Does “evil” really exist

As I posted recently, bradhicks has some wonderful, thought-provoking material that makes us think about why we have political disagreements, and why reasonable people can sincerely come to wildly different conclusions and beliefs.

I have a fundamental belief that people are basically good and that people don’t do harm to others on purpose. I’m often proved wrong, but not often enough to make me distrust random strangers that come into my life.

There definitely *are* people out there who intentionally harm others. My mind rationalizes this by labelling those people “non-humans”. I still believe that most of my “opponents” are reasonable people, who have come to different conclusions and different beliefs due to exposure to different subsets of facts and different experiences. But, not all of my opponents can be explained this way.

On and after 9/11/2001, as my mind tried to deal with the scope of the terrorist attacks, a notion crept into my mind. I found myself thinking, what if the attacks of 9/11 were conceived and executed by someone inside our own government, and not Islamic terrorists? Of course, the rational part of my mind immediately dismissed this as too heinous to consider. I could believe that people could be driven by hatred or fear to attack others, but I could not yet believe that anyone could plan to kill neighbors, or anyone that they had so much in common with. I thought about it briefly then dismissed it.

Interestingly, someone else on my friends list posted a link to this video: Loose Change 2nd Edition which makes a pretty good case for the 9/11 attacks being engineered by a select few Americans in government, military, and big business. It is an hour and 20 minutes long, but it’s very very interesting and provocative. I’m not sure I believe the conclusions, but I now have to strongly reconsider who in the US stands to benefit from the attacks of 9/11.

0 thoughts on “Does “evil” really exist

  1. cyranocyrano

    I think my considerations on 9/11 are much similar to my considerations on Pearl Harbor. I believe there were people in positions of power who knew much more than they were telling, but felt that in the long run, the best interests of the country were served by not preventing the attack.

    1. swami_bob

      I think people knew about it, but discredited it, or they sum of the parts weren’t added together. The major difference between Pearl Harbor and 9/11, though, was that even if Pearl Harbor was an intentional sacrifice, at least it was a military installation, not a civilian structure.

      I cannot and will not believe the government willingly allowed 9/11 to happen. Did they allow it to happen out of ignorance? Possibly, hell, maybe even probably. Did the Government set it up? I highly doubt it and I find the idea that someone would suggest that the government not only did nothing, but engineered it for commercial gain or for political purposes to be morally repugnant and to be honest, I really have no respect for people who think that is the case.

      1. nekodojo

        I previously would have thought it inconceiveable, and a downloaded video isn’t going to change my mind without something else supporting it. The video brings up some interesting points that could be explored further, but for now it’s not enough to change my mind. I still believe it was the work of terrorists, but I’m not 100% confident in that belief.

        Most interesting things about the video were:
        hole in the pentagon much smaller than airplane fuselage, yet no plane wreckage found outside
        witnesses in/near pentagon report smelling cordite, not jet fuel
        suggestion that two 6-ton jet engines were vaporized leaving no trace doesn’t seem to be supported by science
        crash site in PA didn’t contain pieces of fuselage

        Of course, making sense of such things is a bit beyond my reach. For now I’m not drawing any conclusions, but just labelling it “interesting”…

    2. gregbo

      Perhaps I’ve watched Tora! Tora! Tora! too many times, but it’s my understanding that that attack on Pearl Harbor was as devastating as it was due to a number of slipups on the part of the US military.

      As for the original question, I believe evil does exist. Hitler was evil.

    1. nekodojo

      Good question. I guess I would have to say that “evil” is a spectrum and that most spammers are somewhere along the spectrum. They are definitely selfish and they may not intend to cause harm to others, but they are pretty reckless and are knowingly stealing resources from someone else. I probably would not label them all “non-human” but definitely some of them.

  2. waterowl

    I didn’t watch the video. The fact is that as the 9/11 report shows the president, CIA chief and other decision makers get tons and tons of reports from many different sources. There wasn’t a good coordinating body to collate and sort the information.

    Not stated too clearly but I know what happened is that they don’t read most of these reports. Big surprise. This happens at any type of work where there’s information overload…except at most jobs you’re not dealing with matters of international and national security. Instead the organizations tended to filter up information by mouth. This meant the information that was promulgated matched the prevailing groupthink at the time. Noone was thinking about terrorists flying airplanes into buildings. The data that matched this was ignored.

    Most conspiracy theories violate a fundamental law for me: “Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.” And I think stupid in the way that Scott Adams means stupid. Everyone is stupid in some way. It’s impossible to be smart about everything. Unfortunately the CIA and FBI are required to be smart about many different things.

    The CIA and FBI fell into complacency and arrogance and were caught with their pants down. If they had warned Bush and he had ignored them, I could believe there was a conspiracy, but these agencies did not. Yes 9/11 has released floods of money for these agencies, but I think one airplane crashing into the Pentagon would have been sufficient to shock Americans into doing that. No need to waste tons more lives and crash two more planes into the heart of NYC. Plus now they’re open to tons of lawsuits from civilians.

    I also believe that it’s impossible for people to keep silent in a democracy. Someone speaks up eventually. There’s too much reward in speaking up. Watergate proves that. Even Deepthroat has now revealed himself.

  3. misty_shadows

    Evil verses Good… it’s a hopeful wishful thing to think, in my thoughts. In childhood things are just that black and white and delineated. The cartoons make certain you know who the bad guy is and who to root for. The movies deline those qualities almost as fully, unless it’s a real subtle work of art which for some reason isn’t as popular.

    I don’t think the idea is that simple. Society builds norms, which determine what is and isn’t allowed in its structure. What’s considered normal for one culture, let’s say multi-person marriages (more than 2) is considered Bad juju here in the US, but given as something acceptable in other lands, or that concepts censored on tv here are permissible in Europe. Doesn’t make either evil or good… so are Evil and Goodness really stronger classed norms created by our society? Would something we consider evil, the conquest of another land, be acceptible in past sociological cultures?

    As for the 9/11 stuff… there are points in there that are questionable, but in all major happenings in the last fifty years there have been people/groups that have managed to build a case against it and advertise it like this. Conspiracy theories run through our entire history, from the masonic templars, the ‘man behind the president’, you name it someone’s suspected it. It’s probable someone up there knew about it, and I do suspect that it was extended some in order to help procure a re-election… or at least no tears were lost that it went longer for that, but until a real inquery is made I’m willing to benefit for the doubt even if I don’t like Bush all to much, and there I’m allowed my opinion.

    Evil? No. Pain in the arse? Yes.

    You should hear about the secret society we have down road.. for meetings you ‘can’t have in the bay area’. Uh?


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