Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Evil": The Convenient Scapegoat

     Recent events have opened discussions regarding causes of and explanations for horrible occurrences. In weaker moments we might even be looking to blame someone or something. Guns, for example. I am a sensible gun rights advocate. Not that I am sensible, but that sensible gun ownership is possible, and I am in favor of it. Reasonable people should be allowed to own reasonable guns for reasonable reasons.
FOX's Bill O'Reilly frequently admonishes
guests for veering away from facts and into
speculation,  but he is willing to blame "evil"
for tragedies like the Newtown shootings.
     In the darker moments of the "what can we do about this" debate, I have heard pundits like Bill O'Reilly and Mike Huckabee deferring to non-explanations: suggestions that God's removal from schools (Huckabee) invites such horrible events, or apparent helplessness because some malevolent  force of evil  is easier to blame than some personality disorder (Even though O'Reilly himself said that one look at the killer and he knew he was a violent video game addict). The trouble for FOX is that delving into human burdens, more and more the result of the socio-economic impositions of our inequitable and unfairly gamed economy, would then require discussion about social interventions. These conversations are uncomfortable for FOX, and they generally regress to reflexive accusations of "liberalism", "socialism" and "class warfare". Blaming an active, powerful and mysterious force of evil, or the far left godless heathens in public schools, conveniently sidesteps some of the responsibility for addressing societal strains-or for playing a part in causing them.
     Certainly you can't individually and immediately stop a hurricane or halt the receding polar ice. But when natural disasters, unspeakable atrocities, mass shootings or other tragedies that tend to defy comprehension occur, we can't just abdicate the responsibility to learn from them and do what we can to prevent them from happening again. You cannot just shrug off the notion that increased human activity could contribute to climate change, and simply attribute unusual weather to the will of God. Doing that allows polluters to skate scott-free with a shrug, basically saying "Hey, it's up to God to handle this nature stuff, that's his department!" You also can't simply attribute the horrendous actions of troubled individuals to "evil", because it hands power over to intangible forces and  indicates an unwillingness to take on the greater responsibilty to join society in finding potential causes and solutions.Evil is a powerful suggestion, and a tempting scapegoat, but also a convenient excuse.
     To suggest "evil" in the world as the explanation for very troubled people having access to guns, suffering the burdens of whatever unchecked and/or undiagnosed problems they might have, and taking advantage of the opportunity to mix these issues and act out in most decidedly horrible ways provides excuses for the guilty and unwilling.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for responding and commenting. All comments will be reviewed, and only vulgarity and off-topic strangeness will be removed.