Where Does Evil Come From
Evil is not a force; it is a human value. There will be evil for as long as good people have faith in authority.
I bring this topic to your attention because I am tired of seeing good people allowing themselves to get screwed. I am tired of seeing good people, who out of ignorance and naiveté support the two worst criminal organizations in human history: the Church and the State. And I am especially tired of being victimized by these two organizations because the majority of Americans have such a strong faith in them that they willingly give them license to commit their crimes.
I am aware of the emotional attachment most people have to Church and State. And that is why life is more difficult than it has to be. No two organizations have done more to perpetrate evil than these two. For proof, just scan the history books. Common everyday crimes hardly merit the historian's attention.
I submit that the Church and the State are in business to sell protection; it is in their self interest to stimulate demand for their services by making life seem more threatening than it necessarily has to be. Once they have popular license to impose their remedies, those imaginary threats transform into real harms against some minority who innocently falls into their line sights.
While the majority feels comforted by this method of selective persecution, it is they who must share the guilt for these injustices. Though they may feel no sense of guilt, they still have to share the costs for these jihads in terms of money and personal liberty. The paradox is that by employing Church and State as a tool for making life safer and more certain, the majority has instead made it more dangerous and uncertain for themselves.
Religious and political authorities are obsessed with beliefs, because it maximizes their authority in the most cost effective manner. If they were limited to solving real problems, it would limit their authority. But by conjuring imaginary problems, they expand the limits of their authority. On a personal level, these people are control freaks who think they possess the knowledge to mold human nature.
Consider this. Religion has been around for thousands of years and it hasn't changed human nature one iota because its doctrine of sin virtually outlaws human nature. It's a perpetual business for as long as people subscribe to inherent evil. The view that life has no purpose without God serves the interest of the Church. The power to give life purpose lies within us, through knowledge and by living honestly and productively.
Through the course of American history, the costs of government have increased from about five percent to fifty percent of national wealth on a per capita basis. It is not because Americans have become more evil; it is because the lawmakers have been given popular authority to fabricate imaginary evils through the lawmaking process. It is the only form of business with captive customers.
Thomas Paine helped to initiate the American Revolution against England when he published "Common Sense". He wrote:
Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state and intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities are heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.
In "The Age of Reason", Paine wrote:
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish [Islam], appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it as I detest everything that is cruel.
The Nature of Evil
Evil can be defined as a form of aggressive behavior where a person or group imposes their values in a fraudulent, threatening or lethal manner. It is when ones' person, liberty or property is put at risk in a way that serves the self interest of the perpetrator. The burden of guilt always falls upon the initiator, and not upon the defender. This definition of personal responsibility applies universally; it doesn't make exceptions.
Self defense can be seen as a preventive measure. It doesn't need justification; it is inherent to life. In self defense, one's options range from escape to submission to repelling with equal aggression. (The gray areas between aggression and self defense, is beyond the scope of this article.)
Where the Church and the State pervert the meaning of self defense, is when act as a preemptive aggressor on the paranoiac supposition that something may happen. Anything can be demonized, if one is so inclined. By supposing humankind is naturally evil, they are virtually giving themselves license to attack anybody they don't like.
The argument that humankind is mostly evil comes from those monopolists of evil, the Church and the State. The earliest history of the State goes back about 5,000 years ago. Religion may go back about 25,000 years; it is hard to say. But the point is that archeologists trace the earliest humans back millions of years. If the bulk of humanity was as inclined to evil as the authoritarians say, it would have self destructed a long time ago.
Evil thrives when out of ignorance, faith, attachment or loyalty, individuals refuse to recognize it. Evil thrives when the majority actively supports the authoritarian's rules for social order.
On the surface religious institutions appear benign because they pose no physical threat. Their theology is simplistic and abstract, and comfortably familiar to so many. Faith blinds the eyes as well as the mind.
You will not find a reasonable explanation for evil from religious sources. Their excuse is to dump on some fictitious Satan because they want believers to accept God as benevolent. Give in to the devil's temptations and God will punish you. If you are religious, it is your fear of a judgmental God and his eternal prison in hell which motivates you to conform to the Church's dictates; violate Church law and you violate God's law. Surely, this is a form of terror that fits the definition of evil.
So let's dispense with this silly idea that there are evil supernatural forces lurking out there to lead the unsuspecting astray-the men who wrote the Bible were superstitious and mean spirited. Evil is not a supernatural force. It is a biological fact that our actions are generated from our personal thoughts. They have no relevance until we act on them. The argument that "the devil made me do it" won't do in a court of law.
If religion was founded upon moral principles, it would not have a history filled with war and persecution. It is more accurate to think of it as a form of socialism in the sense where the ruling elite's idea of social harmony is to instill a common belief system that puts them at the top of the pecking order. Whenever authorities fail in their quest, as they so often do, they resort to violence. And that is why religious violence has not abated in the Middle East since biblical days.
To make my point about the corruptive influence of religious dogma, here are some examples of some of the ways in which it dulls moral sensibilities.
Slavery: It is outlawed almost everywhere, yet all three monotheistic religions have this slave mentality: Don't question authority; just obey. The Church doesn't own humans in property sense, it owns them mentally.
Injustice: Jurists usually give serious attention to making sure an innocent man is not punished for a crime he didn't commit. Paradoxically, faithful Christians have been taught to be grateful because God murdered an innocent man to protect them. According to Jewish theology, the Supreme God elected them to be his chosen people. Considering what has happened to them over the centuries, it was a curse.
