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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.
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Thursday, January 12, 2006
On Wrong and Evil
In my last post, I mentioned the words Wrong and Evil. For example I said that while I believed homosexuality is Wrong (you are welcome to believe what you like), I refuse to believe that homosexuality is Evil. If anyone tells you differently, let me know, I'll put on my ideological hobnails and we'll have a friendly debate. They might not be totally full of garbage, but it's going to be my first guess.
Wrong is generally self-gratifying and doesn't often cause other people much harm. What is Wrong might be different from person to person based on their own morality, but what is Evil is generally recognized as so by the average person. For example, a shoplifter is Wrong, but a mass murdering dictator like Saddam is Evil. Evil usually operates to increase the amount of suffering in the world. That is its end goal. Evil does Wrong, not because of the self-gratification, but simply because it is Wrong. Not everything that is Wrong is Evil, but nearly everything that is Evil is Wrong. Now I'll forestall your question from two sentences ago: "But Avvy, American occupation troops in Iraq have arguably increased the suffering of its people in at least some instances. Isn't that Evil?" The answer is no. As I stated, the end goal, the very point of Evil is to increase suffering. A temporary increase of suffering (and considering that the Coalition troops have yet to feed people into industrial shredders after raping their families in front of them, I can make a pretty good point against an overall increase in suffering in Iraq due to the war) is not Evil if its end goal is to reduce suffering. The American Civil War was a time of great suffering, but the North's fighting in it was not for Evil, to increase suffering. Rather, it was to lessen suffering. Dean Barnett at Soxblog, and I agree on this sort of thing. Sometimes it is necessary to do what is ordinarily Wrong to head off Evil. These times are always hard. We live in such times now.
Don't be surprised to see more disserations on the nature of Wrong and Evil from me. I've kind of run out of steam on it this time (the last post really took it out of me), but Wrong and Evil are things that occupy my attention a lot when I muse about the world on my long commutes to and from work. I hope to have more next time, but this should provide at least a primer so that when you hear me throw around the words Wrong and Evil, you know where I'm coming from.