Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Show Of Evil

Tel Aviv, Israel

- What's so bad about this country?
- You don't want to know.
- Yes, I do. I don't hear this kind of thing.
- Given the choice between a government murdering its people under the pretext of purifying life, and a democratic government expressing the idea there is no better and worse way to live, we choose to pretend to tolerate publicly what we privately believe is wrong. One definition of evil is an individual doing what he knows, from his own experience and judgement is wrong, for the sake of benefit in doing what his group asks of him. Alright?
- Every day in Israel people tell me they know what they are doing is wrong, but that's how it is. Everything is money.
- We got it from your country, the United States.
- Probably. But there is a difference.
- What?
- Knowing it's wrong and doing it anyway.
- You think Americans don't know they're doing something wrong?
- They don't say they know.
- If people know something is bad why would they do it?
- You've read Plato?
- Yes.
- No one very knowingly does wrong. I agree.
- What's the difference then?
- The rudeness of the people here is not carelessness or indifference, but a show of evil, display not actual violence.
- Why?
- Why would people want to make a show of evil? Because they are the people who make their deals directly with god, not with each other.
- You're saying we're rude because of our religion?
- Yes. Not the rules, but way of life. The religion defending itself against democratic dissolution.
- Then what's wrong?
- Nothing, if you stand back and see your country as just another idiosyncratic form of democracy. But when you are in the middle of it, meeting individual to individual, someone who declares himself evil is fair game.
- Fair game for what?
- Mockery, criticism, the use we put words to in own real attempt to discover better and worse.
- Why not turn your back on them?
- Because it is useful to fight, to take up the open declaration, to clarify what is evil.
- You're a good man.
- As people like to tell me here.
- You don't like it.
- Being thanked for making their show of evil more impressive? No, I don't like it.

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