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Study Evil or Punish It?

Richard Dawkins’ response to the execution of Saddam Hussein is textbook liberalism. Dawkins is a British ethologist and evolutionary biologist, an outspoken atheist and humanist. As such, he sounds the normal leftist trump:

Political scientists of the future, studying the processes by which unscrupulous leaders arise and take over national institutions, have now lost key evidence forever. But perhaps the most isaddam.jpgmportant research in which a living Saddam Hussein could have helped is psychological. Most people can’t even come close to understanding how any man could be so cruel as Hitler or Saddam Hussein, or how such transparently evil monsters could secure sufficient support to take over an entire country. What were the formative influences on these men? Was it something in their childhood that turned them bad? In their genes? In their testosterone levels? Could the danger have been nipped in the bud by an alert psychiatrist before it was too late? How would Hitler, or Saddam Hussein have responded to a different style of education? We don’t have a clear answer to these questions. We need to do the research.

One of the glaring deficiencies of modern liberalism is its inability to realistically address the problem of evil. Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein are not seen as bad men worthy of punishment, but evolutionary anomalies, byproducts of faulty environments, poor education, and abnormally high testosterone levels. So instead of the hangman, Dawkins and his ilk recommend “an alert psychiatrist.”

I have one question: Why do liberals always want to study men like this, instead of men like this? I think we can glean a lot more from the good, than the twisted. Why? Because the good are far more rare than the twisted.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Ame January 8, 2007, 5:16 AM

    i’m with ya all the way

    evil needs to go – nothing can be gained from evaluating slime

    that man does deserve to be a hero – that is an amazing story

  • janet January 8, 2007, 1:44 PM

    They are just blind. Even a brief glance at history testifies to the sinful nature of mankind. It defies all common sense to deny the sinful nature of man. To find the cause, one need only read Genesis. To find the cure, the Gospels. Until they find the truth, they’ll continue to believe that man is basically good, a creature of great potential, just needing more education, less poverty, freedom to do whatever they wish…

  • Jordan January 8, 2007, 1:51 PM

    You’re obviously implying that all people are “twisted.” But that’s a pretty subjective assessment. If all people are twisted, then how can there even be subway heroes? Wouldn’t that imply peoiple aren’t so bad that they can’t be good?


    PS: I like the Beck quote in your sidebar.

  • Mike Duran January 8, 2007, 2:23 PM

    Thanks for your comment, Jordan. It’s a terrific point. The theological term for “twisted” is “depraved.” Human depravity is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. Briefly stated, depravity does not mean people are as bad as they can be, but as bad off as they can be. Serial killers are capable of being kind, generous and courteous. And subway heroes are capable of theft, spousal abuse and murder. Good actions do not necessarily make someone good. This is why the Bible teaches that good works do not save us. If we could be saved by doing good deeds, then Christ need not have died.

    My post is not meant to imply that acts of heroism save someone (spiritually speaking). The “Hero of Harlem” still needs God’s grace or he may inevitably end up in the same place as Saddam. My real intent was to ponder the reason why liberals are compelled to study evil rather than punish it. Their perspective on human nature makes them incapable of realistically addressing its flaws.

  • Mike Duran January 8, 2007, 2:29 PM

    Janet, your point reminds me of G.K. Chesterton’s position that sin is the only empirically verifiable Christian doctrine. It’s an important concept, and one worth remembering. We may not be able to “prove” without dispute that God exists and the Bible is His Word. But we can “prove” that people are sinners, that we are all deeply flawed. One only needs to study human history. Better yet: One only needs to look in the mirror.

  • Gina Holmes January 8, 2007, 3:09 PM

    I don’t know about liberals, but I’ve been guilty of being fascinated with the sludge of society. What makes a serial killer do what he has? Lately I’ve had more of my focus on those who succeed(and my definition of success ain’t the world’s). What do the great achievers do to get where they are? Guess what? I’m much happier with my focus up instead of down. Maybe there’s something to Phillipians 4:8. 🙂 Interesting as always, Mike.

  • Ismael Gallo January 18, 2007, 3:59 AM

    I believe we owe it to those who were killed by these men to study what made these men commit such evil acts. In studying Saddam and Hitler, we are giving ourselves a better chance of finding the next monster. Also, we must never forget the millions who followed these men. What becomes of them? On the other hand, I feel that we must also shine light on the humans who are perpetually good. We owe it to human kind to focus on both, good and evil (the ying and the yang). I think to be on either extreme only creates separation, and right now, that is the last thing we need

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