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December 13, 2019 / Congau

Lack of Good

If there is no evil (as I tentatively argued in my last post), Nazi Germany wasn’t evil either. Could that be true? That regime may have been the most horrible one in the horrible history of mankind, but it wasn’t evil if evil doesn’t exist. Is that conceivable?

Well, millions of Germans were loyal to that government, and so many people can hardly be possessed by evil all at once, but what about that one person? What about Hitler?

For all his cruelty, at least he did what he thought was good for Germany, and as for the world, he thought it would be a better place without Jews. His understanding of what would be good was clearly wildly distorted, but still he wanted what he thought was good and such a wish cannot be evil.

He had a dreadful lack of knowledge and understanding. Most of us know (at least we think we do) that the Jews are good for the world and we understand that the fate of Germany isn’t more important than the rest of the world put together. Don’t we?

Germany is probably not that important to you if you are not German, but the battle cry “My Country First” (or however it goes) may not sound completely unfamiliar. Is that evil?

I choose not to think so. Germany First, America First, Me First are symptoms of sorry ignorance. Anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia are distorted attitudes held by people who think they themselves are good and the others are a threat. They generally want what is good but have a twisted understanding of what it is. That is not evil – it is lack of knowledge.

Everyone wants something they think is good, but some only see a very narrow good – a minuscule version of goodness. It is not evil – it is lack of good.

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