Why Evil People Live in Good Societies
Good and evil are often construed as relative terms. One of the most common lies in the upper levels of academia today is that truth is relative. One look at the head banner on my website will tell you that I believe otherwise. Indeed, truth cannot be relative, or it ceases to be truth.
The idea of good and evil is tied to the idea of truth. But what is an evil person? Isn’t it casting stones to label some people as evil? Yes it is, but that is not my point. Everyone is evil. Every single person, from the most deranged and evil criminals in prison to mother Theresa herself, is evil.
People are evil because they are capable of evil. No person will ever manage to be completely good for their entire life. You can probably think of someone who sees you as a villain or even the villain in their story.
If every person is evil, then, how do we know that some people are good? For example, I doubt very many people could call their mother evil. Most people would suggest that mother Theresa is a saint for a good reason. There are so many examples of ‘good’ people that the idea of evil man is uncomfortable.
The solution to this contradiction is that all humankind is evil, but humans can be trained to act in goodness. Evil people must learn to be good.
Society is no different. Society depends on the people who live in it. A society that depends solely on the people within it will become evil before long. The Athenian democracy is an example of a people who voted themselves into oblivion. James Madison warned against the fallibility of man in The Federalist Papers. “In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.”
In The Federalist No. 10 Madison warns against mobs who are “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
There is no such thing as a good person, only evil people who are taught to be good. There can be good societies, however. Good societies are devoted to the same principles that help evil people. A good society entrenches those principles, so that evil men are forced to abide by them.
Laws exist as a mold to form good citizens. A citizen who actively steals and kills is not a model citizen. Laws do not exist to inconvenience citizens, but to shape them into better people. The immutability of the societies’ values protect it against being corrupted by evil people. This is why any dying society will show the signs of moral decay and departure from tradition.
Rome was overrun by degeneracy before it collapsed, such that when it was finally sacked in the 5th century, it had already been dead for a long time.
The United States is based on Judeo-Christian values. These are the basis for law and the constitution. These ideas form the mold that make evil people better.
Evil people are inescapable. People who choose to be good are in constant danger of disappearing. Only widespread dedication to those values which better man are sufficient to preserve a society. The United States would do well to remember that.