Vile BFF’s: Some Ruminations On Evil And Ideology
There has been no greater chronicler of Evil and the mindsets of it’s Servants in all of recorded History than Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. His ruminations on Evil and Ideology show them to be symbiotic, two entities extensively dependent on each other.
Evil is not some distant and separate force that swirls above Mankind. It is a force that permeates every nook and cranny, every aspect, of Life. It is as much a part of Life as is breathing and Love.
As Mr. Solzhenitsyn wrote:
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn’t change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.
Socrates taught us: Know thyself! [The Gulag Archipelago, Volume I]
And Evil flourishes within an individual Soul when a Man decides to reject the advice of Socrates and chooses, instead, to live in Ignorance of the Reality of who he is and what he is.
But Evil needs some kind of fuel to power it, just as it needs people to carry-out it’s desires [ie: evil-doers].
Let us return to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn again:
….Do such people [Evildoers] really exist?
We would prefer to say that such people cannot exist, that there aren’t any. It is permissible to portray evildoers in a story for children, so as to keep the picture simple. But when the great world literature of the past — Shakespeare, Schiller, Dickens — inflates and inflates images of evildoers of the blackest shades, it seems somewhat farcical and clumsy to our contemporary perception. The trouble lies in the way these classic evildoers are pictured. They recognize themselves as evildoers, and they know their souls are black. And they reason: “I cannot live unless I do evil. So I’ll set my father against my brother! I’ll drink the victim’s sufferings until I’m drunk with them!” Iago very precisely identifies his purposes and his motives as being black and born of hate.
But no; that’s not the way it is! To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions.
Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble — and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.
Ideology — that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors. That was how the agents of the Inquisition fortified their wills: by invoking Christianity; the conquerors of foreign lands, by extolling the grandeur of their Motherland; the colonizers, by civilization; the Nazis, by race; and the Jacobins (early and late), by equality, brotherhood, and the happiness of future generations.
Thanks to ideology, the twentieth century was fated to experience evildoing on a scale calculated in the millions. This cannot be denied, nor passed over, nor suppressed. How, then, do we dare insist that evildoers do not exist? And who was it that destroyed these millions? Without evildoers there would have been no [Gulag] Archipelago. [The Gulag Archipelago, Volume I]
Without Evildoers and the Ideologies that drive them, well over 200 million Human Beings would not have perished in the conflagrations that have roared through Mankind since the French Revolution.
That America was able to avoid the worst of the flames was due to it’s uniqueness and Fortune, which always favors the bold and those seeking the Good.
But, slowly at first and now with increasing speed, that Uniqueness is being smothered in the ever-tightening grip of Leftist Ideology.
And it is not just Leftists such as Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and Barack Hussein Obama and his Jarrett Junto that are turning the handles of the Soul-crushing vise, but also the Leftism that runs through each of our all-too-Human Hearts.
Each one of us, to one degree or another, has allowed our Hearts and Minds to be captivated by the seduction of Ideology.
It is all Well and Good and Proper that we resist the Totalitarians in our midst with every ounce of strength we can muster, but, unless we resist the Temptation to Ideology with our own Souls, any external victories we achieve will be short-lived if we do not achieve victory over the Worse Devils of Our Nature.
If the world has not approached its end, it has reached a major watershed in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will demand from us a spiritual blaze; we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life, where our physical nature will not be cursed, as in the Middle Ages, but even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon, as in the Modern Era.The ascension is similar to climbing onto the next anthropological stage.
No one on earth has any other way left but — upward.
—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart