Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thanks to Will Smith: a Fresh Take on Good and Evil

Will Smith has really, really, really put his foot in it this time! I bet that at this very moment in time he's wishing he'd never been born.

Pajamas - Roger's Rules: "Will Smith, Hitler, and the perils of benevolence", by Roger Kimball

The actor Will Smith ignited a little firestorm of indignation when, in the course of an interview with a Scottish newspaper, he offered some observations on the inherent goodness of mankind:

“Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today’,” said Will. “I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good’. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming.

(...) Well, no sooner had the indignation machine started up (“What, he is saying nice things about Hitler!”) than Smith issued this comment:

“It is an awful and disgusting lie. It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation. Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous, vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet.”

"Noted. Instapundit provides a quick round up of the ferocious commentary Smith’s remarks elicited, including this intelligent response from The Volokh Conspiracy (...) ... indeed."

The casual visitor of the Hitler Historical Museum might indeed come away with Smith's relativist take on morality. Until one reaches the more obscure crevices; the Political Testament concludes: "Above all, I enjoin the government and the people to uphold the race laws to the limit and to resist mercilessly the poisoner of all nations, international Jewry." ... yeah sure, Corporal Hitler thought he did the right thing for the German Volk. His problem was that he had the wrong philosophy. One that denies objective reality. Price: 6 million Jews.

Volokh Conspiracy understands it too: "Rather, the quoted material simply reports Smith’s quite plausible view that Hitler, like many other people who do evil (...) believe that they are doing good. I’m hardly a Hitler scholar, but my sense is that Hitler did indeed believe that he was doing good, as did Stalin, Bin Laden, and various others." The examples mentioned all suffer from Hitler's problem: a philosophy c.q. a religion that denies objective reality. Add the Asian incarnations of Marx and the price tag skyrockets to 110 million dead. The TROP keeps tally of the proceedings at the Islamic branch.

The relativist view - what passes for ethics on the far Right and center Left side of the intellectual spectrum - invariably goes to intent. It holds good the subjectivist idea that it is somehow okay to kill half of humanity if it is done for the greater good or in their own best interest. Roger's Rules gets it: "Robespierre & Co. thought themselves just the chaps for the job. The fact that they measured the extent of their success by the frequency that the guillotines around Paris operated, highlights the connection between the imperatives of political correctness and tyranny—between what Robespierre candidly described as 'virtue and its emanation, terror.' "

- Caption: Corporal Hitler's doodle number 5 -

Whereas Protestants choose biblical guidance to keep them on the straight and narrow, Catholicism and the Scholastics have explained the human gravitational pull towards the good in terms of divine 'DNA', the piece of us that is 'of God'. The entire ethical system is laid down in Natural Law. Pope Benedict XVI is said to be taking it to the agnostics shortly, in an effort to shore up the general grasp of objective morality. Another brave effort on his part, given that agnostics are fence dwellers by definition.

Given that evil is blind - in that it doesn't perceive when intent, or the means to an end, take leave of the virtuous - humanity could do with a few useful pointers.

Contrary to what relativists have us believe, there are clashing ways of life and mutually exclusive principles. In that case a choice is inevitable: a compromise between food and poison is death, said Ayn Rand. A teeny-weeny bit pregnant when dealing with the Adolf Hitlers of this world, is tantamount to destruction.

Contradictions and oxymorons are sure signals of a impending assault on logic. Return to base, fact-check once more and re-integrate the cognitive edifice.

The essence of morality is human free will. Take away choice and the result is amoral dictatorship. (Note the second comment on Roger's Rules: the haters of morals, dogma and authority invariably express themselves in terms of 'case closed, because I say so, shut up!')

Shut up because we say so, says also the EuroParliament. The signing of the document European Parliament Resolution on Combating the Rise of Extremism in Europe as celebrated in "The Good News: for Europe and Euro-Skeptics" - the document that triggered all that indecorous heckling - has been fisked to threads by the lads of Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE). It would seem that this piece of Liberal surrogate morality actually lays the foundation of our very enslavement to the wannabe state's official ideology.

The EuroParliament is living proof of Will Smith's conclusion, although Corporal Hitler is possibly one of the most inappropriate illustrations. Evil may be committed through good as well as bad design, but the sinner always remains oblivious of his fall into the trap set by the Old 'Un until it's too late! Such is the human condition ...

Europe has failed to keep its eyes on the moral ball and has strayed into a subjectivist mindset in which a perceived 'noble end' justifies evil means: bullying in the name of peace - censoring to save free speech - fascistic methods to combat perceived fascism - committing evil to avert it!

- Filed in Articles in "The Liberal Dictatorship", cat. in Moral Laws, Neo-Totalitarianism -


1389 said...

Lies are the lubricant and the fuel required to keep the machinery of evil in motion.

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