Decoding the Political Buzzwords of 2012
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Another word I’ve been hearing a lot is “evil,” not simply as a description of what happened but as an explanatory hypothesis — evil as a force that will have its way in the world whatever we try to do to stop it. The American Spectator’s John R. Coyne, Jr. made a remark that went viral on the right: “There is evil in the world. It’s beyond mental illness, beyond gun control. It is evil.” It’s a counsel of helplessness: it kicks the whole problem upstairs to an insoluble theological mystery. But it’s a meretricious non-sequitur. “There will always be evil” — you could say exactly the same thing to demonstrate the futility of trying to curb child abuse or insider trading. There are always germs in the world, too.