May 26, 2017

"It’s good to normalize evil, in the sense of showing how otherwise 'normal' people and institutions can perpetrate evil acts..."

"... and every attempt should be made to do so. That’s how you prevent more evil from happening in the future."

Ah! I chose to blog this before I noticed the author, Jesse Singal. He's good!

He's writing about the reaction to that Atlantic article "My Family's Slave" (by Alex Tizon). Some people said that article shouldn't have been published. Example of the objection: "I am filled with nothing but anger and hatred at the vileness of the attempt by Alex Tizon to whitewash a slaveholder. No. FUCK! NO!"

Singal says:
In fact, it’s a common reaction just about any time a journalistic account of evil people or evil acts includes nuance and texture. Back in 2013, for example, some people were furious at Rolling Stone for running a cover image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in which the Boston Marathon bomber looked like… well, a normal kid. A handsome one, even. Some of the critics accused Rolling Stone of giving him the “rock star” treatment.

This “you’re normalizing evil!” critique didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now.

82 comments:

Gahrie said...

This “you’re normalizing evil!” critique didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now.

Especially when the Left is so busy labeling normal behavior and ideas as evil.

Fen said...

"anger and hatred over white washing a slave holder. FUCK NO!"

Lighten up Francis. It's silly to judge the past by today's standards. Cultures evolve. See, while we view slavery as evil, back in the day it was the status quo, socially accepted. Oppsed only by a small minority of religious zealots.

Kind of like abortion today.

Do you tolerate abortion? It's closer to the immorality of slavery than you think - treating others as subhuman nonpersons. When they write your biogrsphy, would it be fair to dismiss all the good you accomplished in your life simply because you allowed abortion to exist?

Hagar said...

I wonder what this Josh Shahryar character would make of the stories of Robert and James Hemings traveling around the country - in James' case, even in Europe - on their own as "free" Blacks, but returning to Thomas Jefferson as "slaves" whenever he called for one or the other to come home.

Fernandinande said...

That’s how you prevent more evil from happening in the future.

I hope there's some data in that post. ..... no?

Jesse Singal. He's good!

Disagree based on some of his output here, particularly this bit of anti-science incompetence or dishonesty:

The meta-analysis identifies 18 genomic regions associated with intelligence, and candidate genes that are highly expressed in the brain. The associations, the study suggests, could explain up to 4.8% of the variance in intelligence across these cohorts.

That means about 95 percent of the intelligence differences in these samples, at least as measured in this manner, did not come down to the genes the researchers examined, which leaves plenty of room for those concerned with environmental influences."

Nope. The paper also stated that IQ was 80-89% determined by genes. Singal's not good at all.

Kevin said...

Normalizing evil will become yet another reason to limit speech.

tcrosse said...

Hannah Arendt pretty much covered this ground in "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil".

robother said...

Hannah Arendt was the first prominent victim of this critique. Her phrase "the banality of evil" capturing the essence of Eichmann's character as a bureaucratic organization man makes the same point (as did her pointing out the role of Soros-type cooperators in rounding up and keeping Jews orderly).

But the Narrative needed all Nazis to be portrayed as embodiment of Pure Evil, totally different from, say, the well-intentioned but unfortunate egg-breaking of Stalin. So Arendt became a pariah in her last years for the New Yorker piece.

hombre said...

I haven't read Tizon's article, but Singal's was excellent. In our "progressive" society discernment is regularly displaced by self-righteousness.

Fernandinande said...

The paper also stated that IQ was 80-89% determined by genes. Singal's not good at all.

It's in plain view in the first paragraph of the study, so I vote for "anti-science dishonesty" on the part of Singal:

"Despite the well-known difference in twin-based heratiblity2 for intelligence in childhood (0.45) and adulthood (0.80), we show substantial genetic correlation (rg = 0.89, LD score regression P = 5.4 × 10−29)."

Fen said...

But Signal is still wrong. I can give him the benefit of nuance because of our of touch paywall..

... but we need to stop publishing the names of mass murderers - they crave attention and notoriety (much like coughtrollscough), and we certainly shouldn't be glamorizing them on the cover of GQ or that Rag Formerly Known As Rolling Stone.

Terrorism is not edgy hip sexy or cool.

Inga said...

"I really mean this; I really mean you and your family and everyone you love — could, in a different historical context, have been a slaver or a Holocaust-perpetrator or at the very least decided it wasn’t worth the trouble to contest these grotesque crimes. Because that’s the human condition: We don’t have easy access to a zoomed-out view of morality and empathy. We do what the people around us are doing, what our culture is doing. Tizon’s Filipino family came from a place where a form of slavery was quite common, and moving to America didn’t change that fact."

All the more reason that people who do see the evil speak out against it. Point of out. Decry it. Don't normalize it within your own community. Don't be complacent and lazy. The author has a point, but he also misses the point that within every society there are those that see evil being done and recognize it for what it is. We see people in our own society today making excuses for evil or bad acts, twisting themselves in pretzels to turn and evil or bad act into something more acceptable, something benign. When there aren't enough people in the society to go against the tide of acceptance of evil, the society in in deep trouble.

Inga said...

Also, don't enable the enablers of evil.

Lyssa said...

I don't think that the comparison to Rolling Stone works, because the objection was not that he was presented as normal, but that he was glamorous and attractive (the opposite of normal, to some degree). Otherwise, I agree. I've often said that about Hitler - we shouldn't treat his historical place as being the unique actions of a single monster. He was a man, and this is what some men, in some circumstances, can be capable of.

CJinPA said...

"I am filled with nothing but anger and hatred"

This points to the real debate, not whether 'normalizing evil' is right or wrong. The question is: Can displays of rage be enough to curtail speech? Are there stories that cannot be told and thoughts that cannot be expressed merely because technology has allowed the masses to communicate genuine or manufactured rage?

Lyssa said...

Fen said: It's silly to judge the past by today's standards. Cultures evolve. See, while we view slavery as evil, back in the day it was the status quo, socially accepted. Oppsed only by a small minority of religious zealots.

Just for the record, the article wasn't about the past, or at least, not the distant enough past that this was socially acceptable in American culture - the family immigrated here, with their slave, in the 1960's.

Everyone should read the article - it is really very good.

Ann Althouse said...

"Lighten up Francis. It's silly to judge the past by today's standards. Cultures evolve. See, while we view slavery as evil, back in the day it was the status quo, socially accepted."

Read the Atlantic article. It's about events that begin in 1943.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't think that the comparison to Rolling Stone works, because the objection was not that he was presented as normal, but that he was glamorous and attractive (the opposite of normal, to some degree)."

The image drew you in and therefore forced an uncomfortable confrontation with his humanity.

MadisonMan said...

It's easier to get angry at the Atlantic Article or the Rolling Stone cover than to acknowledge that you yourself could do the same reprehensible things given a slight push here or a nudge there.

Humans are only conditioned to be altruistic. It might not take much for that conditioning to be stripped away. That is a scary thought to some.

Larry J said...

robother said...

But the Narrative needed all Nazis to be portrayed as embodiment of Pure Evil, totally different from, say, the well-intentioned but unfortunate egg-breaking of Stalin. So Arendt became a pariah in her last years for the New Yorker piece.


I knew a man (now deceased) who was a survivor of Buchenwald. He told me that while the guards were thugs of the worst sort, the camps themselves were designed by highly educated architects. Those high-volume crematoria at several of the camps had to be specially engineered to handle the load. It wasn't just the brutal SS guards that was responsible for the Holocaust, it was also those architects and engineers, among others. He was an American pilot who, along with about 167 other Allied airmen, had the misfortune of being captured by the Gestapo after being shot down. He fully credits a German Luftwaffe officer, Hannes Trautloft with getting them transferred from Buchenwald to a regular POW camp, saving all but two of their lives. Those two were too sick to be moved and died in Buchenwald.

Expat(ish) said...

I am working my way through a fairly well written book called "Slaves in the Family" (Edward Ball) and one of the interesting things was the (white) authors attempt to paint as plan a picture as he could of his ancestors, and to do a certain amount of self examination of his own motivations in writing the book.

The reaction of the black people he interviews is fascinating as well - it really ranges from disinterest to engagement. Lots of the book feels like the 1960's, frankly.

-XC

PS - My LA and TX relatives were either (a) too poor to own slaves or (b) not in the country when all that was going on.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's what I said at the time of the publication of the photo of Dzhokar Tsarnaev:

-------------------------

"Look at this Boston bombing. The pictures of those two brothers. Aren’t they cute?"

