those who wish to destroy such a paradigm because it has no room for their ideas, let alone support for their thirst of control over men.
Speaking of thirst, it’s time for a beer. Franklin was right… “Beer is proof that God loves us.”
April 10th, 2013 at 2:53 pm
Hey, Mike! I have to say, Write oN! I do, in fact, like the cut of your jib. And I would, in fact, be quite interested in reading what you folks have to say. We are starting up a debating dohyo next door and if you are following along here, and would like to participate, by all means, let me know!
oh, and mike? to tell you the truth, i give not a whit how you stopped drinking if that is a fact. I support your struggle, whatever it’s origins and resolutions.
April 10th, 2013 at 3:18 pm
Thanks for the invite Chris. However this is a small hobby for me and I shy away from polluting other peoples sites with my poorly thought out ideas. As it is, I already spend too much time constructing a cogent argument for my own followers. I wish you luck however in your pursuit of debaters. Please feel free to offer up challenges whenever you feel I stray from the reservation. Thanks for the comments.
April 10th, 2013 at 1:21 pm
Personally, I find myself teetering on the edge of accepting socialism because of the initial warm fuzzy it stirs – equality for all in all things, eventual utopia. But in reality human nature will always corrupt even the most benign ideology.
April 10th, 2013 at 1:29 pm
Our biological imperatives prevent us from adopting such Utopian Ideals. This is why I favor Capitalism. It takes into account truth. In the past I have descibed Socialism as furry little tiger cubs and Capitalism as a dark black square. Capitalism is cold and unchanging… while Socialism is cute and cuddly. The problem is that over time Capitalism will still be a cold black square. But Socialism will ultimately kill you.
April 10th, 2013 at 1:39 pm
Yes, I can also get warm and fuzzy about capitalism too. The idea that if you work hard you will be rewarded – its a system that should reward innovation yet it isn’t a perfect system either – once lobbyists and lawyers get involved it becomes corrupt too and promotes protectionist ideas.
April 10th, 2013 at 1:44 pm
That’s not Capitalism… that’s Fascism, which is a form of Socialism. (We are basically a Fasist country at this point in history.) It is exactly because we have embraced the idea that the Federal Government has a duty to expand it’s authority in areas not outlined in the Constitution that Lobbyists and Lawyers can seek protection and favors for their clients from Federal politicians. And yes, I’m drawing a distinction between Federal and State. States can do stupid things. You can always leave the State.
April 10th, 2013 at 2:05 pm
Well, that is something to think about. 🙂 Personally, I always saw Hitler as a Fascist rather than a socialist – I know its off topic of your comment, but it was the first thing I thought of when I started reading this post.
April 10th, 2013 at 1:17 pm
I think the truly Evil are also psychopaths and possibly assimilated sociopaths, therefore it is impossible for them to have an understanding of real evil; their minds don’t separate right from wrong or morality from immorality or unethical behavior. The rest of us don’t want to believe there are those out there who are pure evil, because we have hope maybe. Also, too many get caught up in the fervor of the masses and are afraid to pose questions.
April 10th, 2013 at 1:25 pm
So we must add “denial” and “group think” to those variables that destroy our lives. I would not argue about that. However, a Psychopath and Sociopath are applying “reason” to their actions. Albeit a type of “reason” we cannot recognize which is why those are disorders. Our denial and subscription to group-think is anti-reason. It is born of fear and laziness.
But this is a disucssion about why we fail to recognize Evil not necessarily why we follow those who are. Good comment. I’m going to have to chew on this for a while.