It is stealthily easy to slide into a chilling and depressing view of the world, especially when the default among so much much of the media is that whatever may be happening is a good thing, even though a rational — normal — view of what is going on suggests that it is so far from normal and good and edifying as to suggest that we have already cascaded over the brink.
“Gender Affirming Care?” That’s not good; that’s evil.
Decriminalizing crime? That’s not good; that’s evil.
Killing babies in the womb? That’s not good; that’s evil.
Criminalizing speech? That’s not good; that’s evil.
And on and on and on…
But notice the word? “Evil.” It is exactly that. We are not combating a political philosophy, we are not fighting our neighbors’ belief in bigger government, we are not pushing back against onerous zoning regulations, we are not demanding more math instruction in our schools…
We are fighting evil.
We are witnessing an alarming collapse of social cohesion that is propelled, as if it were consciously planned, by something bigger and more menacing than simply falling standards of character. I call it “evil,” and I sense that it’s on the loose and on the rise. Rabbi Gershon Winkler of the Walking Stick Foundation in Colorado writes,
Today, absolute evil flourishes in clever guises: for instance, distorted versions of social equality, or the officially sanctioned proliferation of outright lies and their costly consequences for the economic and physical well-being of entire communities. This form of evil is of the worst sort, since it is deceptively camouflaged by rhetoric disguised as humanitarian concern and compassion. Even the serpent in the Garden of Eden could not match the evil of draping the wool over the eyes of an entire population and allowing it to slip-slide into passive naiveté. Dishonesty and deception have time and again caused the fall of great civilizations.
“Evil” is a very muscular term. It is intensely pejorative. I wouldn’t know how to describe something that is worse than evil, so I use it as a synonym for “as bad as it gets.” Its gateway drug is disdain for the truth, the little white lies that lead to bigger ones, that then open the door to more heinous offenses.
Exactly. The slippery slope that was mocked a generation or two ago is real, and no amount of obfuscation can conceal the fact that small accommodations have led to catastrophic results.
Evil is on the loose. The restraints with which civilized society shackled it seem to be dissolving. Do not be depressed by this fact, for a defeatist spirit will fatally disarm you, and that is precisely what evil wants. The last thing evil desires is an informed citizenry eager to resist. It is not inevitable that evil should win—unless good people give up. Evil is not a fantasy. It is real. Wherever you believe it comes from, do not submit to it. We must confront it with, at the very least, an unwavering dedication to truth, solid personal character, and good ideas.
“Do not submit.” There is a template for combating evil; for the devout it is easy, and for the rest there is a solid foundation in Judeo-Christian philosophy that provides the rock upon which we can make our stand. Luckily there is nothing complicated in that philosophy! How difficult is it to appreciate the idea that we are either man or woman? There is billions of years of biological evidence and the even more obvious…what we see with our own eyes! How difficult is it to appreciate the sanctity of life? The killing of a baby in the womb is not a nuanced thing. How complex is the idea that what we create with our hands is ours, and not to be taken without permission? Speech is sacrosanct, and its defense is axiomatic in a free society. It is not difficult to make that case.
We have the moral high ground. We have reality firmly in our corner. We have the facts, the history, the arc of humanity’s ascent from the muck with us.
William Wordsworth had it exactly correct when he wrote “Character Of The Happy Warrior.”
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?
—It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought
Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:
Whose high endeavours are an inward light
That makes the path before him always bright;
Who, with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;
Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,
But makes his moral being his prime care;