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What's Wrong With "Evil"?

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  • james tan
    bush described n. korea, iraq, and iran as axis of evil . while i can understand why he used that word evil on the teleban and the al-qeda network (bush
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 7, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      bush described n. korea, iraq, and iran as "axis of evil". while i can
      understand why he used that word "evil" on the teleban and the al-qeda
      network (bush just looked at what they did without attemmpting to see the
      origin of it as tommy would; for tommy, is it less "evil" if we can
      understand the origin of their "evil" actions?), and while i understand
      these three countries are building weapons of mass destruction that has the
      capacity to destroy civilised world, are iraq, iran, and n. korea as
      dangerous as the axis powers of 60 yrs ago? is the usa about to adopot a
      policy of "unconditional surrender" towards them? if so, what was washington
      doing talking to teheran after sep 11, seeking its cooperation in the afgan
      campaign? what was the former clinton adminstratoin doing seeking better
      relations with n. korea, a policy the current adminstration has not
      altogether foreclosed? is the usa looking for war, after the victory at the
      teleban? is the usa being careful with words when she used something like
      "axis" and "evil"?

      james.


      From: "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@...>
      Reply-To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
      To: "Sartre_yahoogr" <Sartre@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
      Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 17:54:20 -0800

      Hi Tommy:

      Just a brief historical remark. The last time a U.S. President declared
      something evil--Ronald Reagan declaring the Soviet Union and Evil
      Empire--there was just as much uproar and outcry. Of course, he was
      right--just a Bush about Al Qaeda. Reagan stuck to his guns and I hope Bush
      will too. We vanquished the Soviets and we'll take care of Al Qaeda too,
      diplomatic niceties aside. I really think I've come to the view that the
      Europeans should calm down, stop carping, get out of the way, and let
      America do the heavy historical lifting.

      Tell me, if we have to look at this complex picture of poverty,
      exploitation, etc as causes of terrorism--would the Africans, Asians,
      Indians etc. also be justified in your mind in employing terrorism to
      address their grievances?

      Regards,
      Chris

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Tommy Beavitt
      Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 9:08 AM
      To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?

      What you say makes a lot of sense. It is true that, by the definition
      you quote from the Encarta Dictionary, terrorists (and in particular,
      those who were responsible for 9/11) are evil. Moreover, my Chambers
      English Dictionary (which I actually prefer to the Oxford, even
      though the Oxford is generally considered to be the most
      authoritative source of "standard", "queen's" english) almost
      completely agrees, defining evil as "that which produces unhappiness
      or calamity".

      The difficulty comes in deciding what has actually *produced* the
      unhappiness (ie. the prima causae, if we subscribe to causality,
      which presumably we must in order to settle on the agent responsible,
      whom we are defining as "evil".) It is here that the question of
      perspective comes into play.

      From an European perspective, the primary cause of 11/9 might seem to
      be composed of factors including: religious fanaticism, American
      arrogance/unilateralism/exceptionalism, western economic exploitation
      in general, the lack of democracy in middle eastern countries partly
      itself caused by geopolitics involving oil extraction, a
      post-imperial power vacuum, Zionism, etc. So it is simplistic and, in
      this case, damaging to pick one from the bunch and settle on it as
      being the one sole cause.

      I can see why your arguments tend to drift in this direction. You
      are, after all, a professional attorney. It has to be possible to
      determine prima causae for your work to have any meaning. When a
      court pronounces an accused to be guilty then the corporate reality,
      to which we all subscribe to a greater or lesser extent in order to
      be considered sane, immediately colludes in the judgement and desists
      from questioning it. The mechanics by which this happens is called
      "due process". It is probably our best attempt at justice in this
      temporal realm.

      The land within which a judgement can be enforced on pain of contempt
      charges is called a jurisdiction. When we inhabit a jurisdiction we
      quickly become aware of its parameters. We all collude in it because
      we can see that it is our best bet, even to the extent of ourselves
      accepting a guilty verdict and serving time as sentenced. Many
      criminals even express contrition for the crimes of which they have
      been convicted and by this means tend to be rehabilitated back to
      within the relative freedom of the corporate or consensus reality
      more quickly. It may even be that they are being 'sincere' in this;
      or, as sincere as it will ever be possible for them to be.

      To this extent you and I no doubt agree.

      Where disagreement remains is where we might find the parameters of
      this "jurisdiction" you and I both find ourselves in with regard to
      the definition of the word, "evil".