Said I, as quoted in The New Yorker today in a piece by Paul Bloom called "The Dzhokar Tsarnaev Empathy Problem." I was being sarcastic and criticizing the media for using a strikingly baby-faced picture of Tsarnaev in practically every report.

Bloom concludes:

"Relying on the face might be human nature—even babies prefer to look at attractive people. But, of course, judging someone based on the geometry of his features is, from a moral and legal standpoint, no better than judging him based on the color of his skin. Actually, both biases reflect the parochial and irrational nature of empathy—if Tsarnaev were black, would he evoke the same response from the mothers [Hanna Rosin described here]?

"When someone talks about the warm feelings she has for Tsarnaev because of his sweet face, we should treat this with the same wary understanding that we would give to someone who admits to caring more about those who have the same color skin. It’s an empathetic response, and a natural one, but hardly one to be proud of."

Bloom says nothing about the baby-faced picture of Trayvon Martin that the media tended to use. Sweet faces manipulate us emotionally even when they are black. And an individual's face isn't quite the same as his skin color, because the mind is revealed through the face (albeit incompletely and often deceptively). Bloom displays the media's favorite photo of Jared Loughner and declares that we don't feel much empathy toward that face. But the problem with that face is not inborn ugliness. It's craziness in the expression. We are properly repelled by that.

It is the true sociopath — I would suggest — whose does evil things but keeps a normal-looking face. We need to challenge ourselves to recognize the sociopaths in our midst. And let's not try to overcome our aversion to faces like Loughner's or Adam Lanza's. These people have terrible problems that we ignore at great risk.

Inga said...

Where are the people who expect immigrants to assimilate to our society? Does this expectation apply only to some immigrant groups, but are more willing to let other immigrant groups cling to their old society's ways and not hold them accountable? The apologetic stance the author makes for this family who kept a slave is a way normalizing those who bring their evil acts here to this country. We fight back against immigrant groups that bring their previous societies sicknesses here, rightfully so. They should be expected to conform to our laws. Slave holding is illegal, as is other cultural baggage from other various other cultures. Let's hold all immigrant groups to the same standard.

Gahrie said...

Wait...someone is calling a culture evil? And it's not the American culture? I thought that wasn't allowed? What happened to multiculturalism?

I mean just because some cultures want to preserve slavery...who are we to judge?

Just because some cultures throw gays off buildings and stone rape victims to death...who are we to judge?

YoungHegelian said...

There's this idea on the post-Marxist Left, an idea seems to be a corrupt remnant of Christianity, that good intentions guarantee good acts. That's why hypocrisy is such a sin for them. You see, all those righties really aren't interested in liberty, restriction of governmental power, etc. They just pretend in public. But, in private, it's all about keepin' the n****rs down. That's what righties really think.

Thus, for the Left, the Right has evil intentions that are the root of its evil acts. They, on the other hand, have nothing but good intentions, mostly for the "marginalized", & from these intentions come only good acts.

Not for the Left is the moral world of Greek tragedy, where moral demands are in conflict with each other even in an individual. Even less so is the moral world of Christianity, where all of man's intentions & acts are corrupted by sin, & neither are trustworthy as arbiters of righteousness. If were to say to a moral man of the Hellenistic world or a Christian that the sure way to create Hell on Earth is to try to create Heaven, both would understand. That statement to a modern Lefty is a repudiation of his fundamental moral worldview.

Fernandinande said...

tcrosse said...
Hannah Arendt pretty much covered this ground in "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil".


The article was fluff, perhaps appropriate for 8 year-olds who've been watching too many superhero vs supervillian cartoons, and for other journalists.

Ann Althouse said...
The image drew you in and therefore forced an uncomfortable confrontation with his humanity.


The purpose of a magazine cover is to increase the number of magazines sold from grocery store checkout-line racks.

Hagar said...

The situation Mr. Tizon describes was quite common in the American Southwest probably right up to WWII. See f. ex. Delvina Maxwell, etc. in the old days, but the old days lived on for a long time.
An American Indian friend assured me that the Indian slave market at Taos did not die out until about 1930.

tcrosse said...

The article was fluff, perhaps appropriate for 8 year-olds who've been watching too many superhero vs supervillian cartoons, and for other journalists.

I referred to the book, not to the article, but thanks for sharing.

Jack Wayne said...

