Tag: evil

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Until recently, I’d never really experienced the lure of the mystery of darkness. In spite of seeing a few scary movies (most of which I don’t like), I’m not tempted by the shadowy corners of life. Like many of you, I sense that avoiding those places is wise and seeking the light is my best […]

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Quote of the Day: How Often Are We Complicit with Evil?


“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table.” — W. H. Auden

When horrible things happen in the world, those acts are often identified as evil acts. The Russian creation of mass graves in Ukraine? Evil. The killing of citizens in the streets of Ukraine? Evil. The mass shooting of parishioners at church on a Sunday morning? Evil. The killing of young children while they are at school. Evil.

Jealousy: The Real Root of All Evil


Think money is the root of all evil?  Wrong. It isn’t. Granted, it’s right up there with the major players, and certainly worthy enough, but the real problem is jealousy.  Jealousy starts wars, ends marriages, kills friendships, jobs and industries.  Seriously. Jealousy is the root of all evil.

While money is a regular passenger on the Jealousy Express, it’s not the driver. And, nowhere in the Ten Commandments is money mentioned.  It’s implicit, sure, but jealousy is the inherent antagonist: Thou shall not steal…anything…not just cash. Now, not coveting your neighbor’s wife or goods…bingo!  That’s where the utterly repugnant and deservedly maligned jealousy thing takes center stage.

Choose Optimism


What if I told those of you who are “realists” or “pessimists” that changing your worldview, particularly about the current state of the United States, could help save the country? I know, I know. Sounds like the statement of a dedicated optimist. But if you will bear with me, I’ll make the argument that it is possible to change our worldviews (which often determine what we say and do) and it is a worthy endeavor.

First, let me provide my understanding of these words: realist, pessimist, and optimist. A realist has an “inclination toward literal truth and pragmatism.” I would also say that in many ways, a realist can practice either optimism or pessimism when he looks beyond the present. The reason for these pairings of beliefs is that it’s nearly impossible for a realist to accurately (in his or her view) see the current situation without looking to the future. Whether your secondary worldview is pessimism or optimism will determine whether you are hopeful for this country or are assuming the worst.

San Francisco Is Pure Hell


It is a bit of a cliché to say that San Francisco is a hellhole.

I remember reading in conservative blogs back in the mid-2000s about gay pride parades in the Castro district in which men would masturbate out of windows and on to passersby as part of the procession. When I moved down there in 2008 and worked for the Business section of the San Francisco Examiner, I remember walking through Van Ness and seeing a big, thick, and unmistakably human turd right there on the sidewalk.

Quote of the Day: Government


“I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time.” – H.L. Mencken

We have certainly seen several illustrations this week demonstrating Mencken was a man ahead of his time.

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How often have you said, or heard someone else say, “Well, I had good intentions!” Unfortunately, that is the phrase that the Left repeatedly offers as if their good intentions override terrible outcomes. I propose that in these times, this mistaken belief borders on the evil. For over 100 years we’ve listened to the Left […]

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I am often astounded at the lack of self-awareness that seems to engulf leftists, but this instance ranks as one of the best examples. Apparently, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has sponsored the KITTEN Act (Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now) that aims to end the euthanasia of kittens used in USDA research and testing.

“The KITTEN Act will protect these innocent animals from being needlessly euthanized in government testing,” Merkley told reporters, “and make sure that they can be adopted by loving families instead.” Does he even hear himself? They should be treated and adopted? That’s exactly what Americans have requested for living, breathing babies. Democrats said no. Killing a child is a “personal decision,” they said, and Congress shouldn’t get in the way.

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By now, most everyone has read about the ‘activist’ in Michigan who burned their house to a shell while five pets (2 German Shepherds and 3 cats) were inside July 2017. Firefighters couldn’t enter because one dog’s body blocked the door. Why did this ‘thing’ do this? Reports are varied, but the gist is it […]

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Rousseau and Proust gave me the most pleasure reading in any language. But, Roland Barthes went on so much about Flaubert, I also now appreciate the mot juste.It is different from Laconic, because that expresses a concept. However much a vocabulary may help, even an illiterate Lacedaemonian says what he means in short, few words. […]

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Two of my favorite pieces of literature are Mark Helprin’s novel, Winter’s Tale, and C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. Only recently have I discovered similarities in one of the “big themes” present in both. Both involve some sort of time travel, where characters move between times. Winter’s Tale protagonist, Peter Lake, is an Irish mechanic/burglar […]

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40 Years Ago Today


File:TuckermanRavine.MtWashington.NH.jpgI was sitting in the little snack bar in the base station of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington (a short mountain, comparatively speaking, but one which has its own set of challenges for climbers), prior to setting out on an expedition with Mr. She, “when our love was young,” as the saying goes, when a shocking newsflash came over the radio: Hundreds of people had died in an impossibly massive murder-suicide event in Jonestown, Guyana.  It was one of those “Where were you when…?” moments.  That’s where I was.