      Even this caveat is only good for a strictly legalistic
      interpretation of the word, which seeks by "due process" to establish
      prima causae. When it comes to morality or justice, it will be even
      harder to find common ground.

      This is why I would much prefer the leaders of a country to whom my
      country is allied to desist from using such a word while at the same
      time steadfastly rejecting, via unilateralism and exceptionalism,
      possible discussion of the context or jurisdiction within which the
      word may be held to have valid meaning.

      If, on the other hand, we are talking about "might is right" then let
      us not beat about the bush (if you will pardon the pun)

      If coming right out with "might is right" seems to entail burning the
      final bridges of diplomacy then I suggest that continued use of the
      word "evil" to describe Uncle Sam's erswhile enemies is also
      profoundly undiplomatic, and that the interests of civilisation would
      be better served by dropping it forthwith.

      best wishes

      Tommy Beavitt


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]









      _________________________________________________________________
      Join the world�s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
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    • Bill Harris
      James, Not much philosophy in that post. perhaps philosophy might be related to real world diciplines I.E. politics. Speaking from inside the bushes so to
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 8, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        James, Not much philosophy in that post. perhaps philosophy might be
        related to real world diciplines I.E. politics. Speaking from inside the
        bushes so to speak it is better to whisper with caution. You more free
        beings outside the empire might do the world a service by speaking out yet
        you could be entertaining special ops people for who has defined terrorism?
        Hegemony in the hands of a fair player like Clinton was of less concern
        than the present situation. One man one vote democracy has been dead here
        since the Kennedy assination. Bush is a team player, you just dont
        understand what team he is playing for or how it will affect you. It will
        affect You. Bill
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
        To: <Sartre@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 8:37 PM
        Subject: [existlist] What's Wrong With "Evil"?