I don't see how normalizing or de-normalizing evil has any effect whatsoever. People do not really learn from history. Their lives are too short. Assuming we will dominate this planet for as long as dinosaurs - about 150 million years - what are the chances that we will have a thousand holocausts or even a million? The thought that we can fight evil is so banal it's not worth the time thinking about it that it takes to write this post.

Nonapod said...

I sometimes wonder if there's things we all do today that will one day be considered monstrously evil by the vast majority of humanity. I mean, according to PETA we're committing horrific crimes against chickens and cows with factory farming. And I assume at some point in the near future we'll pretty much end all that thanks to lab grown meat and what-not.

Fen said...

Thanks Lyssa. I'm getting a weird pop up so I wrongly assumed the Atlantic article was likewise paywalled. Will try again.

And it's good to see you. I've missed your concise points and sound logic. You are one of the few who can flip me.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse describes him as “a hot-looking young man.” "

That was in The New Yorker.

Yikes.

I don't even remember saying that. It wasn't written, but spoken (on Bloggingheads). I don't think I'd write "hot-looking." Yeesh.

Big Mike said...

@tcrosse, so what's the difference between the banality of evil versus the normality of evil?

hombre said...

Inga 10:03: "All the more reason that people who do see the evil speak out against it. Point of out. (Sic.) Decry it. Don't normalize it within your own community. Don't be complacent and lazy."

All right, Inga! Here's lots of evil. Decry it!

Jihad activity for April, 2017:
Attacks 165
Killed 1336
Injured 946
Suicide Blasts 30
Countries 25
Source: Thereligionofpeace.com

And Ramadan, the month of fasting and blasting is just beginning.

Unknown said...

We lived in Hone Kong for 12 years and had a live in Filipina maid - every expat had one, as did most upper class locals. Of course ours was a very different situation: HK laws stipulate minimum wages, health care, home leave and retirement funds for maids.

When my daughter went to college in the US, her roommates were dumbfounded. “You had a slave?”

Quayle said...

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said after spending years in Siberia in a Russian prison camp pondering such questions: the line between good and evil does not dissect races or classes or religions or nationalities. Rather, the line between good and devil dissects each person's heart.

In other words, we all normalize evil when we harbor evil in our hearts, or suppress the goodness in our hearts, or, to some extent, I suppose, when we refuse to believe that such a battle is actually going on within each of us.

Quayle said...

Let's put this in proper context, shall we:

Muslims in the world (est.) 1.5B
Jihad activity for April, 2017:
Attacks 165
Killed 1336
Injured 946
Suicide Blasts 30
Countries 25

Kevin said...

We fight back against immigrant groups that bring their previous societies sicknesses here, rightfully so.

And we should bar those from coming here who aren't interested in leaving them behind? And we should more strenuously vet those whose previous societies contain such sicknesses?

Careful how you answer or you'll be labeled racist and phobic.

mockturtle said...

Yes, we are all capable of great evil. But there are evil ideologies, the followers of which are particularly prone to evil. Like Nazi Germany and radical Islam.

Michael K said...

I finally read the Atlantic article. My impression had been that she was a poor relative. Well she was a very distant cousin but the treatment of her was pretty bad. I don't know much about Filipino culture transplanted here but they treated her very poorly.

I grew up with a black nursemaid caring for us kids but it was nothing like that. She was a treasured member of the family. When we were older she had her own apartment in Hyde Park and my sister cared for her until she died at 95.

mockturtle said...

The Muslim world and Western civilization are incompatible. Western liberals suppose that Muslims will embrace democracy. Muslim leaders suppose that Western liberals will roll over and play dead. GUESS WHO'S RIGHT???

tcrosse said...

@tcrosse, so what's the difference between the banality of evil versus the normality of evil?

Within the context of this thread, normalizing evil means "showing how otherwise 'normal' people or institutions can perpetrate evil acts". If I read Arendt correctly, the banality of evil means that otherwise 'normal' people can perpetrate evil acts, i.e. they do not require horns, hooves, and a pointy tail. As for 'normality' of evil, that's another story, because I don't know precisely what you mean by it. Your mileage may vary.

n.n said...

Exactly. perpetual smoothing functions. spiritual destruction. [class] diversity. scientific mysticism. anti-nativism. selective child. elective wars. redistributive change and survivors. Pro-Choice.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Inga 10:03: "All the more reason that people who do see the evil speak out against it. Point of out. (Sic.) Decry it. Don't normalize it within your own community. Don't be complacent and lazy."

