Sunday, November 8, 2009

Evil is as evil does

posted Sat, 20 Nov 2004

At the video store this afternoon – a relatively novel experience for me as I do not own a TV or a VCR but now that Harpo does, I had a reason to go – I was drawn into a political discussion. The clerk and I were talking about movies and comparing Spinal Tap to the Metallica movie. He told me that he wanted to see the Metallica movie but didn’t want to pay for it because he is upset about Metallica and what they have done with Napster.

I told him I understood – that I had not seen “The Motorcycle Diaries” for the same reason – that I refused to put any money toward perpetuating the myth of Che Guevara as hero when he was in reality an evil man.

The guy standing behind me chimed in with his completely unsolicited opinion and said, “It’s not that simple.”

I turned around and said, “He chose to do evil things.” What I should have said was, “What’s not simple about it? Explain to me how helping impose a totalitarian regime is not evil?”

What I did manage to say was, “My friend Laura’s father spent four years in one of Castro’s prison camps. Those people who think Castro is such a neat guy are deluded. People are not dying trying to get to Cuba from the US. I have lived in countries where there are totalitarian regimes. I thank God I am an American.”

What I did not say but what was implicit was that Che helped create that entire system. Of course, if this guy learns his history from Oliver Stone movies and the like, then he might not know that. Even so.

I was so mad I couldn’t even look at the guy. Then I was even madder at myself for not defending my point of view more strongly, although Harpo pointed out that I had not exactly backed down.

Who are these people who can look at evil and say, “It’s not that simple?” What’s so hard about it? We have free will. We can choose how we live our lives. We can choose whether to do evil or to do good. Those who choose evil, like imprisoning and killing people for disagreeing with the government, are evil. Seems simple enough to me.

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