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Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. > Ambivilen > evil (07-05-04)
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Matt Griffith
6/28/04-Long Island City, NY

I’m against evil. I’m against it and I hate it.

Even the word on paper makes me mad: evil – the dirty little smile of the e; the sharp, stabbing point of the v; the i giggling shamelessly; and the simple, stupid tower of the l. Evil. The word is offensive to look at or to hear, and anyone who says differently can and will go straight to hell.

Evil. I myself am not evil, nor does any evil show itself through me. My wife is not evil, and my son is not evil. My neighbors are not evil, and neither are the people in my community. My country is not evil, and my God is not evil.

What is evil? Well, what is a tree? It is what it is; evil is evil. Evil is the fiery murder of thousands of innocent people. Evil is plotting and planning for years, training in secret camps, lurking and waiting for the perfect time to come out and kill. Evil is coming into someone’s house, enjoying his hospitality, and then exploding a bomb in his kitchen. That’s evil, clear and simple.

But that’s not the only evil. There’s another kind of evil, less obvious but even more dangerous. It’s the evil that shows itself through some of our own, people I call "explainers" because they cloud up the idea of evil with misleading explanations. No, it’s not hate…No, it’s not evil…It’s desperation…It’s living conditions…It’s poor people, turning to violence because they’re poor. <

This type of talk makes me want to throw up, or throw a fist. There are poor people all over the world. How many of them kill? How many of them raise money, train, and kill? Poor people may be poor, but evil people are evil, poor or not.

I'm a simple man. If it's a tree, don't tell me it's roots, leaves, and bark. What the hell are roots, leaves, and bark if not a tree? Do these people think evil is going to come right up and announce itself? Time to wake up and smell the real world. If some country sprang up and declared itself the United States of Evil, we'd blow the hell out of them and nobody would wonder if we're right. Of course times were easier when we had the Nazis and the Soviets, but in today's world evil can be hard to find. Evil hides out in countries where it knows the light of freedom and democracy won't shine and expose it. Evil is the disease, and the people in these countries are unlucky to have caught it. But isn't that even more reason to go in there and cut it out? If the patient dies during surgery, that's too bad. But isn't it better than letting the disease spread all over the world?

For a long time I was sure that the far Right was definitely "in the right" on the issue of evil, and I was planning to vote accordingly. But lately, with all the torturing that went on in that prison in Iraq, I haven't been so sure.

Are there evil people in America? Yes, there are. Does their evil always show? No, it doesn't. America is one nation that is thoroughly "under God". In America there are so many good and healthy spirits that even the evil ones are pressured into living productive lives (or becoming criminals). Iraq isn't even a nation. It's a collection of tribes, living without law or democracy, the way people did when the world was cold, dark, and dangerous. In America evil is contained. In Iraq it's set completely free, which is why we had to go in there in the first place.

So if one of the results of this war is that a few of our own people are exposed as evil, then that's just one more expense tacked on to the tab of freedom. We all saw the pictures, we all read the stories – those American boys and girls in that prison were evil, no matter how red, white, and blue-blooded their families were. Don't call them "a few bad apples" – call them evil. Some of our people are evil too – you have more, but we have some. And now that we know they’re evil, we’re going to cut them out, we’re going to take them away, we’re going to punish them with all the fury of God, and our society will be better for it. And that’s exactly what we’ll do for you. That’s what we should say.

What we can’t say is that these MPs did what they did because of circumstances. Sure they were watching their friends die, and sure they were being fired on every day, and every hour, and every minute. But if you call it circumstances instead of evil, what the hell is going to stop the explainers from saying the same thing for terrorists? Those Iraqis also get fired on every day – hell, they’ve got "infidel" soldiers storming into their houses. If you give the idea of circumstances a foothold, the damn explainers are going to have a field day. The threat of evil will be completely clouded, and the terrorists (lets call them what they really are: evilists) will win.

And while the Right has been losing its way, the Left has been catching on. Even the most bewildering explainers are eager to drop all that nonsense when it comes to the people they believe are evil. From their point of view, the top American leaders are squinting, smirking, greedy warlords. Architects of death and destruction, using the tragedy of September 11th to achieve their evil goals. And when asked what those evil goals might be, these people – after jumping through so many hoops to explain why the Arab world has turned to violence – have clean, simple answers: money (evil); oil (evil); American hegemony (evil). No suggestion that our leaders might be doing what they think is right. No hint that they might really believe this war is making the world a safer place for everyone. No explaining, no convoluted talk of "understanding". Maybe the bleeding hearts aren’t using the word "evil", but they’re definitely using the concept.

And that’s the most important thing. Evil – fear it, hate it, fight it. We may disagree about what is evil, or who is evil, as long as we agree that evil exists in our world, and that those who are evil are dedicated to killing everything that is good. Poverty has nothing to do with it; living conditions have nothing to do with it. Evil is evil. Let me say that again. Evil is evil.

But even though the idea of evil is as clear as day to us, there are still those who want to muck it up. These people think that if we give every terrorist a color TV and his recommended daily amounts of fiber and vegetables that he’ll turn in his machine gun and register to vote. They come out with such crazy, senseless arguments against the simple, strong concept of evil, you wonder how someone could work so hard to stay so confused.

But they do. And if we’re going to keep them from weakening the war against evil and delivering the world into chaos, we have to work at it. And so I want to leave you with some advice on how to keep the concept of evil alive in your own heart, as I do in mine.

Every night, as you’re lying in bed and your wife is falling asleep, repeat to yourself the word: Evil. Evil. Evil. Imagine evil arriving at your doorstep, strangers from far away countries invading your community, bombing your church, cutting off the heads of your neighbors. Evil. Take a look at your wife beside you, and imagine your children sleeping peacefully in their rooms. Now imagine these foreigners knocking down your door, raping your wife and beating your children, and setting a bomb in your living room that will leave your entire family broken and bloody. And in your dark bedroom say the word again. Evil.

I promise this to you: once you’ve seen evil coming into your home, you’ll want to join the fight the very next day. All the talk fades away and everything becomes crystal clear. Once you’ve really thought about it, you know that even though the world may seem complicated, evil is all the explanation you really need.

Matt Griffith

One Response to “evil”
  1. beckmann, on August 4th, 2004 at 2:17 pm, said:

    Evil is a conceptual value. All (abstract) values are subject to opinion; no one is greedy, no one is dumb, not even tall or fat. Nor evil. Its all a matter of the judgment of the spectator (all of us being human beings and accumulating, most of us tend to judge in same ways about many things). Someone else is for you the foreigner, while you are the foreigner for that person. Matt Griffith thinks subjectively, as if in anywhere but you could lie evilness or anyone but you could be judged to be evil. Its conceited, simplistic, and ignorant. Id say these are forms of evilness. And criticism isnt ;-)

    Jurgen de Mooij

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