Grave Evil, Perverted Courage, and Definition Games
Just a quick refresher. Grave evil loves the big lie, and the two biggest lies it tells are 1) that it is Courageous and 2) that it is just soooo confused about what evil even is.
Perverted Courage is what ties all these brazen attempt to paint the embrace of radical evil as heroism together, from Heinrich Himmler’s secret address given in October 1943 to SS troops carrying out the mass murder of Jews:
I also want to mention a very difficult subject before you here, completely openly.
It should be discussed amongst us, and yet, nevertheless, we will never speak about it in public.
Just as we did not hesitate on June 30 to carry out our duty, as ordered, and stand comrades who had failed against the wall and shoot them.
About which we have never spoken, and never will speak.
That was, thank God, a kind of tact natural to us, a foregone conclusion of that tact, that we have never conversed about it amongst ourselves, never spoken about it, everyone shuddered, and everyone was clear that the next time, he would do the same thing again, if it were commanded and necessary.
I am talking about the “Jewish evacuation”: the extermination of the Jewish people.
It is one of those things that is easily said. “The Jewish people is being exterminated,” every Party member will tell you, “perfectly clear, it’s part of our plans, we’re eliminating the Jews, exterminating them, ha!, a small matter.”
And then along they all come, all the 80 million upright Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. They say: all the others are swine, but here is a first-class Jew.
And none of them has seen it, has endured it. Most of you will know what it means when 100 bodies lie together, when there are 500, or when there are 1000. And to have seen this through, and — with the exception of human weaknesses — to have remained decent, has made us hard and is a page of glory never mentioned and never to be mentioned.
…to P.Z. Myers’ “brave” defense of abortion:
[T]he standard bullying tactics of waving bloody fetuses might cow the squeamish, but I’m a biologist. I’ve guillotined rats. I’ve held eyeballs in my hand and peeled them apart with a pair of scissors. I’ve used a wet-vac to clean up a lake of half-clotted blood from an exsanguinated dog. I’ve opened bodies and watched the intestines do their slow writhing dance, I’ve been elbow deep in blood, I’ve split open cats and stabbed them in the heart with a perfusion needle. I’ve extracted the brains of mice…with a pair of pliers. I’ve scooped brains out of buckets, I’ve counted dendrites in slices cut from the brains of dead babies.
You want to make me back down by trying to inspire revulsion with dead baby pictures? I look at them unflinchingly and see meat. And meat does not frighten me.
…to this story from a Croatian named Vladko Macek, who witnessed the horrors of the Jasenovac death camp as one of the inmates there. In his memoirs, he tells us:
The camp had previously been a brick-yard and was situated on the embankment of the Sava River. In the middle of the camp stood a two storey house, originally erected for the offices of the enterprise . . . The screams and wails of despair and extreme suffering, the tortured outcries of the victims, broken by intermittent shooting, accompanied all my waking hours and followed me into sleep at night.
Macek noted that one of the guards assigned to watch him round the clock crossed himself each night before going to sleep. Macek pointed out
. . . the monstrosity of his actions. I asked if he was not afraid of the punishment of God. “Don’t talk to me about that,” he said, “for I am perfectly aware what is in store for me. For my past present and future deeds I shall burn in hell, but at least I shall burn for Croatia.”
If nuking these cities was a major U.S. war crime, illicit under international law and Church teaching, then we are put in the position of demanding a higher price in blood to salve our consciences. There are times in real life when one must commit a wrong in order to avoid an even greater wrong. These instances arise frequently in wartime. Another example: the terrorist who must be “tortured” in order to find out where the bombs are.
Jimmy, you’re right when you say that we were participating formally in evil when we dropped the bomb. Unfortunately, our participation in evil began almost four years earlier when we entered the war. This is the nature of war. There is much, much evil in it, and we do ourselves a disservice when through our well-meaning but futile efforts to mitigate its evil we prolong it and make it even worse.
Grave evil always announces itself to the world as an act of Courage.
But that’s not all it does. It also loves to pretend utter bafflement about what evil even is. It’s all sooooo confusing!
Torture defenders did this a decade ago, feigning confusion over what, precisely, torture even *was*. Again and again, they asked for super-precise definitions because they just had to know exactly how long you could degrade and humiliate and inflict psychological and physical agonies on somebody before it “crossed the line” into torture. If you want to have a sense of their sincerity in the Hunt for Truth, just picture a dudebro at the gym passionately asking his fellow dudebros just exactly when it crosses the line into adultery when he beds his hot secretary. To even ask the question is already too far, because the point is not to see how close you can get to mortal sin, but to treat your prisoner humanely.
Another sample of such perverted legalism can be seen here:
This, once again, is not even hard. She’s talking about living wage. Only apologists for the denying workers their wages (a sin that cries to heaven for vengeance) find this ever so complicated.
In return for a day’s work, what we require (and what God demands that employers give their workers) is a living wage.
What is a living wage?
A living wage fulfills four criteria:
1. Families can live at a standard of decency appropriate to their society.
The standard of decency changes and evolves over time, of course. Things that an average middle-class American thinks of as normal and ordinary, such as indoor plumbing or glass windows, would have been beyond the means of the wealthiest nobles of Richard Lionheart’s court. Likewise, there are many places in the world where clean tap water is still a dream. But roughly speaking, of course, the idea is that people of average income should be able to live reasonably on the normal spectrum of their society.
2. They do so without working undue hours.
The idea here is a balance between work, leisure, and sleep—about eight hours for each—with a day or two of rest for play and worship. Leisure, not forced labor, is the basis of culture. It is from
leisure time that most of civilization has been born. Making time for play and hobbies and social pursuits and sports and goofing around is how civilizations stay healthy.
3. They do so without both spouses being forced to work outside the home (if they choose to do so, that’s another story) or children forced to work inappropriate hours or under inappropriate conditions.
The Church’s social thought always puts a huge premium on the good of the family and on the chance for children to be children in a secure home close, if possible, to one or both parents.
4. They do so without undue reliance on government support or consumer credit.
In other words, both employers and employees must practice fiscal responsibility. Employers must pay their employees enough that they are not forced to rely on welfare to make up what is insufficient in their pay. (So, for instance, corporate welfare in which taxpayers, not the employer, cover the insufficient wages of workers violates Subsidiarity). Likewise, workers must live within their means and learn to budget so that they can provide for their families, save for the future, and have enough to share with the community.
None of this is new. None of this is even hard to find out. But, of course, the reason the defender of evil asks questions is not to find things out, but to keep from finding things out.
Bear both of these things in mind when you talk to defenders of obvious evil and point their strategies out to them. They hate that, but it is a real shot in the arm for those they gaslight to see clearly the strategies they use in order to oppress, obfuscate, and lie.