        >
        > bush described n. korea, iraq, and iran as "axis of evil". while i can
        > understand why he used that word "evil" on the teleban and the al-qeda
        > network (bush just looked at what they did without attemmpting to see the
        > origin of it as tommy would; for tommy, is it less "evil" if we can
        > understand the origin of their "evil" actions?), and while i understand
        > these three countries are building weapons of mass destruction that has
        the
        > capacity to destroy civilised world, are iraq, iran, and n. korea as
        > dangerous as the axis powers of 60 yrs ago? is the usa about to adopot a
        > policy of "unconditional surrender" towards them? if so, what was
        washington
        > doing talking to teheran after sep 11, seeking its cooperation in the
        afgan
        > campaign? what was the former clinton adminstratoin doing seeking better
        > relations with n. korea, a policy the current adminstration has not
        > altogether foreclosed? is the usa looking for war, after the victory at
        the
        > teleban? is the usa being careful with words when she used something like
        > "axis" and "evil"?
        >
        > james.
        >
        >
        > From: "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@...>
        > Reply-To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
        > To: "Sartre_yahoogr" <Sartre@yahoogroups.com>
        > Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
        > Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 17:54:20 -0800
        >
        > Hi Tommy:
        >
        > Just a brief historical remark. The last time a U.S. President declared
        > something evil--Ronald Reagan declaring the Soviet Union and Evil
        > Empire--there was just as much uproar and outcry. Of course, he was
        > right--just a Bush about Al Qaeda. Reagan stuck to his guns and I hope
        Bush
        > will too. We vanquished the Soviets and we'll take care of Al Qaeda too,
        > diplomatic niceties aside. I really think I've come to the view that the
        > Europeans should calm down, stop carping, get out of the way, and let
        > America do the heavy historical lifting.
        >
        > Tell me, if we have to look at this complex picture of poverty,
        > exploitation, etc as causes of terrorism--would the Africans, Asians,
        > Indians etc. also be justified in your mind in employing terrorism to
        > address their grievances?
        >
        > Regards,
        > Chris
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Tommy Beavitt
        > Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 9:08 AM
        > To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
        >
        > What you say makes a lot of sense. It is true that, by the definition
        > you quote from the Encarta Dictionary, terrorists (and in particular,
        > those who were responsible for 9/11) are evil. Moreover, my Chambers
        > English Dictionary (which I actually prefer to the Oxford, even
        > though the Oxford is generally considered to be the most
        > authoritative source of "standard", "queen's" english) almost
        > completely agrees, defining evil as "that which produces unhappiness
        > or calamity".
        >
        > The difficulty comes in deciding what has actually *produced* the
        > unhappiness (ie. the prima causae, if we subscribe to causality,
        > which presumably we must in order to settle on the agent responsible,
        > whom we are defining as "evil".) It is here that the question of
        > perspective comes into play.
        >
        > From an European perspective, the primary cause of 11/9 might seem to
        > be composed of factors including: religious fanaticism, American
        > arrogance/unilateralism/exceptionalism, western economic exploitation
        > in general, the lack of democracy in middle eastern countries partly
        > itself caused by geopolitics involving oil extraction, a
        > post-imperial power vacuum, Zionism, etc. So it is simplistic and, in
        > this case, damaging to pick one from the bunch and settle on it as
        > being the one sole cause.
        >
        > I can see why your arguments tend to drift in this direction. You
        > are, after all, a professional attorney. It has to be possible to
        > determine prima causae for your work to have any meaning. When a
        > court pronounces an accused to be guilty then the corporate reality,
        > to which we all subscribe to a greater or lesser extent in order to
        > be considered sane, immediately colludes in the judgement and desists
        > from questioning it. The mechanics by which this happens is called
        > "due process". It is probably our best attempt at justice in this
        > temporal realm.
        >
        > The land within which a judgement can be enforced on pain of contempt
        > charges is called a jurisdiction. When we inhabit a jurisdiction we
        > quickly become aware of its parameters. We all collude in it because
        > we can see that it is our best bet, even to the extent of ourselves
        > accepting a guilty verdict and serving time as sentenced. Many
        > criminals even express contrition for the crimes of which they have
        > been convicted and by this means tend to be rehabilitated back to
        > within the relative freedom of the corporate or consensus reality
        > more quickly. It may even be that they are being 'sincere' in this;
        > or, as sincere as it will ever be possible for them to be.
        >
        > To this extent you and I no doubt agree.
        >
        > Where disagreement remains is where we might find the parameters of
        > this "jurisdiction" you and I both find ourselves in with regard to
        > the definition of the word, "evil".
        >
        > Even this caveat is only good for a strictly legalistic
        > interpretation of the word, which seeks by "due process" to establish
        > prima causae. When it comes to morality or justice, it will be even
        > harder to find common ground.
        >
        > This is why I would much prefer the leaders of a country to whom my
        > country is allied to desist from using such a word while at the same
        > time steadfastly rejecting, via unilateralism and exceptionalism,
        > possible discussion of the context or jurisdiction within which the
        > word may be held to have valid meaning.
        >
        > If, on the other hand, we are talking about "might is right" then let
        > us not beat about the bush (if you will pardon the pun)
        >
        > If coming right out with "might is right" seems to entail burning the
        > final bridges of diplomacy then I suggest that continued use of the
        > word "evil" to describe Uncle Sam's erswhile enemies is also
        > profoundly undiplomatic, and that the interests of civilisation would
        > be better served by dropping it forthwith.
        >
        > best wishes
        >
        > Tommy Beavitt
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > _________________________________________________________________
        > Join the world's largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
        > http://www.hotmail.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
        > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
        >
        > TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
        > existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
      • james tan
        bill, it is the way evil is used by the bush team which seems to give them the moral justification to engage in events that may disrupt peace. it is one
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 11, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          bill,

          it is the way "evil" is used by the bush team which seems to give them the
          moral justification to engage in events that may disrupt peace. it is one
          thing to use it on the 911 terrorist attack, quite another on countries like
          n. korea, etc. how u attribute will decide how u will act on it.

          james.


          From: "Bill Harris" <bhvwd@...>
          Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
          Subject: Re: [existlist] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
          Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 09:33:09 -0600

          James, Not much philosophy in that post. perhaps philosophy might be
          related to real world diciplines I.E. politics. Speaking from inside the
          bushes so to speak it is better to whisper with caution. You more free
          beings outside the empire might do the world a service by speaking out yet
          you could be entertaining special ops people for who has defined terrorism?
          Hegemony in the hands of a fair player like Clinton was of less concern
          than the present situation. One man one vote democracy has been dead here
          since the Kennedy assination. Bush is a team player, you just dont
          understand what team he is playing for or how it will affect you. It will
          affect You. Bill
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
          To: <Sartre@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 8:37 PM
          Subject: [existlist] What's Wrong With "Evil"?


