Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Necessary. Evil.

I don't believe in such a thing as a "necessary evil". If something is evil it can't be necessary.

But there is a different category that sounds the same: Necessary. Evil.

One good example is the "drivers license".

Having one is "necessary" for those of us who wish to travel by personal vehicle, in order for us to avoid being murdered by any enforcers we encounter.

And it is completely and inexcusably evil for The State to require drivers to possess one.



  1. Kent, I like the way you think. It's clear. It's honest.

    One issue, however. You're correct on the topic you're speaking about. But evil is the privation of a due good. There are two kinds of evil: moral evil (the kind you were speaking of), and natural evil. An example of a natural evil would be having a tooth pulled. It is a natural evil to lose a tooth: you are supposed to have a certain number of them. If you're missing one, it is a lack, or privation of a something that should be there. So while you are correct that there is never such a thing as a "necessary" moral evil, there is such a thing as a necessary natural evil.

  2. Having a tooth pulled is not a happy event, but I wouldn't consider it evil. Just life. Sometimes life is a pain, and it is never "fair". The Universe doesn't "owe" me a full set of teeth just because anatomy books tell me how many I "should" have.

    I think following that line of thinking would lead to socialism where you can claim that person A owes person B food, housing, or health care because those things are necessary for life.

    Teeth, food, housing, health care, happiness... Those things are not "due me", but no one has the right to prevent me from providing them for myself as long as I don't initiate force or steal them. And if I already have them, and obtained them honestly, it would be evil of someone to take or destroy them without my consent.

  3. Kent,

    I think you're looking at the word "due" the wrong way. "Due good" means something that ought to exist in a particular war. Not "must" be. I'll try to elaborate.

    Is the pain of a tooth being pulled "good?" Is pain a good thing in itself? If not, it is an evil. A "due" good is a good that should be present due to the nature of a thing. Such as eyesight. By nature, we should have two eyes.

    It is as you said: the universe doesn't "owe" you anything. But you should, by your nature as a human being, have a certain number of teeth. Down's syndrome is a genetic trisomy, a bad thing. That's not to say that the people suffering from Down's syndrome are themselves bad, only that the genetic problem is just that, a problem. A bad thing. A natural evil. It is a disorder of the proper human genetic structure.

    Is it "good" if someone doesn't have teeth, food, housing, healthcare or happiness? No. It's bad. Everyone would admit that. It is an evil. They should have teeth, food, housing, healthcare and happiness. But there are certain moral ways of obtaining those things, and certain immoral ways of obtaining those things. Just because it is a bad thing, the lack of the good that should be there, does not impose an obligation upon anyone else to give them to the person. Now, a moral obligation may exist to help someone who is truly down on his luck. But that is a moral obligation, not something that can be forced at gunpoint.

    Likewise, a moral evil (as I consider lying: stating an untruth with the intent to deceive) does not mean that we may use violence to make someone good. In fact, it's an impossibility to make someone good. Humans have free will, and any attempt to coerce that free will is an attempt to contradict an intrinsic part of human nature. And that is a moral evil. People should have an uncoerced will.