Throughout human history, spiritual leaders, philosophers, scholars, poets and other artists have pondered the nature of human evil, why some individuals harm other individuals, particularly those whom they have never met and about whom they know nothing — or about whom they have heard only rumor.
Sometimes, as in Burgas, Bulgaria last week, a nefarious ideology motivates the killer to act against his fellow man. In those cases, we can say that the evil is clearly politically motivated.
In all too many cases, as this past Friday in Aurora, Colorado and last January in Tucson, Arizona, the murderer did not act to further some cause, but instead sought to exorcize his own personal demons.
Despite the absence of evidence tying the killer to any causes, certain voices, particularly prominent in our culture, opine that he was motivated by some cause they suspect or insist on using his action to attack their ideological adversaries. Instead of helping us understand the killer’s motivations, these individuals only reveal their own prejudices. They act as if their partisan opponents seek to further evil — or perhaps just promote violence.
There has been no evidence that Tea Party protesters advocate violence, yet some of our friends in the legacy media have been all too eager to tie them to violence and murder. It is doubtful that these folks ever rushed to blame left-of-center or anti-Western groups for similar actions.
Some do believe, though, that all violent acts have conservative causes.
There was, however, Paul Mirengoff laments, a time
when no one attempted to tie mass murder by random sickos to politics. For example, I don’t remember anyone wondering about the politics of Richard Speck, the killer of Chicago student nurses, or Charles Whitman, the University of Texas shooter.
Perhaps, until recently, people appreciated that there are some things of which we simply cannot make sense. It is only human to want to make sense of the world. Indeed, the great Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed we could bear any suffering if we could find its meaning.
We may not be able to find meaning in the Aurora murders — or in the Tucson shooting. And it is unfortunate that some would seek to give them a political gloss.
As have our forebears, we should instead accept the reality of human evil — as strive as did they (and as do many today) to overcome it. And we must always bear in mind that that striving, when the cause of the evil is not political, but, as in the recent shooting, a, shall we say, “defect” in the human condition, is not a political one.