Violence: Jews are justifiably angered and saddened at the Nazi Holocaust; but at the same time, they celebrate Passover each year with no thought to the death and destruction inflicted on innocent Egyptians. Past centuries of persecution and religious wars should make Christians wonder if their Church doesn't have some other agenda.
Fraud: You would be upset if a merchant cheated you out of something you paid for. But as a religious person you take pride in your faith. I am always amazed at how believers are so programmed that they don't want to know or don't care to inquire if the Church is telling them the truth. They take pride in their faith as if the less they know, the more spiritual they feel. It is their determined ignorance which holds the seeds to the latent fear they have been conditioned to accept.
You can believe in an afterlife all you want, but when you are dead you can't get your money back for fraud. No matter how righteous and faithful you are, the theology is so contradictory that in total, every path to heaven is blocked. You can't even get to hell, no matter how hard you try. If you want hope, try the lottery; as bad as the odds are, at least they are not impossible.
If it restricted itself to defense, the State would be performing an essential moral service by protecting person, liberty and property from harm. Evil erupts when the State is given arbitrary authority to decide what those harms are. This is the point when it discriminates against other citizens it was assigned to protect.
When you give the State the power to impose force on someone else, you implicitly give it power to use against you. Throughout history, the centralized form of government has always been destructive. It is too much power to entrust because there is too much temptation for abuse. The good people in Nazi Germany learned that lesson the hard way.
By comparison, the business corporation works on the moral end of the spectrum. I would not argue that corporations are managed by angels, but at least they are kept in check by their dependency on profits. It is natural for them to create demand for their wares by marketing themselves in the public arena, but to the degree they fail to deliver, they will lose customers. For this reason profit seeking organizations are limited through voluntary trade with consumers. Consumers have more power over corporations than they realize. In the marketplace, they have a multitude of free choices.
But the State, with its monopoly privileges, has no competition. It has a legislature, a judiciary branch, a prison system, police, military and a bureaucracy to which no individual can defend against. Its interests lie in the arena of social control. All lawmakers have to do is create a new law and they automatically expand their authority. With this power, it can spend at will and force its citizens to pay the bills whether they want to or not.
When the State offers economic benefits, it gets its money by stealing it from someone else. It is not a charitable organization because charities are voluntary institutions. It is not an entrepreneurial organization because it is not dependant on profits. It is a monopolistic organization because it draws from the production of its citizens like a parasite lives off its host. Its power to spend is assured by its ability to collect taxes and manufacturing money.
Because the State has a monopoly on force, its lawmaking process has a natural tendency to foster division between classes. When it confers benefits on one class, it deprives the liberties of the opposing class. It turns the rich against poor and poor against the rich, the religious against the nonreligious and the nonreligious against the religious; majorities against minorities and minorities against majorities; employer against employee and employee against employer; nation against nation. The list is endless.
Government has grown to such a massive size, that today the cost of government consumes about six month's worth of wages. In effect, you are a slave for those months. Of the services you pay government for, about twenty percent pays for infrastructure and real protection. The other eighty percent goes to politically connected groups who feel they have a right to your paycheck. You are nowhere close to getting your moneys worth. Worse, most of what you pay is used against you.
The modern State has turned into a system of plunder. Its laws do not define standards of moral behavior; they define standards of social control. With evil, we are concerned with actions; the state is not exempt. Likewise, language does not change the nature of evil. Perhaps it is here when good people fail to see through the fog of language that they don't recognize evil. Take this test.
Democracy: Once a year you think you are king for a day when you walk into that voting booth. If you could change the world you would make it bend to your will.
Fraud: You wouldn't buy again from a merchant took your money and gave you nothing in return. But when you vote, you vote for the politician who promises reform. But once he gets in office, it's business as usual. And when election time rolls around again, you vote for him again.
Bribery and kickback: Certainly lawmakers need to know what is on the minds of citizens; it is formally known as the right to petition the legislature. Campaign contributions have a nice sounding name. But as much as lawmakers deny it, they are inclined to favor petitions printed on green paper.
Robbery: You would be upset if a stranger comes up to you with a gun and says, "Your money or your life". But when it is called taxes, you dutifully pay them under the same threat, because you believe it is necessary for the peace and security democracy affords you.
Spoils system: What the federal government steals it deposits in the U.S. Treasury. When you vote, do you vote on the basis of whatever monetary rewards will flow to you or your state?
Counterfeiting: Did you ever wonder what causes price inflation? When counterfeiting is done on a massive scale, the noticeable effect is to reduce the value of money, thereby inflating prices. But when government counterfeits by "monetizes the debt", you accept it as necessary to manage the economy.
Mass murder: Politicians are addicted to war and strife because it has proven to be the most effective way to expand their authority. The United States has more military power then every other nation in the world combined. To worry about some third or fourth rate nation imposing a personal threat is ludicrous. The scam is to scare the populace so they will give up their liberties for safety. Satan's lies have nothing on the political class.
As soon as you allow yourself to associate with someone or a group, to the point where they could do no wrong, then you are contributing to evil. You should hold them to the same standard of conduct you hold in your personal affairs. Until that day comes, if it ever does, we are going to have evil.
The people who are congenitally evil compose a small minority. It is when the mass of good people fail to recognize evil behavior that we have evil. If you are one of those types, blame yourself.