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Thread: The Face of Evil - Claire Wolfe

  1. #1

    The Face of Evil - Claire Wolfe

    An excellent piece by Claire Wolfe. It's from a LONG time ago, but just as relevant now as ever.


    It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satisfied; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. - C. S. Lewis


    The Face of Evil


    Evil came to my door today. It arrived in a most mundane disguise.

    It came in the form of a tiny, slender middle-aged woman -- a woman whose undistinguished face I've already forgotten, though she left only an hour ago. She said she was running for state legislature and wanted my vote.

    I looked at the brochure she'd handed me, scanning for a party affiliation. I didn't immediately see one, but her list of qualifications -- wife and mother, advocate for children, schoolteacher, lobbyist for school funds, promoter of infant immunizations, organizer of the state's breastfeeding taskforce -- told her story.

    I could see at a glance that, under the various issue listings, from Economy to State Lands, every bit of text was actually concerned, one way or another, with education.

    "How do you recommend improving the schools?" I asked.

    "Well..." she stumbled, as though the question were unexpected. "Well...class size is very important. We have to have smaller class sizes. That will be expensive, of course. But if teachers get more one-on-one class time, children will grow up to be better citizens and taxpayers."

    "How much more will that cost than we're spending now?"

    "Well..." The pause again. "Well...I don't know exactly. But smaller classes are _very_ important. We just have to have however much more money it takes. I think of it an investment. Better educated children will grow up to pay more taxes."

    She looked up at me earnestly, as if, yes, all Baby Boomers would be delighted to know their children would someday pay even more taxes to support an even bigger government for their sake.

    "Where would the money come from?"

    "Well, you know, we'll just have to find it somehow if we want our children to grow up to be better citizens and taxpayers. Teaching children to write and things like that is very labor-intensive, you know, and there's no possible way to do it without more taxes of some sort."

    I wished her luck and sent her on her way. I was stunned -- though not really surprised -- by her lack of depth in her alleged specialty and by her ignorance of the realities she intended to force on everyone. It was clear she had never given a thought to the consequences of her ideas. Perhaps she didn't even grasp that ideas, put into action, have consequences.

    Confidently, she already possessed, or believed she had a right to take by force, everything needed to run the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Begin with a magical incantation -- "smaller class sizes." Add other people's money. And poof! she would in one swell foop govern an entire state and cure educational problems that a hundred years of other people's money has only exacerbated.

    Above all, I was chilled by her assumption -- which she obviously expected me to share -- that the primary purpose of education is to mass produce efficient taxpayers.


    My disturbance sent me to the computer to write this article. When the first sentence spilled out, I thought it was far too strong. Evil? Surely not evil, not this small bundle of earnestness. Impractical, yes. Shallow, yes. But ignorant, at worst.

    Yet when ignorance seeks to rule, what results?

    We know, intellectually, that great evils don't always come from ranting demagogues. We know they come, often as not, from earnest lawyers, bookkeepers and school teachers, who wish only to make us do what's "good for us," regardless of facts, regardless of logic, regardless of cost, regardless of our individual wishes and needs. This isn't news to most of us.

    Yet, faced with such people, seeing their friendly expressions, hearing their mellow voices, observing the laugh lines crinkling around their eyes, we seldom allow ourselves to think, "This is the face of evil."

    Just as we tend to like our own lawyer while saying lawyers in general should be shark bait, we like the politician at our doorstep, and in our district. We imagine it must be some evil "other" -- some bloated Kennedy; some dour, deal-making Dole; some smug Feinstein; some drooling Schumer -- who's destroying our country. We simply don't want to acknowledge that evil often wears a friendly, familiar, neighborly face.

    So it felt strange to hear my own mind saying just that. Yet it's true. That woman -- whom I might have liked, had I met her at party -- was evil because she sought to rule me -- and you, and you, and you -- with the power of her vast, earnest ignorance.

    It drives home C.S. Lewis' observation that all evil is ultimately banal. And it reminded me never to give any slack to a politician just because he or she happens to be sincere, pleasant mannered, or honestly committed to a cause.

    On the contrary; that's the worst kind. That's the politician to whom we should commit our most unrelenting -- and unforgiving -- vigilance.


    1997 and 1998 Claire Wolfe. This article may be reprinted for non-commercial purposes, as long as it is reprinted in full with no content changes whatsoever, and is accompanied by this credit line. The article may not be re-titled, edited or excerpted (beyond the limits of the fair use doctrine) without the written permission of the author. For-profit publications will be expected to pay a nominal reprint fee.
    https://billstclair.com/lodge/E_Evil.shtml
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul



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  3. #2
    I hope that new guy from Iran reads this.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    I hope that new guy from Iran reads this.

    There are a decent number of people around here who could definitely use to read and seriously reflect on it. And take it to heart. Sadly, those most in need are usually the most resistant.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  5. #4
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to CCTelander again.

    I looked at the brochure she'd handed me, scanning for a party affiliation. I didn't immediately see one, but her list of qualifications -- wife and mother, advocate for children, schoolteacher, lobbyist for school funds, promoter of infant immunizations, organizer of the state's breastfeeding taskforce -- told her story.

    I could see at a glance that, under the various issue listings, from Economy to State Lands, every bit of text was actually concerned, one way or another, with education.

    "How do you recommend improving the schools?" I asked.

    "Well..." she stumbled, as though the question were unexpected.
    That's politics in general, except the more successful politicians have staff to scribble superficially plausible answers to those questions.

