Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Reflections: The Banality of PC

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Will Smith is angry over celebrity gossip Web site articles that he said misinterpreted a recent remark he made in a Scottish newspaper about Adolf Hitler.

In a story published Saturday in the Daily Record, Smith was quoted saying: "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today.' I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good.'"

Will Smith needs to stick to his guns; he needs to stop being angry and immediately begin insisting that he was right in the first place. Human beings, no matter how morally depraved they are, do talk themselves into believing that their agendas are good ones. We convince ourselves of that every time we tell that harmless little lie; make that nasty little comment about a co-worker; perhaps even enact those little thefts, eh? Like that roll of tape from the office to use on Christmas presents, because there just wasn’t time to stop at the store. And besides…they owe you, don’t they?

Hitler is an extreme example, but the principle is the same. Will Smith was exactly correct: Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today.'

Hang in there, Will. Your statement was a philosophical and psychological bull's-eye. Political correctness may (very rarely) have its place, but we must not let the hideous magnitude of Hitler’s self-justified crimes so overshadow our own rationalized transgressions that we allow ourselves to dismiss them as “trivial.” Because they are not.

(The full article from which the excerpt above was clipped is here.)