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View Diary: "Secession by another means" Bill Moyers (223 comments)

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  •  I could see their being an evolutionary logic (3+ / 0-)

    to that kind of dichotomy, up to a point. I don't buy that there's a genetic component, though. You can't convince me that there's a nature component that overrides the nurture component of creating evil.

    However, I don't find it totally implausible to say that there's potential social value to evil. We're the richest nation in the world off of a lot of people's backs. I might not prefer that economies all over the world are plundered to benefit me, but I probably do benefit nonetheless.

    I'm certainly not an anthropologist, though, and I don't want to derail.

    •  Calling it evil seems unproductive to me. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, StrayCat, lotlizard

      I prefer to think of it as a strong, self-determined sort of personality that tries to organize human societies into empires for themselves to control.

      Empires, historically, produce vast amounts of wealth, science and technological progress.  It's just that they also tend to be very destructive to people not in the beneficial ruling class of the empire.

      •  So, you deny that some behaviors are evil? nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi

        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

        by hestal on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 05:14:42 AM PDT

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        •  What's at issue is not a few bad apples. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mary Mike, lotlizard

          Vilifying the opposition party is how the Republican party got off track anyway.  In civil political discussion, evil has pretty much no place.

          •  But you do agree that some behaviors are evil? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Chi, mkor7, Gorette

            You seem to be evading my question. You seem to want to switch the topic to how to persuade the evil doers to become good doers. That is another topic for another time. But in order to win such a discussion and to get the bad guys to do good things, one must first accept that there are genuinely bad guys. Otherwise one would naively be playing into their hands. They would constantly make and break promises to you, right?

            Another way of thinking of this problem is to think of man-eating tigers. They are beautiful and dangerous at once. They are products of evolution just as we are. We cannot persuade them to stop eating men, so we have to find another way to control them. Killing them does not seem fair, so we want to find another way to keep them from killing us.

            I have written my book to propose a way to control the tyranni among us.

            Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

            by hestal on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 05:32:51 AM PDT

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            •  Evil isn't a term I like to use. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lotlizard

              Sure, serial killers and the like are something close to evil.

              A politician serving a wealthy elite class may look evil to you because they defund programs the poor need to survive day-to-day.  But from their perspective, the poor will learn how to adapt and the general economic boost their policies provide will make everyone (including the poor) more prosperous.

              I'm not willing to call that evil.  You don't have to be willing to harm other people in order to accidentally cause harm.

              You don't have to be a monster to be misguided.  Calling that evil precludes the possibility to talking to someone who espouses such a view, and negates the possibility that they will ever come around.

              •  Wow! (0+ / 0-)

                You still don't want to admit that evil is a real part of human nature. But you are not alone. You are a democratus. You work for the common good, but you are misguided, and you give the other guys, the bad guys, the benefit of the doubt. You have this mistaken belief that they can be reformed and that is just not so.

                There are examples of reform. Teenagers who get caught up in criminal behavior are often reformed by the juvenile justice system, and that is a very good thing. But they are democrati who have fallen into evil, tyranno, behavior. Once they are given a chance to see the difference between good and evil and once they are given encouragement, they don't reform they just start doing what comes naturally to them.

                But, on the other hand, the same juvenile justice system fails more often than it succeeds. In these failures tyranni are already doing what comes naturally, and no amount of persuasion, no amount of good examples, and no amount of punishment will reform them. They are tyranni and they also do what comes naturally to them.

                That is the way the world works, and there is nothing that you or I can do about it. By giving the bad guys the benefit of the doubt we will often be played for suckers. And if we keep doing it, they we will actually be suckers.

                BTW, how do you explain that the brains of sociopaths are different from the brains of non-sociopaths?

                Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

                by hestal on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 05:56:39 AM PDT

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                •  Brains are incredibly complex. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mary Mike, terrypinder, lotlizard

                  Environment, culture, genetics, etc..

                  There's a lot of factors that influence the development of the brain.  I'm no expert at this sort of thing and I don't pretend to be.

                  Also, if the theory you have about juvenile reform holds true, I would expect that recidivism rates for juveniles to not vary by country or by culture.

                •  Evil is an adjective, not a noun. Acts can be (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  hestal

                  evil, as can motives and intent.  Some benignly motivated acts result in evil consequences or circumstances.  Maybe your Tyranni are just socially successful psychpaths.

                  Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                  by StrayCat on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 06:23:33 AM PDT

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                  •  Actually evil is a noun as well as an adjective. (0+ / 0-)

                    You can look it up in the dictionary.

                    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

                    by hestal on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 02:19:24 PM PDT

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                •  What is your scientific field, hestal? (3+ / 0-)

                  Because your explanations are muddled from an anthropological or even an ev psych perspective.

                  "Evil" is a culturally specific category. The behavioral dispositions you're talking about would far predate the emergence of language and culture (even Wilson, also muddled, would say our best evidence of behavioral disposition in the present comes from other primates).

                  All human individuals (all primates, indeed) are organically capable of aggression, and many primates besides humans seem capable of deception, in pursuit of reproductive advantage.  But to go from that to "evil" requires a moral framework, which requires culture, which puts its emergence in the relatively recent past and makes it subject to historical and developmental variation.

                  •  Talk about muddled.... nt (0+ / 0-)

                    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

                    by hestal on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 04:52:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Why please do talk about it (0+ / 0-)

                      And you never answered my question.

                      In what field is your phd?

                      •  How obnoxious. You are just aching to (0+ / 0-)

                        tell us all what yours is, so go ahead, we are all waiting with bated breath.

                        Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

                        by hestal on Sun Oct 13, 2013 at 02:16:11 PM PDT

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                        •  You (0+ / 0-)

                          go prattling on about a scientific subject about which you are wholly ignorant in my opinion, citing pop science texts and simplified versions of evolutionary theoretical arguments utterly out of scientific context to make a confused ideological point, and back it all up by claiming you've written a "book" on this silly theory of Teh True Evilz. The science you do cite is selective, muddled, and/or obsolete.

                          Yes, I do have a phd. That wasn't my point. I want to know what field your expertise is actually in before I bother to debate you on the basics of evolution.

                          "Evil" is not a thing found in nature. That's where you are going off the rails, trying to squeeze your moral argument into a biological box.

                          You sure are defensive, though. Always a good sign of someone who knows they don't know enough to argue the facts.

          •  Morality has no place in politics? n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  And ultimately, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hestal
        It's just that they also tend to be very destructive to people not in the beneficial ruling class of the empire.
        destructive to themselves.

        "Where do we go from here, chaos or community?" - MLK

        by Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 05:56:12 AM PDT

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      •  I believe there are evil (7+ / 0-)

        human beings, where it comes from is up for discussion, which is what's happening here.

        Another good book on this is Scott Peck's "People of the Lie."

        "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

        by StellaRay on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 08:35:05 AM PDT

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    •  See my response downthread. nt (0+ / 0-)

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 05:12:05 AM PDT

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    •  Nature and nurture work together to produce (0+ / 0-)

      adult human beings, and there is a name for that process. It is called evolution--Evolution by Natural Selection to be precise--Charles Darwin's theory.

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Sat Oct 12, 2013 at 05:17:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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