We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Thanks to Insty for letting me know about my old colleague Dr. Michael Stone's new book, Anatomy of Evil. Quote from the Amazon site:
What do psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience tell us about the minds of those whose actions could be described as evil? And what will that mean for the rest of us? Stone discusses how an increased understanding of the causes of evil will affect the justice system. He predicts a day when certain persons can safely be declared salvageable and restored to society and when early signs of violence in children may be corrected before potentially dangerous patterns become entrenched.
Pretty to think so, but that day will never come, Dr. Stone.
How will they cope with the "good" people who join murderous totalitarian movements to achieve some utopian goal. Nazis come mind, as well as all those well meaning intelligent folks who supported the Communists and worshipped Stalin. Or the 60's radicals who waved the little red book, the WWII pacifists who thought non-violent protest would derail the Nazis, and those who want to steal what others produce to distribute it for social justice.
Small evils are committed by deranged folks, large evils are committed by deluded normal people. Who will argue that what they have done isn't even evil.
Then there's the argument that good only exists as a contrast to evil, so that doing evil is really doing good. Because it enables good to exist you see. I think that line of thought exposes words themselves as the artificial things they naturally have to be.
"Early signs of violence?" Obviously, violence itself can be observed, but there's already a ruckus in the UK about people making predictions about kids. Torturing small animals is a BAD sign, but mood states and tempers, preoccupations, and even the reports of interested parties are not always reliable for predicting someone's future potential. How many future Pattons or other warriors might be deemed "unsalvageable" because they don't play nicely with the other children? We have probably all had the experience of hearing about someone who appeared "bad to the bone" in youth, turning out very well indeed. Not to mention the opposite...
I know the researchers and all these nice people are only trying to help and save us all some trouble, but I find the idea of the government deciding I need to be treated for something I might do rather than punished for what I have done to be a little chilling.
Who decides when you're cured, when the decision is divorced from actions?
Assistant Village Idiot
I've been watching the reader review section at Amazon for a while hoping to see a nice overall critique of the work, but so far only one review (5 star), and it's fairly brief and doesn't go into the author's work much.
I do hope to read it when I catch up to it. The world of discovery on the human mentality and its condition, as it is being revealed by neuroscience, is endlessly fascinating and has the ability, like almost no other science, to challenge the individual's most closely held notions about themselves.
"He predicts a day when certain persons can safely be declared salvageable..."
What's left UN-said is that "certain persons" will be declared to be UNSALVAGEABLE. Who gets to make that call? And how would a society prevent a despotic leader from declaring opponents "inherently, malignantly evil" and having them thrown into prison for life (or "put down" like a rabid dog)?