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Posted by on Jun 14, 2012 in Politics, Society | 11 comments

Quote Of The Day

The Quote of the Day comes from Mike Krieger:

We must admit to ourselves that there are truly evil geniuses out there, and in most cases these characters have taken control of the power structure (corporations, politics and factions of the military in most of the nations we reside in).  The necessary action is not for good people to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that such people do not exist.  We must get inside their minds.  We must acknowledge and accept their presence as well as their power and then work tirelessly to relieve them of it.  As Irish statesmen, author and philosopher Edmund Burke so eloquently stated: “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Let’s just do it already.

Think Jamie Dimon.

Cross posted at Newshoggers

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • Dr. J

    A great idea. Identifying specific people one believes evil would be way better than the general conspiracy theorizing that passes for liberal thought. And understanding what’s going on in their minds would be way better than than reflexive demonizing.

    But beware. This may uncover decent people acting rationally based on their own circumstances. May prove hazardous to black-and-white world views.

  • zephyr

    “the general conspiracy theorizing that passes for liberal thought” – Dr. J

    Did you really just say that??? Physician, heal thyself.

    Moving right along… Great quote Ron. I don’t believe in Satan or hell, but I sure do believe evil can exist in the hearts humans, and there are degrees of evil. Lack of conscience, lack of empathy, a philosophy of greed (both for riches and power) are pretty good starts down that road. Yes, they are among us and the population is suprisingly slow to to react. Maybe that will change. I hope so..

  • merkin

    Undoubtedly the wizards of Wall Street and the corporate executives including the Koch brothers are acting rationally and in their own self-interests. And they feel that their interests correspond to the best interests of nation. And I have no doubt that the dons of the mafia feel the same way. They are just wrong.

    I am reading about Gresham’s Dynamic, the idea that if you allow bad behavior those behaving badly will eventually crowd out all of those trying to behave well. Dishonest businessmen will drive honest businessmen out. So the cost of the dishonesty is not just to those being cheated, it is also the loss of the honest businesses. The mortgage loan fraud that caused the current recession is an example of that. The brokers and auditors who complained about the liars loans and refused to write them where pushed out because the business went to those who were willing to write them.

  • Dr. J

    Did you really just say that???

    I did. Check out Merkin’s comment above. References to shadowy, malevolent groups conspiring against the forces of good. He’s appealing to an absurd caricature of “corporate executives” which wouldn’t stand up to a real examination of how companies run or what they do. Liberal writers on here routinely do the same thing, and advocate policies based on that caricature.

    So yes, this is not thoughtful reasoning. It’s conspiracy theorizing.

  • merkin

    You don’t need wild conspiracy theorizing when the facts support you. The CEO’s and executives who caused the mortgage fraud were acting in their own rational self-interest when they destroyed their companies, the ones that weren’t to big to fail, to earn their bonuses.

    The problem is that they violated numerous laws doing it. Laws that weren’t enforced by regulators who were anti-regulation and were intent on proving that the laws and regulations weren’t needed and that the CEO’s and executives were honest businessmen who would self-regulate. The anti-regulation regulators and the administration that appointed them had never heard of Gresham’s dynamic. The honest businessmen were squeezed out.

  • zephyr

    Dr. J, you might want to set the shovel aside while you can still get out of the hole.

  • roro80

    I don’t know…I find it just as unlikely that these megabazillionaires are “evil” as I do that they are the benevolent superman titans of industry that libertarians make them out to be. They are, like the rest of us, subject to a range of reactions based upon the conditions and stimuli they encounter. Unfortunately, their conditions and stimuli at this point in time are that they can do any awful hateful or dishonest thing to increase their megabazillions, and they far and away will be rewarded instead of punished for those actions. I think most of us, given these conditions, would end up looking “evil” after a while too.

    The rest of us do suffer, to greater or lesser degrees, due to dishonest or hateful behavior, so carrying out scams and schemes that cost the US economy trillions is not something that we generally consider proper, because we’d be taken out back to be shot.

    Forcing someone to work in horrible conditions for crap wages and no benefits? I don’t own my own manufacturing line or mine or Alaskan fishing company, so “hey! I’m going to put you in a room with no ventillation making you do grueling repetative work and shrug my shoulders when our out-of-date equipment falls and crushes your leg” is not something that would go over too well.

    There’s of course a pretty good bell curve of variation in natural personality traits, but I think there are very few people who are really “evil”. Our actions are a product of our pasts, our conditions, and our stimuli.

    The point: if we as a society don’t want “evil” behavior for the uber-rich, we should not reward evil behavior in the way that we do.

  • slamfu

    Well when it comes to the ability of large corporations to screw the public, and even their own employees over I don’t we are in conspiracy land anymore. History has shown the appalling working conditions tolerated back before we had safety regulations. How many examples are there of companies knowingly and willfully putting toxic waste into communities in the name of cutting corners, or “externalizing” costs such as disposal and clean up? Lots and lots. Hell, don’t even bother with a history book, just look at China.

    And the Koch brothers aren’t shadowy. Their goals and dealings are relatively well documented and there is little they support that is in the public’s best interests. A non shadowy conspiracy would be the best way to describe those guys. A well lit conspiracy. They just do a good job of redirecting the spotlight elsewhere to keep people distracted.

    Basically, anyone who can look at history and come to the conclusion that the general populace doesn’t need someone looking out for them is just being willfully ignorant. That someone is supposed to be the government. The government of the last decade was asleep at the wheel, and look what happened. Asleep at the wheel is putting it charitably, more like bribed to take a break and look the other way as the cargo was looted the public was fleeced. This isn’t supposition, it happened. We are still dealing with its effects.

  • Dr. J

    The point: if we as a society don’t want “evil” behavior for the uber-rich, we should not reward evil behavior in the way that we do.

    I think there’s great start for a sensible policy discussion in there, Roro: looking at what’s motivating people, including the incentives and disincentives laws create, and what would be the consequences for changing them.

    That’s quite a bit different from categorizing people as good or evil and treating them accordingly. Someone “evil” isn’t going to turn “good” (or vice-versa) just because you’ve tweaked a few laws. So the labels aren’t a helpful guide to policy, which is all about how we should tweak laws.

  • zephyr

    I’m sure slavery wasn’t considered “evil” by the people who were depending on it for their incomes either. Times change and that includes the evolution of sensibilities. Unfortunately it also sometimes means the devolution of sensibilities. What slam said.

  • Dr. J

    There’s a different between calling slavery evil and calling the people who support it evil.

    Once you make the evil about them and not about the policy, you lose choices for coming to a resolution. You can’t negotiate with evil, you have to go to war with it.

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