A woman at the Manchester concert noticed a Muslim woman acting suspiciously. She reported that to security and was berated for her "bigotry." "How would you like it if people said that about you?" A few minutes later the bomb went off.

A Muslim woman has now been arrested in connection with the bombings although we don't know if it is the same woman the concertgoer tried to warn security about.

At any rate, it sort of blows holes - literally - in the odd belief you seem to hold about Muslim women and children somehow not being terrorist threats.

The same thing happened in San Bern. Neighbors thought there was something fishy going on with the terrorist couple but nobody dared report them. Didn't want to be labeled "Islamophobic." And so people died.

How do you speak out against evil if the authorities (and liberals) then condemn you for being racist? Everyone who points out the violence of Islamic culture here gets called a bigot by you.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Althouse said: I don't think I'd write "hot-looking." Yeesh.

No, that was Titus.

Other Boston area residents might use a different description.

Michael K said...

"Everyone who points out the violence of Islamic culture here gets called a bigot by you."

Yes and it is even worse in Europe.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Michael K said...
"Everyone who points out the violence of Islamic culture here gets called a bigot by you."

Yes and it is even worse in Europe."

Author Robert Spencer, an authority on Islam, recently gave a speech in Iceland warning of the threat. After the speech, two leftists approached him in a restaurant and poisoned his drink. He got sick, but didn't die. He said he has no doubt the left would have be delighted if he had.

They certainly wouldn't have shed any tears if Pamela Geller had been shot in Texas.

The Left, like the Muslims, is no longer interested in debate. They just want people to shut up and they are now prepared to kill you if you don't.

sparrow said...

FWIW I think they are minimizing evil. The impluse to demonstrate the universal brokeness of humanity is just a restatement of original sin. I expect that their presentation excuses or at least minimizes evil rather than provoking introspection that should lead to humility (ie the Christian route). The term normalize implies acceptance, at least socially. Evil may be normal but it is to be resisted. Civilization is uphill: barbarism and hedonism are dowmhill (ie the way to perdition is wide ...)

tcrosse said...

"Islamic culture is insensitive to the needs of women, minorities, and the LGBT community." Discuss.

Jupiter said...

"Humans are only conditioned to be altruistic. It might not take much for that conditioning to be stripped away."

That seems highly unlikely. If by "altruistic", you mean, "concerned with the welfare of others", humans could not survive without this trait. It must be genetic. I would suggest that concern for the welfare of others begins with family, and then extends to clan or tribe.

That is why the Left hates the family. To the extent that they are sincere, they believe that the level of concern we have for family members should extend to all of humanity. Of course, they aren't very sincere. They mostly just hate any human attachment that cannot be turned to their uses. And, I think, they hate above all the idea of human nature. The idea that people are not infinitely malleable. That's why they get themselves all tangled up in this nonsense where "gender" is simultaneously the most important aspect of human identity and a trivial, artificial "social construct" with no significance at all.

Snark said...

Society is really the thinnest veneer. People think that "evil" exists somewhere outside of themselves, outside of their family, their friends and their neighbours. History and social science has shown us otherwise so many times. I've come to believe that basic goodness and moral courage are often not enough, and that it's the people who have personalities that comfortably and even instinctively resist authority, often to their own detriment in ordinary situations, who are the least likely to get swept along. The Milgram experiments are fascinating, and worth a look for anybody that hasn't run across them.

Rusty said...

Jupiter said...
"Humans are only conditioned to be altruistic. It might not take much for that conditioning to be stripped away."

The absence of three hot meals and a two days in the cold and wet will have almost anybody at your throat.
The mob is a lot closer than you think. Look at any democrat gathering.

buwaya said...

"HK laws stipulate minimum wages, health care, home leave and retirement funds for maids.'

So do Philippine laws, as they have since Spanish times (excepting health insurance and government retirement plans, which are new innovations of the last half-century).

The case here is of customs, not laws. The Filipino extended family had, traditionally, authority over poor relations and orphans placed in their care. This is a case of abuse of the custom, as also traditionally it was incumbent on the family to see that the girl was properly married off or otherwise provided for. There was something going on in this case that was well out of the ordinary, even for the rural Philippines.