  6. #5
    But without government how can we have freedom?
    "The Patriarch"

  7. #6
    I was stunned -- though not really surprised -- by her lack of depth in her alleged specialty and by her ignorance of the realities she intended to force on everyone. It was clear she had never given a thought to the consequences of her ideas. Perhaps she didn't even grasp that ideas, put into action, have consequences.
    Always one of the biggest problems. Any idea (once known as a hypothesis), from any person, no matter how unrealistic or counter to reality, must be entertained, promoted, money spent and implemented. No concern whatsoever for effectiveness or viability. No scientific method. No method at all. No review. Do it because it is consensus, and enough equally ignorant people have agreed with some emotion based argument.

    We know they come, often as not, from earnest lawyers, bookkeepers and school teachers, who wish only to make us do what's "good for us," regardless of facts, regardless of logic, regardless of cost, regardless of our individual wishes and needs.
    The road to hell is paved with the good intentions of the dreamers who build castles in the sky, and their ignorant disciples who move into those castles.
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Pharma-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul

    Proponent of real science.
    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to CCTelander again.



    That's politics in general, except the more successful politicians have staff to scribble superficially plausible answers to those questions.

    Yes, usually answers that contain a lot of verbiage but in actuality say absolutely nothing.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  9. #8
    Groovy article.
    ''There were four million people in the American Colonies and we had Jefferson and Franklin. Now we have over 300 million and the two top guys are Trump and Biden. What can you draw from this? Darwin was wrong.'' ~ Mort Sahl



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    But without government how can we have freedom?

    Slavery IS freedom, after all.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  12. #10
    My questions would have been a bit tougher for her to answer. Like "If we are spending more on education now than we did two generations ago how is it that the Education System is incapable of teaching this generation that which was a basic standard for graduation in past generations?" Or, " Do you think more time should be spent inculcating young minds in socialist ideology or in teaching them the foundations of basic math and and understanding of communication in the English language?" And, "Do you believe it is more important for a child to learn to appreciate other children that might be different from them or that children should learn the basics of home economics. Budgeting money, balancing a checkbook, things of that nature, as opposed to proper gender pro-nouns?"

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Marenco View Post
    Groovy article.

    Claire Wolfe was pretty big in the liberty community back in the 1990s. I haven't heard as much from her more recently. She always wrote good stuff.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    My questions would have been a bit tougher for her to answer. Like "If we are spending more on education now than we did two generations ago how is it that the Education System is incapable of teaching this generation that which was a basic standard for graduation in past generations?" Or, " Do you think more time should be spent inculcating young minds in socialist ideology or in teaching them the foundations of basic math and and understanding of communication in the English language?" And, "Do you believe it is more important for a child to learn to appreciate other children that might be different from them or that children should learn the basics of home economics. Budgeting money, balancing a checkbook, things of that nature, as opposed to proper gender pro-nouns?"

    My guess is that your questions would have been met with a totally blank stare, but that's just how my mind works.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by CCTelander View Post
    My guess is that your questions would have been met with a totally blank stare, but that's just how my mind works.
    Introspection is hard.

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by timosman View Post
    Introspection is hard.

    For some people, yes.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  17. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    My questions would have been a bit tougher for her to answer. Like "If we are spending more on education now than we did two generations ago how is it that the Education System is incapable of teaching this generation that which was a basic standard for graduation in past generations?" Or, " Do you think more time should be spent inculcating young minds in socialist ideology or in teaching them the foundations of basic math and and understanding of communication in the English language?" And, "Do you believe it is more important for a child to learn to appreciate other children that might be different from them or that children should learn the basics of home economics. Budgeting money, balancing a checkbook, things of that nature, as opposed to proper gender pro-nouns?"
    You hit that nail out of the ballpark!
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Pharma-Corporate-Internet-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul

    Proponent of real science.
    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by CCTelander View Post
    Slavery IS freedom, after all.
    And war is peace.
    "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration is minding my own business."

    Calvin Coolidge



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Globalist View Post
    And war is peace.

    And ignorance is strength. That one's really popular lately.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    You hit that nail out of the ballpark!

    And you mixed your metaphors, badly. Back to metaphor re-education with you, comrade.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by CCTelander View Post
    And you mixed your metaphors, badly. Back to metaphor re-education with you, comrade.
    You buttered your bread, now lie in it.

  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    You buttered your bread, now lie in it.
    LOL!

    +rep

    I give up. I never was a very good authoritarian anyway.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  24. #21
    Bump
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  25. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    You buttered your bread, now lie in it.
    I'd rather eat it.
    "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration is minding my own business."

    Calvin Coolidge

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Globalist View Post
    I'd rather eat it.

    With some fava beans and a nice chianti?
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul

  27. #24
    Bump
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul



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  29. #25
    It drives home C.S. Lewis' observation that all evil is ultimately banal. And it reminded me never to give any slack to a politician just because he or she happens to be sincere, pleasant mannered, or honestly committed to a cause.

    On the contrary; that's the worst kind. That's the politician to whom we should commit our most unrelenting -- and unforgiving -- vigilance.

    It should be noted that this applies equally to truly good politicians who give in to thevtemptation to use corrupt means in their attempts to accomplish noble ends. You can't achieve liberty by force.
    Chris

    "Government ... does not exist of necessity, but rather by virtue of a tragic, almost comical combination of klutzy, opportunistic terrorism against sitting ducks whom it pretends to shelter, plus our childish phobia of responsibility, praying to be exempted from the hard reality of life on life's terms." Wolf DeVoon

    "...Make America Great Again. I'm interested in making American FREE again. Then the greatness will come automatically."Ron Paul



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