I’ve been thinking a lot about human evil lately, watching some of the strands of contemporary ideology in America, and one of the themes that keeps re-appearing is the dehumanization of other human beings. Once you believe that another human being isn’t fully human, it seems that you somehow feel that any treatment of that subhuman is justifiable. From harassment to shootings to torture, whether the dehumanized happen to be gay or muslim or atheist or brown or female or poor, it’s the same thing.
People who champion dehumanization are – from my perspective at least – promoting evil. And the people who close their eyes to the humanity of others have no right to call themselves ethical or religious.
Some quotations to think about:
“With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.” ~ Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate, Physics
”To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good… Ideology – that is what gives devildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination.” ~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn
”For thou are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not sojourn with thee. The boastful may not stand before thy eyes; thou hatest all evildoers. Thou destroyest those who speak lies; the Lord abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men.”
~ Psalm 5:4
”To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” ~ George Washington
”Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” ~ George Orwell
”Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.” ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
”There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe