by Jim Davidson on Friday, April 1, 2011 at 10:45pm
Evil is as evil does. The work of government is funded by theft. Much of the work involves crime: stealing, killing, raping, torturing, accepting stolen funds, and preventing people from having the peaceful enjoyment of their property (theft, vandalism). We identify these actions in the mundane populace as crime, or “mala in se.” “Evil in itself” because there is a victim who is harmed in each case.
Giving these actions colour of law and putting pretty hats and badges on those engaged in them does not change their character. The actions continue to be mala in se. The victims are very real.
What is hinted at is not religion in the sense of organised hierarchy but ethics and morality, right and wrong, as guided by discovered foundational principles such as the zero aggression principle.
Calling it religion to dismiss it does not advance the cause of creating a society based on voluntary ideas.
Most organised religion has served, in the past, as a form of government. Much of organised religious behaviour is “mala in se.” Such as Catholic priests raping children and the pope using treaty obligations (with, e.g., Belgium) to try to cover up the crimes and prevent the criminals from paying compensation and being restricted from future criminal conduct toward children.
When someone does something that is “mala in se” which is “evil in itself” or “wrong in itself” by causing harm to a victim – and I think we should focus initially on physical harm, harm to person, harm to property, and eventually on other meaningful harm to dignity, reputation, etc. – then that person cannot be rehabilitated into a free society of equals without making up for the harm caused. Merely stopping what they have been doing is not enough.
If someone comes to my ranch and steals one of my sheep, that is wrong. That harms me. To say that this person has been “cured” or has done enough to be regarded as normal, non-evil, non-criminal, or good merely because they have stopped is obviously silly. It is insufficient on its face.
To make up for the crime, the sheep would have to be returned to me, or an equivalent sheep of equal or greater value. Also, I would have to be compensated for the time and effort to seek out the criminal, find them, bind them for justice, find the person who judges them, and have that person meet with the person who judges me to render judgement. The court would have to be compensated for their time and costs in adjudicating the dispute. If the sheep were female and bore a lamb or lambs, I would have to be compensated for those, as well. My losses due to not having the sheep in my possession for a period of time would have to be compensated. The court in its judgement might assign other compensation to be paid based on the circumstances of the case.
I believe that once compensation has been made, the crime is erased. The evil has been made good. The wrong is undone. I say erased in the sense of -1 + 1 = 0. Not erased as in forgotten. The insurance company or family that has responsibility for the liabilities of the criminal ought to safeguard against future costs by watching that person closely, perhaps offering training and discussion which would encourage the person to do no wrong again. Go now and sin no more.
Obviously, in cases like murder and rape the compensation might be more extensive. It might not be possible to make up for the crime, ever.
I believe that people know right from wrong and can tell a hawk from a handsaw when the wind is Southerly.
But suppose they were confused? So what? They were “only following orders”? They were “just doing our jobs”? These have the stench of the Nuremberg defense. Every single person has a conscience. Every single person is responsible, individually, for their actions. Whether they were duped, distracted, kept ignorant, or not. Doing things that are wrong remains wrong, and the responsibility remains with the person acting. We call this relationship between actions and their consequences “karma.” Karma is a word meaning “actions have consequences.” A special case is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.