Mind you, out in the countryside the landowner-tenant system was full of abuses, and still is, where it has persisted. Much of that is because the traditional relationship was tribal and feudal. The landowner was seen as a chieftain of sorts, to whom the tenants, many of whom may have been relatives of some degree or another, owed loyalty and service besides the share of crops. This was because the Spanish, for the most part, conquered with a light hand and retained the old native aristocracy and gentry, with most of the old arrangements intact.
Modernity and agricultural markets brought confusion into the system, and the landowners, or most of them, tried to bring the system to a commercial basis, with loans and interest and etc. And many tried to have their cake and eat it too.

madAsHell said...

Mr. Tizon was a writer at the Seattle Times. Here's some more of the story:

The obit of the slave, and the obit of Mr. Tizon.

The article says he died of natural causes at 57 years of age. I'm seeing pictures of him, and he looks pretty healthy to me. He wrote the piece in the Atlantic before he died.

Daniel Jackson said...

This title seems tautological--normalizing [extremely non-normal behaviors in a distributional sense] shows how normal, or everyday, people can do these acts. Or, when evil is normalized, normal people perform evil acts. Dah.

This issue is the subject of Christopher Browning's book, Ordinary Men (which can be ordered through the Althouse Portal https://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Men-Reserve-Battalion-Solution/dp/0060995068)

In brief, drawing on now sanctioned experiments by the likes of Stanley Milgram, the SS turned ordinary men into death camp killers little by little. Habituation to horrific acts normalizes horrific acts.

Perhaps this is why in the fifties and sixties, the educational paradigm in the States focused on individuality empowering the single person to resist group pressure and speak out against social injustice.

But, herein lies the problem: when one affiliates with others speaking out against social justice, or evil (what a horrid word, just saying), there is a tendency to habituate to the group. Dragon Slayers become Dragons.

As [horrid word] events become normalized, one's thoughts tend to "well, it's not SO bad," which begins the slide down the slippery slope. And then, voila, we ourselves are acting in such a manner because it is now NORMAL.

We are bombarded with cinema and social media fighting [horrid word] with methods that are simply horrid and not really much different. We are a culture that is rapidly habituating to evil events; hence, the Lord Mayor of London Town suggests that we learn to live with evil events. It is now NORMAL to blow up teeny boppers exiting from a concert.

We are losing, if not already lost, our ability to say, "this is not acceptable behavior here" to a wide range of things that are inherently horrific.

No. I cannot accept normalizing evil for any reasons offered. The ends do not justify the means and situational ethics have no place in a civil society either.

mockturtle said...


We are losing, if not already lost, our ability to say, "this is not acceptable behavior here" to a wide range of things that are inherently horrific.


But the ability to say "this is not acceptable thinking", motors on undeterred.

exhelodrvr1 said...

There is a difference between normalizing and glorifying. Too much of what happens today is "glorifying" - if the evil is done by someone on the left, or against the right. Che Guevera, for instance.

readering said...

They key to good journalism, besides accuracy of course, is to make in interesting. That slave piece definitely fit the bill.

320Busdriver said...

I did not get that out of watching Nos Amis, the HBO doc relating the story of the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan in Paris. I did get a good sense of just how terrifying it would have been to survive the evil that occurred there. What I did not know was that EODM frontman Jesse Hughes grew up with and often collaborates with QOTSA frontman Josh Homme. Homme, a musical genius in my opinion, tells the story of how the friendship began and brings us to the point of Huhes' call to Homme just after escaping the venue after holing up in a room with just a door between him and one of the attackers. The jihadi blows himself up after nearly an hour of indiscriminate killing.
Homme discusses the social contract that allows millions of people to live in close proximity to each other with LA as the backround and how the evildoers can shatter the veneer of civilization. Recommend

tim maguire said...

I've always thought it was wrong to emphasize the unique evil of Nazism, as though we don't have to watch out for it in the future because it was unique. NO! The problem with the Nazis is that they were NOT unique. I see people every day who I can easily imagine prospering in 1930's Germany. I can even imagine them shoving Jews into ovens.

We don't ensure "never again" by insisting it was a one-off.

Jupiter said...

"The absence of three hot meals and a two days in the cold and wet will have almost anybody at your throat.
The mob is a lot closer than you think. Look at any democrat gathering."

I don't believe the savagery of Democrats is due to a lack of food and shelter.

tcrosse said...

