July 30, 2005

"Nothing we're doing is evil."

How do you like that as a statement intended as reassuring? Does it hit you in an "I'm not a crook" way?

21 comments:

Menlo Bob said...

Why, er...yes it sounds like admitting guilt, but who said it. Without a link what are we supposed to do but imagine the worst traits of our unspoken enemy--the Kneivel family.

Robert said...

It would depend on the context.

I can certainly see this being said by someone in good faith, who means that whatever they're up to might not be some selfless act of altruistic love, but it's in the morally-acceptable range.

Or it could be someone whoi's skating perilously close to the line and knows it and is trying to Clinton their position.

Paul said...

Sounds like something Dr. Frankenstein said to the Police Chief.
Or my tennage daughter may have said when coming in late.
As opposed to the disarming, "What did we do wrong?"

Myron said...

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Read more at my blog
Far Right Wing

The madness of Socialism must be stop!

Tony Grant said...

I agree with menlo bob, interesting statement thou, hey check out www.lovesbible.com it's fresh and exciting.

Ann Althouse said...

Myron: That's an old story, which I blogged about back in January. Read the update on my post: the story isn't all it looks like from the article you read.

DirtCrashr said...

Google is dedicated to not doing evil, but it's a kind of a weird, contrapositive thing to declaim against what you're not doing as opposed to what you are, and sort of begs the question, what the hell are you doing?

purple_kangaroo said...

Kind of like "C'mon, you can trust me."

Richard said...

I don't think it sounds particularly bad, no. This would sound worse: "There is no evidence that anything we're doing is evil."

nk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Drethelin said...

I think it could work in the context of a speech against calling things evil. Ie, nothing the republicans are doing is "evil" any more than the democrats trying to do the same things (Ie win the election/whatever) is "evil". Calling either side evil is generally unconvincing to anyone but the convinced.

John Jenkins said...

Is this just a general question, or did the statement come up in a particular context. By itself, if it were intended to reassure someone having a crisis of conscience, then I suppose it might be meaningful. Then again, the class of not evil actions is not coextensive with the class of good actions so someone who wanted to do good might not be reassured.

Ann Althouse said...

John: Yeah, it actually came up in a context, but I'm not going to reveal what it was.

Ann Althouse said...

What I notice most about the statement is what a low standard the speaker is setting for himself. Someone could treat you pretty badly and still honestly say it wasn't evil.

BULLSEYE said...

The way I see it, this could be anywhere from truly enlightening to completely pointless and stupid.

John Jenkins said...

That opens up a whole new issue, what is evil? Does it require malice, or is it related to consequences, or both? It may not be that low a standard at all.

Some moral systems have only required and prohibited actions. In such a system, the statement could be taken to mean none of what we are doing is prohibited.

Of course, other moral systems have morally required actions, morally permissible actions, and morally impermissible actions. In that case, the speaker is only curtailing one class of actions, the morally impermissible.

By definition, morally permissible is not coextensive with morally required and if morally required is good, then morally permissible is neither good nor evil, but I hesitate as to how I might classify it (neutral perhaps?).

Pseudo-intellectual lunatic said...

intereting blog
thanks for the braintumor thingy

Daryl Herbert said...

Nothing myron is doing is evil.

Tristram said...

It does depend on context.

From a Christian perspective, this would in fact be a remarkable statement, as we believe only 1 person has ever managed that feat.

So this braggadicio strikes kind of hollow. And since lying / misrepresenting fact is evil, they seem to be losing credibilty faster and faster.

Ann Althouse said...

Tristram: You know who "they" are?

Ann Althouse said...

Or presumably, you mean "they" are the people who say things like this, and the statement already undermines the credibility of the speaker.