          >
          > bush described n. korea, iraq, and iran as "axis of evil". while i can
          > understand why he used that word "evil" on the teleban and the al-qeda
          > network (bush just looked at what they did without attemmpting to see the
          > origin of it as tommy would; for tommy, is it less "evil" if we can
          > understand the origin of their "evil" actions?), and while i understand
          > these three countries are building weapons of mass destruction that has
          the
          > capacity to destroy civilised world, are iraq, iran, and n. korea as
          > dangerous as the axis powers of 60 yrs ago? is the usa about to adopot a
          > policy of "unconditional surrender" towards them? if so, what was
          washington
          > doing talking to teheran after sep 11, seeking its cooperation in the
          afgan
          > campaign? what was the former clinton adminstratoin doing seeking better
          > relations with n. korea, a policy the current adminstration has not
          > altogether foreclosed? is the usa looking for war, after the victory at
          the
          > teleban? is the usa being careful with words when she used something like
          > "axis" and "evil"?
          >
          > james.
          >
          >
          > From: "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@...>
          > Reply-To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
          > To: "Sartre_yahoogr" <Sartre@yahoogroups.com>
          > Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
          > Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 17:54:20 -0800
          >
          > Hi Tommy:
          >
          > Just a brief historical remark. The last time a U.S. President declared
          > something evil--Ronald Reagan declaring the Soviet Union and Evil
          > Empire--there was just as much uproar and outcry. Of course, he was
          > right--just a Bush about Al Qaeda. Reagan stuck to his guns and I hope
          Bush
          > will too. We vanquished the Soviets and we'll take care of Al Qaeda too,
          > diplomatic niceties aside. I really think I've come to the view that the
          > Europeans should calm down, stop carping, get out of the way, and let
          > America do the heavy historical lifting.
          >
          > Tell me, if we have to look at this complex picture of poverty,
          > exploitation, etc as causes of terrorism--would the Africans, Asians,
          > Indians etc. also be justified in your mind in employing terrorism to
          > address their grievances?
          >
          > Regards,
          > Chris
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Tommy Beavitt
          > Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 9:08 AM
          > To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
          >
          > What you say makes a lot of sense. It is true that, by the definition
          > you quote from the Encarta Dictionary, terrorists (and in particular,
          > those who were responsible for 9/11) are evil. Moreover, my Chambers
          > English Dictionary (which I actually prefer to the Oxford, even
          > though the Oxford is generally considered to be the most
          > authoritative source of "standard", "queen's" english) almost
          > completely agrees, defining evil as "that which produces unhappiness
          > or calamity".
          >
          > The difficulty comes in deciding what has actually *produced* the
          > unhappiness (ie. the prima causae, if we subscribe to causality,
          > which presumably we must in order to settle on the agent responsible,
          > whom we are defining as "evil".) It is here that the question of
          > perspective comes into play.
          >
          > From an European perspective, the primary cause of 11/9 might seem to
          > be composed of factors including: religious fanaticism, American
          > arrogance/unilateralism/exceptionalism, western economic exploitation
          > in general, the lack of democracy in middle eastern countries partly
          > itself caused by geopolitics involving oil extraction, a
          > post-imperial power vacuum, Zionism, etc. So it is simplistic and, in
          > this case, damaging to pick one from the bunch and settle on it as
          > being the one sole cause.
          >
          > I can see why your arguments tend to drift in this direction. You
          > are, after all, a professional attorney. It has to be possible to
          > determine prima causae for your work to have any meaning. When a
          > court pronounces an accused to be guilty then the corporate reality,
          > to which we all subscribe to a greater or lesser extent in order to
          > be considered sane, immediately colludes in the judgement and desists
          > from questioning it. The mechanics by which this happens is called
          > "due process". It is probably our best attempt at justice in this
          > temporal realm.
          >
          > The land within which a judgement can be enforced on pain of contempt
          > charges is called a jurisdiction. When we inhabit a jurisdiction we
          > quickly become aware of its parameters. We all collude in it because
          > we can see that it is our best bet, even to the extent of ourselves
          > accepting a guilty verdict and serving time as sentenced. Many
          > criminals even express contrition for the crimes of which they have
          > been convicted and by this means tend to be rehabilitated back to
          > within the relative freedom of the corporate or consensus reality
          > more quickly. It may even be that they are being 'sincere' in this;
          > or, as sincere as it will ever be possible for them to be.
          >
          > To this extent you and I no doubt agree.
          >
          > Where disagreement remains is where we might find the parameters of
          > this "jurisdiction" you and I both find ourselves in with regard to
          > the definition of the word, "evil".
          >
          > Even this caveat is only good for a strictly legalistic
          > interpretation of the word, which seeks by "due process" to establish
          > prima causae. When it comes to morality or justice, it will be even
          > harder to find common ground.
          >
          > This is why I would much prefer the leaders of a country to whom my
          > country is allied to desist from using such a word while at the same
          > time steadfastly rejecting, via unilateralism and exceptionalism,
          > possible discussion of the context or jurisdiction within which the
          > word may be held to have valid meaning.
          >
          > If, on the other hand, we are talking about "might is right" then let
          > us not beat about the bush (if you will pardon the pun)
          >
          > If coming right out with "might is right" seems to entail burning the
          > final bridges of diplomacy then I suggest that continued use of the
          > word "evil" to describe Uncle Sam's erswhile enemies is also
          > profoundly undiplomatic, and that the interests of civilisation would
          > be better served by dropping it forthwith.
          >
          > best wishes
          >
          > Tommy Beavitt
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > _________________________________________________________________
          > Join the world's largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
          > http://www.hotmail.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
          > (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)
          >
          > TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
          > existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >









          _________________________________________________________________
          Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp.
        • Bill Harris
          James, The propaganda mill gushes out the nationalist scare rhetoric. The right wing,I.E. Republican, jingoists wave the flag in unison. There is a great
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 11, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            James, The propaganda mill gushes out the nationalist scare rhetoric. The
            right wing,I.E. Republican, jingoists wave the flag in unison. There is a
            great difference within this group. The intelligent and wealthy understand
            this is a ploy to hide glaring economic deficiencys, graft, and corruption.
            The idealogue right chants, sings and follows. They have faith, in god ,in
            country. Never mind who is designated enemy, when necessary one will be
            appointed. Faith is the ticket to the grinder that turns brains to
            hamburger. You wish to heal these peoples minds? Good luck they are too
            valuable as pawns to set them free. Bill ----- Original Message -----
            From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
            To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 2:43 AM
            Subject: [existlist] What's Wrong With "Evil"?


            >
            > bill,
            >
            > it is the way "evil" is used by the bush team which seems to give them the
            > moral justification to engage in events that may disrupt peace. it is one
            > thing to use it on the 911 terrorist attack, quite another on countries
            like
            > n. korea, etc. how u attribute will decide how u will act on it.
            >
            > james.
            >
            >
            > From: "Bill Harris" <bhvwd@...>
            > Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            > To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
            > Subject: Re: [existlist] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
            > Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 09:33:09 -0600
            >
            > James, Not much philosophy in that post. perhaps philosophy might be
            > related to real world diciplines I.E. politics. Speaking from inside the
            > bushes so to speak it is better to whisper with caution. You more free
            > beings outside the empire might do the world a service by speaking out yet
            > you could be entertaining special ops people for who has defined
            terrorism?
            > Hegemony in the hands of a fair player like Clinton was of less concern
            > than the present situation. One man one vote democracy has been dead here
            > since the Kennedy assination. Bush is a team player, you just dont
            > understand what team he is playing for or how it will affect you. It will
            > affect You. Bill
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "james tan" <tyjfk@...>
            > To: <Sartre@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 8:37 PM
            > Subject: [existlist] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
            >
            >
            > >
            > > bush described n. korea, iraq, and iran as "axis of evil". while i can
            > > understand why he used that word "evil" on the teleban and the al-qeda
            > > network (bush just looked at what they did without attemmpting to see
            the
            > > origin of it as tommy would; for tommy, is it less "evil" if we can
            > > understand the origin of their "evil" actions?), and while i understand
            > > these three countries are building weapons of mass destruction that has
            > the
            > > capacity to destroy civilised world, are iraq, iran, and n. korea as
            > > dangerous as the axis powers of 60 yrs ago? is the usa about to adopot
            a
            > > policy of "unconditional surrender" towards them? if so, what was
            > washington
            > > doing talking to teheran after sep 11, seeking its cooperation in the
            > afgan
            > > campaign? what was the former clinton adminstratoin doing seeking
            better
            > > relations with n. korea, a policy the current adminstration has not
            > > altogether foreclosed? is the usa looking for war, after the victory at
            > the
            > > teleban? is the usa being careful with words when she used something
            like
            > > "axis" and "evil"?
            > >
            > > james.
            > >
            > >
            > > From: "Christopher Bobo" <cbobo@...>
            > > Reply-To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
            > > To: "Sartre_yahoogr" <Sartre@yahoogroups.com>
            > > Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
            > > Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 17:54:20 -0800
            > >
            > > Hi Tommy:
            > >
            > > Just a brief historical remark. The last time a U.S. President
            declared
            > > something evil--Ronald Reagan declaring the Soviet Union and Evil
            > > Empire--there was just as much uproar and outcry. Of course, he was
            > > right--just a Bush about Al Qaeda. Reagan stuck to his guns and I hope
            > Bush
            > > will too. We vanquished the Soviets and we'll take care of Al Qaeda
            too,
            > > diplomatic niceties aside. I really think I've come to the view that
            the