There once was a star history prof at U.W. Madison named George L. Mosse, after whom a particularly ugly campus building is named. Mosse knew a thing or two about Germans and about Nazis. He would appall his students, whom he would call smug little liberals, by suggesting that under the correct conditions even they, enlightened as they were, could do the things Nazis did. He even wrote books on the subject.

BTW, when the British captured Heinrich Himmler, as evil a man as could be, at first they wouldn't believe it was he because he looked like a bank clerk or a school teacher.

hombre said...

Quayle 11:01: "Let's put this in proper context, shall we:

Muslims in the world (est.) 1.5B
Jihad activity for April, 2017:
Attacks 165
Killed 1336
Injured 946
Suicide Blasts 30
Countries 25"

Sorry, this is not a proper context. A very small percentage of the population are murderers. Should we not be concerned about murder?

More helpful would be: How many terrorist acts have been committed by Muslims since 9/11? Approx. 30,000. Or what percent of terrorist attacks are committed by Muslims? 'The information comes from the 2011 NCTC Report on Terrorism, which is based on information available as of March 12, 2012. Sunni extremists accounted for the greatest number of terrorist attacks and fatalities for the third consecutive year,” the report says. “More than 5,700 incidents were attributed to Sunni extremists, accounting for nearly 56 percent of all attacks and about 70 percent of all fatalities.”' (No more recent reports. I wonder why.)

It is difficult to garner objective data because well funded Muslim propagandists like CAIR flood the world with manipulated data designed to confuse what we observe and what good sense tells us. Also, the Obama FBI classifies vandalism ( property damage) as terrorism.

Nevertheless, carry on. Muslim terrorists can always use another apologist.

mockturtle said...

Rand Paul is offering legislation to prevent the arms sale to Saudi Arabia. I think he's probably right. He usually is.

rcocean said...

Its funny how when you talk about Evil people go immediately to Nazi's even thought Nazism died 72 years ago.

OTOH, Stalin killed more people and Communism under Mao, Pol Pot, Castro and the USSR continued to murder/imprison millions all the way into the 1970s.

It seems like no matter what you say, people can't forget the Nazis or remember the Communists.

Jupiter said...

"No. I cannot accept normalizing evil for any reasons offered. The ends do not justify the means and situational ethics have no place in a civil society either."

Sounds good. So what's the plan?

Inga said...

"Rand Paul is offering legislation to prevent the arms sale to Saudi Arabia. I think he's probably right. He usually is."

Interesting coming from someone who said she would crawl on hands and knees to vote for Trump.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-saudi-arms-congress-idUSKBN18L2XN

U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday seeking to stop at least a portion of President Donald Trump's sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Republican Rand Paul and Democrats Chris Murphy and Al Franken introduced a resolution of disapproval in the Senate to force a vote on whether to block part of the sale.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee received formal notice of the pending sale on May 19.

"Given Saudi Arabia's past support of terror, poor human rights record, and questionable tactics in its war in Yemen, Congress must carefully consider and thoroughly debate if selling them billions of dollars of arms is in our best national security interest at this time," Paul said in a statement.

Robert Cook said...

"Especially when the Left is so busy labeling normal behavior and ideas as evil."

Normal to whom?

Or, put another way, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, (and vice versa).

Lydia said...

Banal and normal don't mean the same thing. And normalize doesn't mean the same as normal. At least the headline writer for the piece got it right: "It Is Really Important to Humanize Evil".

Michael K said...

Oh, if Al Franken disapproves....

Inga said...

Oh, if Rand Paul disapproves....

Michael K said...

Rand Paul is libertarian and has what I consider to be an unrealistic foreign policy agenda.

Al Franken is a fraud who was elected in a voter fraud.

He is a bad comedian.

wildswan said...

54 million unborn Americans dehumanized and killed through abortion. 34% of them African-American babies although African-Americans are only 12 % of the population. The African-American birth rate below replacement level due to differential application of family planning so that the actual number of African-Americans within this country is decreasing. Donald Trump would end government involvement in this genocide by defunding groups that promote abortion. Yet the left supports funding Planned Parenthood. It's normal for them. They'd rather African-Americans are destroyed as a group than say that Trump is right. That's normal in their world. Or, more correctly, they refuse to hear and understand what is going on since then they'd have to disagree with their group. They can't disagree. That's become normal for them. The left has sponsored and is supporting a government-financed genocide. Favoring this evil is normal for them.

