Friday, May 06, 2005

Of GoodEvil & EvilGood

Evil Dr Clam asked: Can you give us an example of a particular case that you would consider good and evil simultaneously?

Well, for starters the kind of situation I am thinking of is not like your supporting the war in Iraq, or shooting abortionists. When it is about an authority punishing evil behaviour, this does not conflagrate good and evil. The punishment is a response to rid the world of something evil and/or deter others who would think of copying the example. The concept is clear, and there is no deception involved. With relativism of course these same situations could be classed as EITHER good OR bad depending on whose perspective, but not both at once. The situations I'm talking about involve :

- Privileged Information - the good/evil entity has access to knowledge that is not generally known, and is definitely not known by the victims/benefiting public. This could be knowledge like knowing the details of a terrorist plot, knowing which police are corrupt and not, or knowing whether someone is pregnant or not.

- Public Backlash - When an obviously evil thing happens, there is a predictable backlash against what the assumed perpetrator stands for. For instance when a respected politician (in say Lebanon) gets blown up, there is a considerable (predictable) backlash against an occupying army associated with things blowing up. When abortion was illegal in Italy in the 70's there was considerable public backlash due to the impossibility of fairness the way society was. The public victims were the visible persons whose lives were perceived to be wrecked unnecessarily. I assume there would be backlash the other way if the suffering of the unborn were made more visible and tangible (such as when that 8 month pregnant Chinese lady was deported) in our society.

- Clever and virtually undetectable deception. In certain situations and certain countries, fraud, theft, even murder can be perpetrated by certain people with virtually no risk of being suspected or charged. These people have opportunities of making innocents (of a particular crime) the obvious suspects. These innocents may well be guilty of other crimes but not of the one in question.

- An end with these means which is honourable - such as adding momentum to changing laws which would save lives (eg. banning guns), enabling "Just" wars to be won more effectively, adding momentum to laws which would restrict abortions etc.

There is no specific example which combines these elements which I can demonstrate actually happened - but that is what I'm getting at.

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