Good and Evil Never Went Away. But We Did.
The cold-blooded murder of hundreds of Israelis—men, women, children, and babies—by Hamas terrorists brought a universal outcry of shock and horror from the vast majority of Americans, whatever their politics.
There were exceptions, of course. Across the country were scattered rallies for Palestine. At Harvard University, the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) and 30 other student groups jointly declared that Israel’s “apartheid regime is the only one to blame” for the violence, but that show of solidarity fell apart when 500 Harvard faculty and staff and 3,000 students issued a counterstatement condemning the Hamas attack and blasting the PSC’s declaration. Some CEOs of major companies even threatened to refuse employment to those who had signed the letter condemning Israel.
For better or for worse, freedom of speech, as many have learned over the last three years, has consequences.
The same might be said for freedom from conscience.
In the past 20 years, the United States, directly or indirectly, has handed over billions of dollars to Palestine and Hamas. In addition, our country has given vast amounts of money to Hamas’s principal backer, Iran. In 2016, for example, the Obama administration shipped $400 million in cash in exchange for four prisoners. Inflation must be affecting the cost of ransom, for more recently the Biden administration agreed to release $6 billion in Iranian frozen assets in exchange for five prisoners. Release of that money has now been held up pending further investigation.
In addition, our government and corporations have spent the last several decades with their conscience in the meat locker regarding our relations with the Chinese Communist Party. Greed and our “go along to get along” policies have enriched a dictatorship that brutalizes its own citizens and is committing genocide on its Uyghur population.
In the past six months radicals have murdered more than 400 Christians in Nigeria, burned churches, homes, and entire villages, and looted essential grain supplies, leaving tens of thousands of people displaced. Meanwhile, anti-Christian tribesmen in Manipur, India, have destroyed some 5,000 buildings, including 400 churches, killed more than 100 people, and displaced 50,000 others.
Closer to home are corruption in our government, the trafficking in drugs and human beings at our border, and our lawless cities.
In short, we can find wrongdoing, or if you prefer, evil, from our backyards to the corridors of Congress to countries around the globe.
So, some questions are in order:
Is that Hamas terrorist simply the end result of a lifetime of Jew-hating propaganda? Would a psychologist attribute the viciousness of a drug lord on our border to a horrible childhood? Does the congressman who sells favors for cash tell himself that everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t he?
Or are these people just evil? That is to say, is there a rot in their souls that modern psychology can’t explain and therapy can’t cure?
How we answer these questions is important. If we decide the Hamas terrorists are products of their environment, then their deeds, however bloody and despicable, are comprehensible, and evil no longer factors into the equation. Adapt this approach and human beings are mechanisms, machines, which, when broken, must either be repaired or, if necessary, junked.
If, on the other hand, we view the terrorists as evil, they become creatures beyond our ken. This choice takes us away from classrooms and laboratories and puts us onto a battlefield as old as the human race: the war between good and evil.
Unmoored from our traditional Judeo-Christian moral code, and with the four cardinal virtues having been replaced by equity, false compassion, relativism, and autonomous individuality, our drifting culture has just received a wake-up call. Rudyard Kipling’s Gods of the Copybook Headings have once again returned with “terror and slaughter” to tell us that evil exists.
In the face of such evil, what are we to do?
We must cast aside the toy swords and plastic shields of today’s culture and forge our implements from the iron and steel of the past: We must grow in real virtue. We must speak out boldly for truth, refuting lies and bogus good will. We must raise our voices for the good, especially when we are surrounded by silence.
Do these things, hard as they may be, and we can pass the lamp of truth and virtue to our children, our friends, and our neighbors.
Image credit: Public domain