And claiming the moral high ground on racism while financing the butchering of a race to death - well, that's your basic normal lefty. Lots of them are fine people - other than overlooking the true moral issue of the day.

"Should I go? Should I stay? Should I laugh? Should I cry?"

Fen said...

Sparrow: "minimizing evil"

Good point. I now remember the political context in the air when the RS cover came out. We were being told "shrug it off, the new normal, we can absorb a few strikes"

Fen said...

The discussion about why it can be good to normalize evil brings up a related event from recent past

I was a member of a historical re-enactment group, the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). And I discovered a knight was using their Order of Chivalry as a prop to gain the trust of newcomers, particularly single women with pre-teen girls. The girls thought Sir Lancelot was coming over for dinner. I did a bit of sleuthing turned up chatges of lewd conduct with a minor in 1998. Followed by complaints from a few other women who were quietly run out of the SCA. Then silence over a decade. You know what that means - new victims were being intimidated into not coming forward.

That history combined with recent incidents led me to believe there was a pattern of sexual predatory behavior in his part, enabled and covered up by SCA leadership.

I went to people in the organization that I trusted and the response was horrifying. Good decent people began acting completely out of character. I was told that if I continued to pursue this people I cared about would be hurt. I was threatened with violence several times, people attacked my marriage and tried to undermine it. An SCA officer who is also a public defender in DC threatened me with lawfare 18 times.

So I went to the FBI. And when they are done and give me permission to be active on this again, I'm telling my story the the state AGs (MD, DC, VA, NC, SC) that cover this region of the SCA, every state congressman, the insurance companies, the owners of the sites the SCA uses, the media etc.

But while I was waiting on FBI to wrap up, I started getting gossip from current SCA members. The perps involved in the cover up had completely edited their memories.

So I researched other cases like this, because I couldn't understand why people had acted so out of character and even edited their memories. It was critical for me because the incident had caused me to lose faith in people. It was a very lonely time.

What I finally realized was this - these were indeed normally good folk, but they had invested a great deal of time energy and money into the SCA, and when it's existence was threatened by a pedophile scandal, the long knives came out.

And in the morning after all the blood had been washed away, these people looked in their mirrors and said "we may have done some things we can't live with" and their Id responded "uh we're going to go on living, so whatever evil we think we did needs to be edited out and replaced with a better memory.

Evil is just a slip away.

Birches said...

What wildswan said. This is the evil of our times.

But our Coastal Media Elites don't seem to be up in arms over this.

Gahrie said...

And claiming the moral high ground on racism while financing the butchering of a race to death - well, that's your basic normal lefty.

What stuns me s the willingness of Black leadership and the Black community to go along with this.

I am friends with several intelligent, educated professionals who are Black. Back when the whole BLM movement first sprang up I was astonished at their ignorance of the real facts on interracial violence and crime. I was appalled at their acceptance of Black on Black crime. But what really disgusted me was their complete uninterest in the destruction of the Black family and the genocide of Black babies.

Cheered on by the Democratic Party, the Black community is destroying itself.

mockturtle said...

Rand Paul's argument:

"Sometime in the next 30 days, Congress will be forced to vote on whether or not we should sell arms to a county that:

** Actively bombing Yemen, including civilian population, using our weapons and illegally using our technical assistance.

** From the 28 pages of the 9/11 report and elsewhere, shown to be one of the world’s leading funders of terrorist activity and extremist ideology.

** Has a miserable human rights records. Civil rights, the rights of women in their society – it is all abysmal."

mockturtle said...

PS: Rand should do a better job of proofreading his missives.

Gahrie said...

If we don't sell the weapons to Saudi Arabia..someone else will. We might as well get the financial advantage, and the influence gained, as anyone else.

mockturtle said...

Gahrie, I do see the advantages but would like to think that our administration is not fooled by the 'peaceful Muslim' charade the Saudis like to play. Are we siding with the Sunnis just because the Russians support the Shiite regimes? I'm sure there are strategies involved that I know nothing of. It just seems wrong to me.

Gahrie said...

It just seems wrong to me.

I'm not a big fan of the Saudis. At one time they were a strategic necessity, but those days are gone. Still I would like to preclude either the Russians or Chinese from filling our role. Selling them weapons seems a small price to pay to prevent that.

I would like to see us shift our focus and support to Jordan and Egypt.

mockturtle said...

I would like to see us shift our focus and support to Jordan and Egypt.

Agree.