People were flabbergasted. Most of us had no idea what any of it was about. And as the bizarre and gory details came out over the next several days, the story just got stranger and sadder. By the time all the facts were known, over 900 people were dead, a US Congressman had been assassinated, and an ominous, and often flippant new phrase, “he drank the Kool-Aid,” had entered the English Language.

This article provides a fascinating first-person account of Congressman Leo Ryan’s visit to the colony, of his interactions with Jones and his followers, and of the subsequent massacre of Ryan and several others as they were leaving. It’s written by a survivor of said massacre, a congressional aide who was traveling with the group, and who was shot several times herself as the melee progressed. It’s a powerful witness to the situation, as well as a sidelight on how different so many things were, forty years ago today.

I Grieve with The Jewish Community of Squirrel Hill


Saturday morning, an unspeakable tragedy unfolded at a Jewish Temple in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh. I stared at the TV in stunned silence, as my gut tightened into a painful knot. As I watched law enforcement running among flashing lights and chaos, the details emerged of mass casualties and injured. I turned to Fox News and saw the beautiful neighborhood where I once lived, with Fall trees aglow in bright orange, red and yellow, shadowed by mass casualty trucks and men in fatigues carrying assault weapons. A spokesman for the city said ‘an attack on this community and faith is an attack on all of our communities and faiths’. I knew these were not mere words of comfort, but a deep truth that all who are from Pittsburgh understand. Later in life, Squirrel Hill’s predominantly Jewish population would embrace me on a personal level.

As a child growing up in Brookline, a suburb of Pittsburgh, my classrooms and friends were composed of Italians, Jews, Greeks, Lebanese, Syrians, Irish, Poles, and Ukrainians. I was as familiar with delicious ethnic foods, holidays and traditions as though they were my own, and some were. In my early twenties, I shared several apartments near the Tree of Life Synagogue. I could walk to work on Murray Avenue, back in my retail days. As I shopped at the local markets, I noticed numbers tattooed on people’s arms. At first, I didn’t understand, but I soon realized these were first-generation survivors of the Holocaust, to me the worst period in recent human history. I was invited to a Jewish wedding reception in Squirrel Hill, where praise and thanks, tears and clapping abundantly poured out because this extended family “had survived.” This was not normal, something that I was not familiar with — sheer survival in the midst of extreme evil.

The Jewish community in this area, as other ethnic communities in Pittsburgh, while tightly woven together, talking about tremendous suffering, grateful to be alive, to have children and grandchildren, could still laugh and joke, be successful and stuff you with more food.

In a World with No Evil, You Can Do No Wrong


“Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own — it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.” – Jay Austin

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan were killed by ISIS militants in Tajikstan on July 28 or 29. They did nothing bad. They were tourists, and had been cycling throughout the world for about a year. They were also idealists, a pair of progressives who truly believed that evil does not exist.

Evil Has No Expiration Date


The deportation of Jakiw Palij has once more raised the specter of the Nazi holocaust and whether or not those who were guards at the concentration camps should be pursued and prosecuted.

Some people are saying that Palij is 95 years old and has led a quiet life in Jackson Heights, NY and should be left alone. Most people didn’t even know about his association with the camps until it became public after the U.S. revoked his citizenship in 2003. A judge ordered his expulsion in 2005, but the German authorities didn’t want to prosecute him since his crimes took place on foreign soil; the Poles claimed he was Germany’s responsibility. Finally, our current German ambassador, Richard Grenell, persuaded the Germans to accept him, and he has finally been deported. No one has reported whether deporting him to another country was ever considered.

After these many years, some people are saying that we didn’t need to deport him: he was an old man; we didn’t know if there was proof that he had killed anyone in the Trawniki camp; and would he survive prison if he were prosecuted?

Dragged Into the Dark Vortex


Lately grayish clouds seem to rest uncomfortably above my head. It’s like living in a premature rainstorm that can’t quite unify into a full, raging tornado. But the threat always seems to be there.

That’s what it’s like for me living in these times. Overall my life is good, and I have friends and blessings aplenty. But the clouds are so persistent that they seem to darken everything.

It isn’t really the clouds that bother me so much: it’s the life that they hide, that place where evil in its many forms resides. That evil used to only peek out now and then; now it shows up in countless ways, through newspapers, TV news, online blogs, to remind us that it is ever-present.

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I would like the first scene in Black Panther 2 to start in Asmara the capital of Eritrea. The architecture is beautiful as it was built by Italian futurists. In it, Captain America and T’Chala (The Black Panther King of Wakanda for those of you who aren’t geeks) open up an advanced vibranium hospital. (Vibranium […]

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Quote of the Day: Whittaker Chambers on Evil


“I did not know what had happened to me. I denied the very existence of a soul. But I said: ‘This is evil, absolute evil. Of this evil I am a part.'” — Whittaker Chambers

To paraphrase Jordan Peterson, it amazes me that modern intellectuals don’t believe in evil anymore. The 20th century made evil so bloody obvious. Dennis Prager also has a nice line about evil: “Those who don’t fight the greatest evils will fight lesser evils or make-believe evils.”