Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Problems of Evil; Or, Some Moral Conundra

It has long seemed to me that a wholly contrarian argument can be made for faith, something like: we approach God not through truth, but through that other indisputable good, freedom. Faith allows us to transcend by invlolving what is best in man. Thus, any fool can believe the obvious, the plausible; it takes a real free-thinker to believe the absurdities (like say, the Holy Trinity).* Of course, certain churls might counter: Any coward can believe a pretty story about heavenly rewards, unconditional love, et cetera; it takes courage to face the truth, to see 'nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.'

In any case, it is certain that the Devil is more plausible than God; he seems to be (you may note this theme elsewhere in the blog) manifest infinitely more often in human acts and affairs. That is perhaps why devils are so often represented in our myths, our fictions; they seem to lend verisimilitude. Indeed, I can very nearly credit the operation of an Evil Genius in history, in the way good intentions and ostensible boons are so often and so perfectly perverted, in the way efforts to undo evil so consistently broadcast it exponentially. It strongly implies or conjures a spectral being, Evil, whose one love, one mission, is the perversion of the Good. And certainly it seems that evil's genius which operationalizes its useful concepts, more properly the prisoners of impotent infernal fantasies, and causes them to be mirrored, with the predictable travesty-inversions, in the real world.

For instance: the Clarence Thomas nomination, a perverse affirmative action, predicated in the President's outright lie, itself a perfect travesty of meritocratic promotion, "He is the best qualified at this time." Thus did George H.W. Bush -- in what doubtless seemed an irresistably "sweet deal" (as his son Neil might put it), a deal recommended to him, like Iran Contra, by the suckerbait "win-win" imprimatur of the Devil -- further toxify political discourse; add poison to race-relations, sully the Supreme Court and quite literally "justice" in the person of a lecher perjurer and, most crucially, a resentful hack, incapable of disinterested judgment; besmirch the charitable intention of affirmative action with its worst-case operation, and degrade the concept and even possibility of meritocracy. If there is a Satan there was much jubilation in Hell that day.

Another instance: When a dominant political party's power is predicated in its appeal to voters who imagine that people of a certain ethnicity are morally inferior to themselves, and therefore are deservedly disenfranchised, exploited or even exterminated, then if a person of said scapegoated ethnicity provides assistance, comfort or cover to that party, he or she demonstrates, at best, a very flexible conscience, and more often operationalizes two favorite racist concepts: the hypothetical moral inferiority, and race treason. Very often such people will prove prodigiously corrupt, callous, and hypocritical. See: the aforementioned Clarence, Colin, and Condi, and this creep: NRO's Delroy Murdoch, a pro-torture black man with the conscience of a Klansman.

* The contrarian's faith dovetails nicely with several other of my pet theories. As Kierkegaard was wont to observe, the power of a creed springs abundantly from its inwardness. If it arises within or along with our individuation, our self-synthesis, it resonates much more for us, within us. It may then be essential that it be arbitrary or even contrary. It is like a hobby or a sports affiliation, which is much more intrinsic to selfhood (though wrongly regarded as trivial) than say, a profession or avocation, because its choice is not apparently militated by practciality or circumstance, rather it is chosen against circumstance. (Red Sox fandom, for instance, being much more powerful that Redskin boosterism.) Remember, it is often the ostensibly trivial that is crucial. Or as Wilde put it perversely: Only the superficial do not judge by appearances.


Post a Comment

<< Home