Here we come to the crux of the matter between Conservatives and Liberals. Liberals do not believe in evil. Oh, they believe in evil acts but not in the existence of pure evil itself. And evil acts are always explained away by some deprivation of the evil doer. Without a belief in evil itself, then Liberals have no impetus to combat evil, since it doesn’t exist. Liberals blame society and all the lack of attention to eliminating poverty, sickness, disease, economic inequality, depression, mental illness and Hate Speech, and of course GUNS. Hence you get the Liberal line, – If we could only get ISIS members good jobs they would not be doing what they are doing. Poppycock!
Conservatives believe that pure evil does exist and the way to a better society is to be constantly combating evil, not the symptoms but evil itself. Instead of battling the symptoms of a disease Conservatives would rather attack the disease itself.
Liberals cannot fathom an individual going into a church, sitting there for almost an hour and listening to the prayers of the people and then getting up and murdering those gathered one by one – FOR NO REASON AT ALL! That’s what Liberals say – for no reason at all. But there is a reason they refuse to recognize – that the shooter was evil and it was pure evil that made him do it, no extenuating circumstances – just evil.
Dennis Prager says that this division between Liberals and Conservatives stems from each sides view of human nature. Liberals believe humans are born basically good. Conservatives believe they are born flawed and neither good or evil but are open to a life where they can choose one path or the other.
Difference No. 1: Is Man Basically Good?
Left-of-center doctrines hold that people are basically good. On the other side, conservative doctrines hold that man is born morally flawed — not necessarily born evil, but surely not born good. Yes, we are born innocent — babies don’t commit crimes, after all — but we are not born good. Whether it is the Christian belief in Original Sin or the Jewish belief that we are all born with a yetzer tov (good inclination) and a yetzer ra (bad inclination) that are in constant conflict, the root value systems of the West never held that we are naturally good.
To those who argue that we all have goodness within us, two responses:
First, no religion or ideology denies that we have goodness within us; the problem is with denying that we have badness within us. Second, it is often very challenging to express that goodness. Human goodness is like gold. It needs to be mined — and like gold mining, mining for our goodness can be very difficult.
This so important to understanding the left-right divide because so many fundamental left-right differences emanate from this divide.
Perhaps the most obvious one is that conservatives blame those who engage in violent criminal activity for their behavior more than liberals do. Liberals argue that poverty, despair, and hopelessness cause poor people, especially poor blacks — in which case racism is added to the list — to riot and commit violent crimes.
Here is President Barack Obama on May 18, 2015:
“In some communities, that sense of unfairness and powerlessness has contributed to dysfunction in those communities. … Where people don’t feel a sense of hope and opportunity, then a lot of times that can fuel crime and that can fuel unrest. We’ve seen it in places like Baltimore and Ferguson and New York. And it has many causes — from a basic lack of opportunity to some groups feeling unfairly targeted by their police forces.”
So, poor blacks who riot and commit other acts of violence do so largely because they feel neglected and suffer from deprivations.
Since people are basically good, their acts of evil must be explained by factors beyond their control. Their behavior is not really their fault; and when conservatives blame blacks for rioting and other criminal behavior, liberals accuse them of “blaming the victim.”
In the conservative view, people who do evil are to be blamed because they made bad choices — and they did so because they either have little self-control or a dysfunctional conscience. In either case, they are to blame. That’s why the vast majority of equally poor people — black or white — do not riot or commit violent crimes.
Likewise, many liberals believe that most of the Muslims who engage in terror do so because of the poverty and especially because of the high unemployment rate for young men in the Arab world. Yet, it turns out that most terrorists come from middle class homes. All the 9/11 terrorists came from middle- and upper-class homes. And of course Osama bin Laden was a billionaire.
Material poverty doesn’t cause murder, rape or terror. Moral poverty does. That’s one of the great divides between left and right. And it largely emanates from their differing views about whether human nature is innately good.
How come we don’t do anything about it, Gutfeld repeats what others say? Maybe, just maybe, if the Left would admit that evil exists, our whole focus on preventing such evil would change and we could get a better handle on thwarting those who are evil.
Prager’s column reprinted here is the first in a four part series. The rest of the columns are: