I have always maintained that people are basically good. I believe we are born good. All capable of empathy, good morals, and, most importantly… Love. In order to be anything else in life, a hard-hearted criminal, a manipulator, a murderer, a corporate CEO, the 45th President of the US, you have to be taught to do evil.
So, if all people are basically good, and most of us believe in a loving, benevolent God, why are we on a downward spiral of climate change grinding out the eventual extinction of all life on Earth?
You have to be taught to be evil. But there is more to it than simply having a father and a grandfather who were deeply involved with the KKK. You can be taught evil things by circumstances you simply can’t control due to their complexity and unsolvable problematic nature. Being raised in poverty is a big one. Being raised in poverty and having your fears and disappointments massaged and amplified by the propaganda on FOX News is an even bigger one. Intolerance, bigotry, and, most of all, hatred are a very human reaction to personal suffering, and they become an evil thing if you don’t properly place the blame on the real causes of things and then solve those problem-perpetuating causes.
Greed and narcissism are real causes of many evils that largely go un-dealt-with. In our modern world unregulated capitalism means the worst offenders have an automatic incentive to choose increasing profits over the well-being of the general population. Paying carbon taxes and taking carbon out of manufacturing emissions don’t help profits as much as being able to simply pour the waste into the air we breathe and the water we are literally made of. The temptation is simply too great to those raised on excessive wealth and privileges. In fact, it can be too much for those who built their own fortunes without being evil too. Staying good is not always a choice that wealth allows. Few are altruistic enough to give away an entire fortune once they have it in their hands. Whether they see how it affects them or not.
I can see these things are true, but I also have no power, no magic wand to wave, to solve these miserable problems. Evil is a feature of being human. And only our collective will can solve it. We are not inherently evil, deserving of every bad thing that’s coming to us. But even the worst villains think of themselves as the heroes of their own story. So, how do we solve it all? You tell me. And then we’ll solve it together.