The French Revolution will come again

If I was a more self-righteous person I'd be complaining here how my brother, sister, and I just got screwed out of a couple million dollars, but I'm trying not to be concerned about it — one can perceive things as losses, or one can perceive them as revelations. Many battles are fought to gather intelligence about one's foe, rather than to destroy them.

To talk about change is not enough. Change must happen. – Aung San Suu Kyi

Anyway, it brought me to thinking about the nature of “evil” as one commonly thinks of it: crime; theft and murder and extortion and fraud and so on. I've come to realize that common crime is actually a symptom of evil, and often not even expressed through an evil vessel. Look at US crime statistics — one could conclude that blacks commit an inordinate amount of crimes in relation to their relatively small population. I once interviewed a doctor who told me that was due to elevated testosterone levels, but I don't buy it, because in low-income communities the crime stats are not particularly racially biased.

To put it simply, crime — common evil — is a byproduct of class inequality. On the whole people don't start stealing because they are greedy or a bad apple. They start stealing because they are responding to an imbalance — they are aware that wealth is unevenly distributed. Would crime go away if the world's treasures were distributed more fairly? Of course not. But would it be drastically minimized? I believe so.

So then you have to ask the question: are common criminals evil? Or are they just (possibly weak) people being manipulated by evil? The blood of the modern world is money. When you control the money (and the credit system and so on), you control the blood. Debt might as well be a Harkonnen heart plug. I guess ultimately this line of thinking leads one to ask what right — what duty — do the poor have to eat the rich? If you want an easier question, ask yourself whether the soldier who kills innocent civilians on a bombing run to protect corporate oil interests is evil, or whether he's just been forced to act on behalf of evil — and what responsibility does that soldier have to stop killing once he becomes aware of the big picture?

PS. Before anyone chops my head off, while I am a successful entrepreneur, I reinvest almost everything I make in trying to do good, be it stuff here or be it funding development work in Africa, anti-censorship networks, or even just interesting indie projects.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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