“Good People”

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I’ve mentioned my neighbor, the state cop, before. We know one another; I’ve been over to his house – and he to mine. He has an old bike – and we’ve hung out in our respective garages talking bikes (and cars). He seems to be a nice guy and probably is a nice guy … on this level. And yet, it is a near certainty he spends his workday committing numerous acts of petty and not so petty violence, “enforcing the law” without much caring – much less thinking about  – whether these laws are moral.good v. evil lead

Or so I must assume.

After all, he continues to enforce these laws –  and does not appear to have doubts or second thoughts about having done so.

The same mentality, in other words, as a German NCO in the Waffen SS who spent his workdays enforcing another era’s laws. Who went home afterwards to his wife and kids, whom he loved. Who had hobbies, waved to his neighbors. This disconnect is entirely common throughout the ages.

Like the German NCO, my neighbor is probably not a sadist who delights in his work. But he is very much a mindless automaton, just following orders.

He has told me so – openly.

I don’t write the laws, I just enforce them.

Or words to that effect. He said them with a shrug of indifference; just part of his day’s work.

This is one facet of the problem we face, which I’ll get into some more in a moment.

Also, I suspect that as regards some orders, my neighbor the cop strongly supports enforcement. Not in the sadistic sense. In the righteous sense. For example, while I doubt he’s a teetotaler with regard to the (currently) legal “drug” (alcohol) I am very confident (based on things he’s said to me) that he fully supports arresting and caging people at gunpoint, confiscating their assets and so on, who merely possess/imbibe/peacefully sell and exchange various currently not-legal “drugs.”

The irony is lost on him. The viciousness of the policy does not occur to him.omelettes

Und so weiter.

Remember Morpheus’ speech in the originalMatrix?

Most people are not evil in the conscious sense. They are unconscious of their evil. They believe the matrix (i.e., the system, “the law”) is moral – and will stridently (violently, if need be) defend it. They believe they are doing the right thing. Cops, especially, have an almost religious order fervor about them – and “religious” is precisely the right word. Blind obedience to authority – because it is authority.

It is interesting to note that the public is being conditioned to regard them in a religious sense as well. To worship the state’s uniformed corps (both civilian law enforcement and military). When one “falls” in the “line of duty,” North Korean-style funerary rites ensue. Comrade Ogilvy from Orwell’s 1984 comes to mind.

Most people regard “evil” in an almost cartoonish way. Funny costumes, odd haircuts and quirky mannerisms. Superficialities.

But it is much more subtle. It masquerades as good.

Very few people – cops in particular – consider themselves or their work to be evil. Even history’s great psychopaths – Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler – were not mmmuuuhahhaha!evil men, rubbing their hands together in orgiastic delight at the thought of the suffering and mayhem they caused.

Quite the opposite, in fact.voltaire pic

Both men – and most such men – honestly appear to believe they are doing good.

A “greater good,” certainly (the Thousand Year Reich for Hitler; world communism for Stalin), however many eggs it was necessary to break in order to make their respective omelettes.

But good “omelettes” (as they saw it) nonetheless.

It’s a very important thing to understand.

We are not fighting evil. We are fighting a warped, misdirected sense of good.

It manifests in countless ways. The liberal who honestly regards himself as the great benefactor of mankind, notwithstanding the violence he directs toward actual flesh and blood men. The conservative who honestly believes he is opposed to “big government” yet approves – often passionately – government interferences with the freely made choices of other people when he disapproves of those choices, even when no harm is caused him or any other plausibly actual flesh and blood victim .. not comprehending that by refusing to defend everyone’s freedom he has destroyed the only viable basis for defending anyone’s freedom.

Good – and evil – must therefore be redefined.

Or, rather, they must be honestly defined.plato's cave

What then is good? It is the rejection ofaggressive violence. A refusal to inflictharm. To accept that the only real good we can do in this world is the good that we do ourselves. With our own hands, our own resources – freely given. To accept that others may not see things our way and – so long as they are not doing us (or others) actual harm – to willingly leave them be.

Evil thus becomes self-evident.

It is aggressive violence. Inflicting harm. Causing pain. Imposing your “values” – and greater goods – on those weaker than yourself, using force. In sum, denying others their equivalent humanity. To place yourself in the superior position. To presume – to arrogate unto oneself – a kind of divine authority to rule.

It does not matter whether you are a “big king” or a “little king.” Evil consists in asserting kingship over others – whether wrapped in “divine right” or the ballot box.

My wish this Christmas is that people take a moment to reflect on the nature of good – and evil – and consider whether their actions comport with the former or the latter.

I believe that most people think themselves good; want to do the right thing. Are trying to to be good.

Here’s to hoping they succeed, someday.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

http://ericpetersautos.com/2014/12/19/good-people-2/

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One response to ““Good People””

  1. northwesternlocalist says :

    OCTOBER 18, 2007Isabel Paterson

    [Excerpted from The God of the Machine, 1943.]

    The Humanitarian with the Guillotine

    Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.

    This is demonstrably true; nor could it occur otherwise. The percentage of positively malignant, vicious, or depraved persons is necessarily small, for no species could survive if its members were habitually and consciously bent upon injuring one another. Destruction is so easy that even a minority of persistently evil intent could shortly exterminate the unsuspecting majority of well-disposed persons. Murder, theft, rapine, and destruction are easily within the power of every individual at any time. If it is presumed that they are restrained only by fear or force, what is it they fear, or who would turn the force against them if all men were of like mind?

    Certainly if the harm done by willful criminals were to be computed, the number of murders, the extent of damage and loss, would be found negligible in the sum total of death and devastation wrought upon human beings by their kind. Therefore it is obvious that in periods when millions are slaughtered, when torture is practiced, starvation enforced, oppression made a policy, as at present over a large part of the world, and as it has often been in the past, it must be at the behest of very many good people, and even by their direct action, for what they consider a worthy object. When they are not the immediate executants, they are on record as giving approval, elaborating justifications, or else cloaking facts with silence, and discountenancing discussion.

    Obviously this could not occur without cause or reason. And it must be understood, in the above passage, that by good people we mean good people, persons who would not of their own conscious intent act to hurt their fellow men, nor procure such acts, either wantonly or for a personal benefit to themselves. Good people wish well to their fellow men, and wish to guide their own actions accordingly. Further, we do not here imply any “transvaluation of values,” confusing good and evil, or suggesting that good produces evil, or that there is no difference between good and evil, or between good- and ill-disposed persons; nor is it suggested that the virtues of good people are not really virtues.

    Then there must be a very grave error in the means by which they seek to attain their ends. There must even be an error in their primary axioms, to permit them to continue using such means. Something is terribly wrong in the procedure, somewhere. What is it?

    Certainly the slaughter committed from time to time by barbarians invading settled regions, or the capricious cruelties of avowed tyrants, would not add up to one-tenth the horrors perpetrated by rulers with good intentions.

    (excerpt from . https://mises.org/library/humanitarian-guillotine

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