Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tolerance of evil

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it." -- George Orwell, 1984

We're told that we shouldn't use certain words to describe people who do bad things. We're told that using these words is "intolerant". So if I wish to describe the KKK members who killed four little girls for the crime of being black... if I want to describe the bland bureaucrat who devised the "Final Solution" for the "problem" of European Jews... if I want to describe the people who call for or cheer the prospect of the death of fellow Americans... if I want to describe people who want to impose a religious theocracy where only their religion is allowed and non-believers must be registered as a "thought offender" in order to be ostracized and starved to death... if I use the proper word to describe these people -- EVIL -- I'm "intolerant"?

I have one thing to say about that: Damn straight I'm intolerant of evil. Tolerance of evil is the same thing as condoning evil. If someone wants to harm me or mine (and I count my fellow Americans as "mine" for this purpose), you're damn straight I'm going to be "intolerant", because any other choice is the same as condoning evil. And I want no part of that.

-- Badtux the Do-no-evil Penguin


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  2. Purple, so you are saying that Hitler would have been a good guy if he'd merely made the Jews wear the stars but prohibited any non-Jew from selling food to Jews, selling land to Jews, allowing Jews to buy land for them, etc., so that all the Jews starved to death? So genocide is fine as long as it's done indirectly rather than directly via bullets and gas chambers? Are you saying that it was right for most Southern businesses to refuse service to blacks back prior to the Civil Rights movement, because the Southern Baptist religion at the time taught that blacks were morally inferior and thus no good Southern Baptist would ever sell to or have any dealings with black people?

    So anyhow, there's one little principle that applies here: HURTING PEOPLE IS WRONG. The only time that a boycott is justifiable is when it's necessary in order to stop someone from hurting others. And if you'll point out how being an atheist is hurting others, I'll buy you a pizza. But not a Domino's pizza. Not because Domino's is run by a religious nutcase -- but, rather, because their pizza sucks.

    - Badtux the Golden Rule Penguin

  3. How the heck did Orwell write that book? Was it all techniques of oppression that he saw in a hundred historical regimes, researched and added together? Or was he *that* smart?

    It's a damned shame it's being used as a playbook by the GOP. The time may come when it will be banned, so the sheep don't know how badly they're being used.

  4. Nans, Orwell wrote that book while he was dying in 1947 and early 1948 as a result of what he'd seen observing Stalin's USSR, Nazi Germany, and the "Red Scare" then underway in the USA and UK that threatened basic civil liberties under the rubric of "necessary to keep the commies from taking over". He also was observing the Chinese Revolution then underway in China and correctly predicting that China would become a third leg in the three-way Cold War with occasional running water that was developing. Especially amazing is how he predicted the Korean War and Vietnam War and other such "proxy wars" breaking out.

    The book suffers from the speed with which it was written -- Orwell was dying, he knew he was dying, so he had little time to engage in things like character development. Thus the reason the characters are made of the finest cardboard and didactic monologues are all over the place. His other books, like Animal Farm, prove he could do better if he had time, but he simply didn't have time.

    Regarding banning the book, not necessary for those who are using it as a handbook, because Orwell made one mistake that will forever keep the majority from considering it as a serious predictive work. He was living in a time of great deprivation in Britain where most necessities were rationed because the nation was bankrupt and it seemed that life would get harder and colder every year. But reality didn't turn out that way, it turned out that the fight against global Communism led the capitalists to spread their wealth around to the general population such that the health and welfare of the general population greatly increased. Of course, now that Communism is gone as a threat to capitalism, the capitalists are taking it all back, so in the long term Orwell may turn out right after all... we'll see. But by that time so few people will be able to read due to the crumbling school system that banning books will be redundant.

    - Badtux the History Penguin

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  7. Boycotts are comparable to death camps and lynchings?

    I've read Tux's post three times now, looking for whatever might have prompted this statement. My conclusion: WTF?!?!

    What Pastor Mike is proposing is more along the lines is making someone into a pariah than of engaging in a boycott.

    Fred Phelps and his ilk haven't actually physically hurt anyone,

    Only physical harm counts then. I see. You might want to have that conversation with the family of a deceased service member whose funeral was disrupted by on e of Westboro's demonstrations.

    Evil is willfully causing harm (not necessarily physical) or cavalierly allowing harm to come to another human being (frex, collateral damage.) Boycotting a business is not causing harm to a person, because businesses are not people.

    The difference is not particularly subtle.

    Now I need a nap,

  8. You missed my point, Purple one. My point was that boycotts were justifiable IN ORDER TO PREVENT OR STOP EVIL (harm to others), but not IN ORDER TO CAUSE EVIL.

    As for the notion that the Phelps clan doesn't cause harm to other people, yes and no. They certainly cause much anguish to the families of military veterans and others that they harass, and they *would* cause harm, if we allowed them to -- they'd impose a theocracy upon America where gays would be killed, adulterers stoned, non-Christians would be sent to re-education camps to learn how to worship their new Lord and Savior, and other such nastiness would happen. So again, we're in the whole "prevent evil vs. be evil" thing. Being tolerant of evil -- of those who would do harm to others -- in the name of "tolerance" is the same as condoning evil, because it means that evil shall spread unchecked.

    - Badtux the "Evil is as evil does" Penguin


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