            > > Europeans should calm down, stop carping, get out of the way, and let
            > > America do the heavy historical lifting.
            > >
            > > Tell me, if we have to look at this complex picture of poverty,
            > > exploitation, etc as causes of terrorism--would the Africans, Asians,
            > > Indians etc. also be justified in your mind in employing terrorism to
            > > address their grievances?
            > >
            > > Regards,
            > > Chris
            > >
            > > ----- Original Message -----
            > > From: Tommy Beavitt
            > > Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002 9:08 AM
            > > To: Sartre@yahoogroups.com
            > > Subject: Re: [Sartre] What's Wrong With "Evil"?
            > >
            > > What you say makes a lot of sense. It is true that, by the definition
            > > you quote from the Encarta Dictionary, terrorists (and in particular,
            > > those who were responsible for 9/11) are evil. Moreover, my Chambers
            > > English Dictionary (which I actually prefer to the Oxford, even
            > > though the Oxford is generally considered to be the most
            > > authoritative source of "standard", "queen's" english) almost
            > > completely agrees, defining evil as "that which produces unhappiness
            > > or calamity".
            > >
            > > The difficulty comes in deciding what has actually *produced* the
            > > unhappiness (ie. the prima causae, if we subscribe to causality,
            > > which presumably we must in order to settle on the agent responsible,
            > > whom we are defining as "evil".) It is here that the question of
            > > perspective comes into play.
            > >
            > > From an European perspective, the primary cause of 11/9 might seem to
            > > be composed of factors including: religious fanaticism, American
            > > arrogance/unilateralism/exceptionalism, western economic exploitation
            > > in general, the lack of democracy in middle eastern countries partly
            > > itself caused by geopolitics involving oil extraction, a
            > > post-imperial power vacuum, Zionism, etc. So it is simplistic and, in
            > > this case, damaging to pick one from the bunch and settle on it as
            > > being the one sole cause.
            > >
            > > I can see why your arguments tend to drift in this direction. You
            > > are, after all, a professional attorney. It has to be possible to
            > > determine prima causae for your work to have any meaning. When a
            > > court pronounces an accused to be guilty then the corporate reality,
            > > to which we all subscribe to a greater or lesser extent in order to
            > > be considered sane, immediately colludes in the judgement and desists
            > > from questioning it. The mechanics by which this happens is called
            > > "due process". It is probably our best attempt at justice in this
            > > temporal realm.
            > >
            > > The land within which a judgement can be enforced on pain of contempt
            > > charges is called a jurisdiction. When we inhabit a jurisdiction we
            > > quickly become aware of its parameters. We all collude in it because
            > > we can see that it is our best bet, even to the extent of ourselves
            > > accepting a guilty verdict and serving time as sentenced. Many
            > > criminals even express contrition for the crimes of which they have
            > > been convicted and by this means tend to be rehabilitated back to
            > > within the relative freedom of the corporate or consensus reality
            > > more quickly. It may even be that they are being 'sincere' in this;
            > > or, as sincere as it will ever be possible for them to be.
            > >
            > > To this extent you and I no doubt agree.
            > >
            > > Where disagreement remains is where we might find the parameters of
            > > this "jurisdiction" you and I both find ourselves in with regard to
            > > the definition of the word, "evil".
            > >
            > > Even this caveat is only good for a strictly legalistic
            > > interpretation of the word, which seeks by "due process" to establish
            > > prima causae. When it comes to morality or justice, it will be even
            > > harder to find common ground.
            > >
            > > This is why I would much prefer the leaders of a country to whom my
            > > country is allied to desist from using such a word while at the same
            > > time steadfastly rejecting, via unilateralism and exceptionalism,
            > > possible discussion of the context or jurisdiction within which the
            > > word may be held to have valid meaning.
            > >
            > > If, on the other hand, we are talking about "might is right" then let
            > > us not beat about the bush (if you will pardon the pun)
            > >
            > > If coming right out with "might is right" seems to entail burning the
            > > final bridges of diplomacy then I suggest that continued use of the
            > > word "evil" to describe Uncle Sam's erswhile enemies is also
            > > profoundly undiplomatic, and that the interests of civilisation would
            > > be better served by dropping it forthwith.
            > >
            > > best wishes
            > >
            > > Tommy Beavitt
            > >
            > >
            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
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