Our opinions and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.

On Evil

David Warren writes in The Demons:
What we see on the streets of Ottawa, instead, is an almost pure fanaticism -- that radical spirit of alienation that ultimately motivates the Jihadis, too. This nihilism is the splinter in the heart of our modernity; it rejects everything; it proposes, finally, nothing in its place. It is the devil himself speaking out of his void, leading finally to the silence of Iago.

To understand it, we must look into the very faces contorted with rage, and the mouths uttering the vilest obscenities. The evil is not coming from outside them: it is instead welling from the void within.

And yet the tragedy of these people -- whose fanaticism puts them beyond the pale of give-and-take in party politics, and whose views, should they spread, would take the whole democratic order down with them -- is that they know even less about themselves than they know about the world they condemn. They are angry, but finally they don't know why.

They don't believe in evil, as a category; yet it haunts them externally on every side: "Bush" being only the straw man of the moment. And unlike the actual Mr. Bush, they do not believe in grace, either. They see evil everywhere. They rail, and they rail.
David raises a very good question: Are those capable of equating George Bush with Adolf Hitler evil? Or alternatively: Are those who feel no joy in the fact that the Taliban and Saddam Hussein are no longer in power evil?

In asking this question I don't mean evil in the 'torturing of cute puppies' sense. I mean evil in the sense that their actions lead to evil prevailing when principled and moral action could prevent it. As the saying goes the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist.

And as David says, there are principled and rational reasons to oppose many of George Bush's foreign policies. Why then did the protestors we saw in Ottawa this week not voice them?

Is ignoring an evil deed as bad as commiting one?

crossposted at The Shotgun

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