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What is evil? How do we define it? Can we quantify or classify the characteristics of true evil? Are there degrees of evil? Can someone be both good and evil? Do we as a society really believe in redemption, even of the truly evil? What does our system of commerce say about our values and does it support evil behavior? Can we really identify the root of all evil?

Profoundly immoral and malevolent.

Profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, esp. when regarded as a supernatural force.

adjective.      wicked - bad - ill - vicious - malign - sinister
noun.      harm - ill - mischief - wrong - disaster - wickedness

Evil. We have all supposed to know it, to be able to recognize it. We have described it, judged it and even tried to name it. Terrorism. Mass murder. Rampant greed. All are evil right?. But what about the less clear? Bullying. Regulation. Commerce. When does it cross the line from responsible to reprehensible?

What is your line in the sand? At what point do we have to stand up and refuse to cooperate with a system that perpetuates evil?

This week I have been thinking about some big issues: human trafficking, the privatization of our prison system and tax reform.

And each has ties to the most commonly cited “root” of all evil, money. So is money the root of all evil? Does absolute power absolutely corrupt? Or are there shades of grey? Have we as a society abdicated our responsibility to be the final arbiter of evil? Have we allowed the media to give us mindless justifications for evil?

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do think I have some ideas and that we need to understand how our values are being devalued by trivial and often irrelevant arguments that we allow the inane and accept the unacceptable.

Do you shop at a big box store? Do you support factory farming? Are you insisting your clothes be made without child or slave labor and your food be processed without toxic chemicals and more slave labor? Do you insist that the businesses you support provide a living wage and benefits to employees? Do you fight for equality for all and the protection of our way of life and national security?

I am sure most people think they do. You are being told constantly by media to buy more and think less. It is a constant barrage of bad messaging, from fracking is good to buying a car will make you rich and handsome to feeding your family processed food is healthy.

We have allowed private prisons to proliferate, basically sanctioning slave labor in this country. We ignore corporations who employ slaves and evade taxes, just so we can have cheap products. We allow ourselves to be castrated with hopelessness and helplessness while extreme factions push extreme extraction, insist we cannot regulate guns, but must absolutely allow trans-vaginal probes.

We can’t have equality for some. Equality is an all or nothing proposition.  I don’t get to pick who is equal anymore than Congress should get to pick and choose who follows basic safety regulations or pays taxes.  We are either all equal and therefore equally responsible, or we can stop kidding ourselves that we have any equality at all.
And this brought me to the conclusion that evil is prevalent when vigilance is absent. When I consider those things I consider evil, I see a correlation between a lack of education and transparency and their existence.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”
  Edmund Burke

And it is time for “we the people” to combat evil. To insist on some basic common sense regulation to stop people from sliding down that slippery slope.  We have the ability, and I am going to ask you to exercise it on May 1st. Join in the May Day Lobby Day. Meet with legislators, present them with draft legislation and insist they explain their position, or lack of position, on issues that matter to you.
We can no longer be one of the good people allowing evil to triumph. Are you ready? More information at, and on Facebook at National Women’s Party 2.0.


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Comment Preferences

  •  I have a very simple test for evil. (0+ / 0-)

    If the CIA is involved in it in any way, then I know it is evil.

    "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

    by Bisbonian on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:15:44 PM PST

  •  I have a small home-made plaque... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LanceBoyle, Bisbonian

    The quote is from "Mother Night" by Kurt Vonnegut.

    "There are plenty of good reasons for fighting," I said,
    "but no good reason to hate without reservation,
    to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you too."

    "Where is evil? It's that large part of every man who wants to hate
    without limits, that wants to hate with God its side.
    It's that part of every man that finds all kinds of ugliness so attractive."

    "It's that part of an imbecile," I said,
    "that punishes and vilifies and makes war gladly."

    All sane people detest noise. Mark Twain

    by Man Oh Man on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:24:24 PM PST

  •  Folly vs cruelty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Most of the suffering we inflict on others is done out of folly-- ignorance and short-sightedness. But there are also acts that can be considered evil, because they are committed from pure self-aware cruelty.

    The one true sin is cruelty.

  •  I'm Not Impressed That Biblical Concepts Have (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, Azazello

    been serving this country well.

    Any time a person harms others for pleasure, whether by physical torture or economic fraud, I'm happy to call it sociopathy and possibly other emotional or mental illness and deal with it aggressively to make it stop and to see that amends are made.

    The Yaweh-tainted judgements I've had enough of.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:58:51 PM PST

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