I mentioned in a previous article that we create laws with the idea that people are good and just need the right rules. Many of the ideologies floating around in our modern societies extol the virtues of human goodness. These sorts of viewpoints assume that human beings are naturally good entities and it is because of circumstance or situation that we end up doing bad things. We are not inherently evil, we just react to the world in evil ways because we are forced to due to events that are outside our control. In essence, we are conditioned to be evil because that’s how society trains us to be.
The naivete of this world view never ceases to exasperate me. It is exceedingly difficult for me to follow the logic behind these kinds of statements. The evidence simply doesn’t bear out this “best case scenario” ideology, most significantly because we see horrible behavior in all strata of society. People do evil things to each other in all walks of human life, not just in the places where life is filled with burden.
It isn’t difficult to come up with examples of people being naturally evil. If you walk by a homeless person and are more concerned with not being made to feel uncomfortable than feeling sympathy for their situation, that’s evil. If you’ve ever dangerously cut someone off in traffic because you’ve decided your time is more valuable than another’s, that’s evil. If you’ve ever gossiped about your friends because the topic was just “too juicy” to leave alone, that’s evil. If you’ve ever done anything in your life that was good for you but bad for someone else, you have evil inside you.
We are all a mix of good and evil. The evil part of us is not dependent on the world around it; it is that part of us that is selfish to the point that we are willing to do whatever we must to get what we want. Selfishness is part of our biological need to survive. Society is the net that contains that evil, not the fire that creates it. It is in spite of civilization that human evil exists, not because of it. As long as a human being stands to gain at the expense of others, evil will exist.
This lengthy lead up about evil takes me to one of the topics that is most important to me: self defense. If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know that I am very pro Second Amendment. One of the goals of this blog, in addition to talking about how we look at our society in general, is to build a case for why firearms are an important part of a free society. When we talk about legitimate reasons why deadly force might be required, understanding the concept of innate human evil becomes a necessity.
We’ve all been in situations where we felt very real fear of danger. No matter how sheltered we may have been as children, once we go out into the world the safety of our homes is cast aside and we are exposed to the ugly reality of the public. It might have been walking past a group of very scary looking men, or driving through a dangerous neighborhood, or even just watching riots and looting on the news. The adult life is one where fear is never far away, and that fear is completely justified. There are people out there who truly want to hurt you.
If we can understand this most basic fact of human life, and set aside the unrealistic expectation that we can somehow legislate people into behaving the way we would like them to, it then falls to us to thing pragmatically about how we’re going to deal with the evil that our world throws at us. Unfortunately, part of this way of thinking requires that we seriously consider that we may have to take a life to save our own.
No reasonable person wants to kill. For the vast majority of people, the thought of killing someone turns our stomachs. It is incomprehensible to us to think that we could ever take someone’s life, primarily because we’re so afraid of losing our own. Our society is built around trying to build a construct that shields us from the necessity of repelling violence and potentially having to go through a “kill or be killed” situation.
The unfortunate reality is that there is no construct we could ever build that would completely protect us from this continually existent threat. At any point you can walk around a corner and have a criminal ready to hurt you. What do you do then? Call the police? Even in the most responsive areas, they won’t arrive in time to save you. The best they can do is clean up the mess and try to find the person who did it. You’re on your own.
The goal of this post isn’t to rehash points I’ve already made, however. The arguments about police response time have already been covered. My primary goal with this post is to bring the human nature argument to the forefront of the discussion. Once we accept that we can’t stop bad people from doing bad things, it becomes much more difficult to continue imposing laws that only make it harder for law abiding citizens to defend themselves. You can’t justify taking the guns out of the hands of the good guys while simultaneously understanding that the bad guys won’t follow suit. To suggest otherwise is another example of human evil.
There are a lot of reasons to advocate for the protection of our Second Amendment rights, but I don’t know that any of them are as fundamental as understanding the nature of primal evil in human beings. No matter how many rules we put in place or how much we shame those who would break those rules, there will always be people who want to do what they want and damn the rest of us. As long as those people exist, we have to be willing to stand and fight, and that means risking the consequences of that stance.
We’re going to suffer one way or the other. At least with access to adequate means of self defense, we have a fighting chance to ensure the best outcome. If it’s a choice between a person committing acts of evil or you, that isn’t really a difficult choice. You might have to live with some guilt over it, but better than than your family having to live the rest of their lives without you. Sometimes you simply have to choose the lesser of two evils.
What do you think about human nature? Are we naturally evil? What do we need to do to protect ourselves from that evil? This is a conversation that too many politicians are afraid to have, mostly because when they look at themselves they can see that same evil within. As concerned citizens, it is our duty to ensure our voices are heard. What are you willing to do to make sure you can still have that American dream?
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