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.)


William R. Barker said...

Hear, Hear! In accord!


Rodak said...

That leaves little room for a zippy retort.

Anthony said...

Isabel Paterson said this during World War II:

"Most of the harm in the world is done by good people, and not by accident, lapse, or omission. It is the result of their deliberate actions, long persevered in, which they hold to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends... ...when millions are slaughtered, when torture is practiced, starvation enforced, oppression made a policy, as at present over a large part of the world, and as it has often been in the past, it must be at the behest of very many good people, and even by their direct action, for what they consider a worthy object."

Rodak said...

Yup. Thus the need for absolute objective standards of Good (and Evil), so that the individual is not left to his own devices in deciding what is allowable and what is not.
Nice quote. Thanks for sharing that.

brandon field said...

St. Thomas said it before Will Smith.

Rodak said...

Yes. St. Thomas and others. That's why I knew that Will Smith was right and should not have allowed them to knock him off his spot with their PC howling.

jb said...

It goes back to Plato with ignorance as the root cause of evil. BTW today is the feast of the holy innocents.

Rodak said...

Good point about Plato.