I didn’t think yours was a rant, and one needs to generalize in a format like this. Otherwise you’d have to write a multi-volume book ;)

My response comes from a concern I have that is feeling more urgent with the current crisis. There is a strong and very human tendency to a) look for an enemy and, once identified b) dehumanize that enemy. I see article after blog post after comment that do this, and I stick my nose into such conversations to make the point that any such identification that is stated as self-evident truth is automatically in error, and dangerous.

I have had plenty of experience with people who might be formally diagnosed as narcissists and sociopaths, so I understand your anger and concern. And you are not wrong that such people can and do gain a great deal of power in our world and use that power for the purpose of self-enrichment or self-aggrandizement or both. Someone with power over only one other person does it, and so does the person with power over an entire country. The latter harms more lives, but the mechanism is the same.

You didn’t use the word “evil” — I did. And I did so purposely; You identified a subset of human beings, ascribed most or all of our societal problems to their actions, and declared they could not be “fixed” — meaning that they can’t be changed for the better. I posit that a person who causes the suffering of others and cannot be redeemed can accurately be called “evil”.

But there lies the rub. If I claim I can spot the evil people, and point to them and convince others I am right, I can argue that we need to eliminate the evil people. They can’t be fixed after all, and they are the source of our suffering. If we don’t eliminate them, we will never solve our problems.

And to flip the coin — if I can do this then you can too. So can anyone else. History shows this has been done many times, and will continue to be done. And history also shows that we don’t even have to tell the truth, or prove our contention, to convince others to destroy the people we identify.

I don’t think you are wrong when you point to certain people and argue that they have power they are misusing. But while your rhetoric was not inflammatory, the underlying premises of your argument still held that they are the source of our problems, and they can’t be “fixed”. Anyone can pick that up and use it to answer the question such logic begs — “what is to be done with these people?”

Once asked, someone has always provided an answer.

“Heaven is a library of every book ever written, eternity to sit and read, and a bottomless cup of the best coffee.”

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