Has the rash of random violence overwhelmed a rational person's ability to integrate the evil? Aaron Hanscom writes an excellent commentary detailing examples of young people refusing to use condemning language for everything from Nazism to the Virginia Tech murderer (his name shall not be written) who killed 32 people in one day. Glenn Reynold's asks, "Is murder a victimless crime?" Even young people who should clearly know better get it wrong:
One wonders if Gutmann would have also found the humor in the Nazi costume Prince Harry wore to a party in 2005. Harry would have fit in perfectly in the class of one Harvard University professor, who has described his shock upon learning that the majority of his students didn’t believe anybody was to blame for the Holocaust. He referred to his students’ attitude about the past as “no-fault history.”There are whose answer to the world's evil is to simply pretend it doesn't involve them. It is a supremely selfish perspective and an unthinking one. Some other acquaintances cannot or will not concede that evil exists.
How convenient! If evil doesn't exist, then there is no reason to fight injustice or wrong. It's really a perfect world view. It requires nothing of the believer and offers absolution for cowardice.
Changing the terms, defining down makes a society where no heinous action is condemned and may even be extolled:
Apparently murder isn’t even enough to retire the usage of the diminutive form of the murderer’s name. In fact, the reporter also referred to Hawkins as “Robby” when asking the friend questions like “What are you thinking about now that you know that Robby was involved in this shooting?” (The word “commit” can’t be used by the nonjudgmental.) It’s hard to disagree with talk show host Dennis Prager when he makes the case that such rhetoric is symbolic of society’s inability to make moral condemnations. But aren’t some crimes so horrific that everyone should abhor them?The answer to the last question is "no". To abhor would be to judge and that would be wrong. The murderer simply acted the way he did because it made sense to him at the time. Our job is to understand his motivation so we can help little future murderers choose more helpful behavior.
Just when I think America is more cohesive than the media would have us believe, an article like this comes out. The divide in America may indeed be moral. Will every one of these relativistic people have to have a friend or family member raped, killed or dismembered to know evil exists? Or will they stay in the soft comfort of amorality even then?
Update: It occurs to me that the reason people deny evil exists is based in narcissism. These people don't want anyone telling them that what they're doing is morally repugnant or wrong, so they refuse to condemn any behavior no matter how heinous. The guiltless murder is all about them. This short-circuits empathy. It short-circuits the impulse for justice.
This doesn't bode well for the future. Wars started to end justice or for self-preservation will be forgone in favor of comfort food, entertainment and whatever self-centered pursuit is trendy.
The future won't be good men doing nothing. The future will be filled with amoral men doing nothing. There will just be a sliding scale of bad.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." [Edmund Burke]We need a more than a few good men.