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Evil Is as Evil Does

June 6, 2013
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la luz 5We live in a world where evil exists.  It always has and it always will.  In many ways, it is a relative term, too often used for such petty reason that it literally takes the ‘evil’ from what is truly evil.  When the far left describes the far right as ‘evil’ and the far right reciprocates, the ‘word’ loses some of its implications.   The manipulators are so busy trying to get attention, sell books, and make money on any given situation that they aren’t interested in the relative right or wrong of a situation.  They are only interested in being heard.  That, in itself is not evil.

We live in a ‘so’ called “christian” nation where our laws are based on the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments. Deal with it.  All of western society is based on those relative values.  Indeed, you will find that most civilized cultures throughout history have basically come up with the same basic list of what is socially, culturally, and morally acceptable.  There are some variables, but it is a general given that we aren’t to steal, cheat, lie, and murder. You don’t give false witness in a trial.  You don’t take innocent life. These are cultural norms that have been in place, more or less, since the beginning of time.  For purposes of this discussion, The Pink Flamingo is limiting my discussion to the Judeo-Christian values of Western Civilization.  That is what our laws are based.  Our laws are based on the laws that came out of England.  That is, for all intents and purposes who we are.  Those laws are now, so ingrained in the consciousness of civilized individuals, that they are generally accepted as the status-quo throughout the civilized world.

This said, there are things which are not evil.  To constantly harp on them as evil detracts from the true nature of evil.

Strange how no one wants to use the “E” word anymore.  They’re quite willing to constantly drop an “F” bomb, but no one wants to use the “E” word.  Oh, they do, but it is more of a political epitaph than a discussion of what ‘evil’ truly is.  Probably the best definition I know comes from the Catholic Encyclopedia.  “that suffering is the penal consequence of willful disobedience to the law of God.”  Oh, there is a much longer explanation, but I think this one suffices.  For Pink Flamingo readers who don’t want to deal with a religious definition, here’s another from Wikipedia.  “Evil is Profound Immorality“.  Either definition works for me.  Webster defines it as “morally reprehensible“.  Same thing.

Related words include:

adverse, bad, baleful, baneful, damaging, dangerous, deleterious, detrimental, harmful, hurtful, ill, injurious, mischievous, nocuous, noxious, pernicious, prejudicial, wicked ,hostile, inimical, unfriendly; contagious, deadly, infectious, infective, pestiferous, pestilent, pestilential, poisonous, venomous; insidious, menacing, ominous, sinister, threatening; hazardous, imperiling (or imperilling), jeopardizing, parlous, perilous, risky, unsafe, unsound; nasty, noisome, unhealthful, unhealthy, unwholesome; destructive, fatal, killer, lethal, malignant, ruinous, atrociousness, atrocity, badness, balefulness, darkness, depravedness, devilishness, diabolism, enormity, evilness, heinousness, iniquitousness, satanism, sinfulness, vileness, wickedness; devilry (or deviltry), fiendishness; cancer, canker, decay, rot, squalor; corruption, debauchery, degeneracy, depravity, indecency, malefaction, perversion, pervertedness, scurrility, scurrilousness; abomination, anathema, taboo

Evil is an insidious thing.  In the NY Daily News, Rabbi Yaakov Spivak wrote:

NY Daily News

NY Daily News

For the most part, nations are not evil.  Ideologies are usually not evil, neither are leaders.  There are exceptions, such as North Korea, and the brutality in Africa.  It may not even be useful to state that the problems in Chechnya, from which this entire disaster sprang, are ‘evil’ – yet.  They are getting there, with a potential dictator in the making.  The gold standard one just who and what was evil will probably always be Adolf Hitler.

What happened in Texas was not evil.  If the owners of the fertilizer company intentionally lied about their product, what they had, and how much, and intentionally avoided regulators, then yes, that was evil. There are times when you don’t quite know when someone and something crosses the line.  The Pink Flamingo thinks the libertarian extremist views promoted by Ron Paul are walking a thin line between good and evil.  They could go either way.  Right now, I’m not optomistic.

What is evil?  In many ways, the term is relative.  The Pink Flamingo thinks that evil is intrinsic. Many good things can be manipulated and turned into something that is evil.  One of the real problems we have in this country dealing with evil, is the fact that, for the most part, the American people are the most generous, bleeding-heart, bladder in back of the eyes, kindest rag-tag bunch of just ordinary folk the world has ever known.  We are so opposite of evil, than when we are faced with it, in many ways, we don’t know quite how to react.  We are so good, so decent, that manipulators on both political sides have a tendency to use the “E” word to try and destroy their opposition, knowing full well, neither side is evil.

When this happens, then something that isn’t nice can morph into something that is truly evil.  The very nature of ‘evil’ is something dark, malevolent.  It needs help getting started and making in-roads into a population, organization, or a life.  It’s just like Michele Bachmann.  She is not an evil person.  What she did to her staff is not evil.  It wasn’t nice, but it isn’t evil.  For anyone to even make the assumption that is is evil, is dumbing down ‘evil’.

Michele Bachmann is stupid. Being stupid is not being evil.  An evil person can be stupid, but most stupid people aren’t evil. They’re just stupid. There are times when their stupidity can be so abjectly, well, stupid, that it rises to the definition of ‘evil’, but that is indeed rare.   Glenn Beck is quickly crossing the line from stupid to evil.  He is knowing lying and manipulating for his personal gain.  That’s greed, and greed is good, right?  That’s like the Koch Brothers.  They aren’t evil.  They are greedy, and extreme greed leads to evil.  If they are allowed to purchase 8 major newspapers in this country, then their plans then morph from ‘greed’ to what could become truly evil in nature.   It’s like capitalism.  It is not evil, but can become an instrument of evil. It’s like basing an entire political and financial ideology on a lie, such as austerity.  When the promoters of the ideology know it is a lie and continue with it  – then it becomes evil.

Stupid is when we fail to comprehend that anything can become evil, if it is taken to the extreme.  Evil is when something is used to destroy another.  Patriotism can morph into something evil.  So can the desire to save money.  Religion can quickly turn into something evil.  The Pink Flamingo is quickly coming to believe that in moderation there is restraint.  I suspect that it is very difficult for evil to fester and flourish in a moderate climate. Let’s face it, zealotry in any form (other than baseball fanaticism) can quickly become nothing but pure evil.

It is up to the wise among us to know the difference and begin sounding the clarion call when this happens.

And then there is stupidity….!

That’s another rant and rave.

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2 Comments

  • Mike G. says:

    Great piece on the overuse of the adjective ‘evil’.

    But I do think that excoriating the Koch Bro.s for trying to buy the LA Times and affiliated newspapers is a little much. After all, most other major media outlets have a decidedly leftward tilt and are biased in that direction, both in their reporting and in their editorials. The same can be said for cable and regular TV news programs. Only one network advertises itself as fair and balanced…not sure about that, but for sure, the other networks are definitely sharply left leaning.

    Why shouldn’t Libertarians or Conservatives have their own major print news outlet? And what makes you think that the Koch’s will allow similarly biased reporting to appear in their paper?

  • SJ Reidhead says:

    The far right just about controls the media these days. I know, it’s a shocker, but with Murdoch, Politico, NRO, and a few others, there is a far greater extreme libertarian presence than kooky liberal presence. I don’t care for either. The Kochs are attempting to buy the country, plain and simple. If they control the media, the way they do the GOP, the country is shot.

    SJR


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