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.
Whatever their position on the political spectrum, almost all of those who govern us hold to some version of the melioristic liberalism that is the West's default creed, which teaches that human civilisation is advancing - however falteringly - to a point at which the worst forms of human destructiveness can be left behind. According to this view, evil, if any such thing exists, is not an inbuilt human flaw, but a product of defective social institutions, which can over time be permanently improved.
Paradoxically, this belief in the evanescence of evil is what underlies the hysterical invocation of evil that has lately become so prominent. There are many bad and lamentable forces in the world today, but it is those that undermine the belief in human improvement that are demonised as "evil."
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm."
James Madison, Federalist No. 10, November 23, 1787
"Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters."
Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, November 4, 1775
"There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 16,
Thomas Sowell The Vision of the Anointed covers this in historical detail. He can pack a lot into a simple paragraph. This is in fact the core of the divide in the West.
I don't say that conservatives and libertarians often get this fact and handle it clearly, but it is almost entirely absent on the left. Liberals see everything but themselves clearly.
Assistant Village Idiot
"The Truth about Evil" poses a very interesting theory, however I think thosee western countrys concern about ISIS grew when ISIS started stealing and selling oil on the world market. Those Western Nations most concerned have a vested interest in the oil market. U.S.A. France, England, and Canada seem to care more thabn other werstern nations. Fighting Evil is a way to sell it to the public who will bear the cost to protect those oil fields owned by others. There is a lot of evil in many parts of the "oil less" world being ignored by those very same countries. I do support the overall premise that Western nations seem to care more about the plight of others and act more to protect or save them than non-western nations, but I think in the case of ISIS it is more about oil than morality.
Wow. An essay on evil by someone who wholly subscribes to it.
[T]hese ideologies are not just erroneous theories that can be discarded when their falsehood has been demonstrated. Ideas of similar kinds recur whenever societies are threatened by severe and continuing hardship. At present, antisemitism and ethnic nationalism, along with hatred of gay people, immigrants and other minorities, are re-emerging across much of the continent.