Disobey human beings. Civil disobedience is a marker of human consciousness.

Disobedience to political authority is necessary when the rule of law is replaced by the law of rule.

MK Gandhi out from his time in prison.


Disobedience to the human race is the only way forward to restore the resplendence of truth in our daily lives.


All evil is not moral. Political evil takes place when those governed obey governments that permit it.

Alan Wolfe, author of Political Evil and Professor at Boston College, USA.

Alan Wolfe, author of Political Evil and Professor Boston College, USA.

How To Learn the Language of Evil,  Alan Wolfe’s Political Evil offers lessons liberals especially need.

By Michael Ignatieff,

Evil is a moral problem for everyone, difficult to acknowledge in ourselves, hard to understand in others, and difficult to defeat without committing lesser evils. Liberals—I count myself as one—have a special problem with evil, connected to our particular form of self-regard. Liberals like to believe we are tolerant, but evil, by definition, cannot be tolerated. We believe that politics ought to be deliberative, but we can’t deliberate with evil. We think compromise can be honorable, but there are no honorable compromises with evil. We think politics ought to be governed by reason, but evildoers, while they may reason, are not reasonable.  Political evil—genocide, massacre, terrorism, ethnic cleansing—is another matter. Here, Wolfe argues that we are dealing with motives, intentions, which while repellent are political. Killing all Jews is not crazy: It is a plan that will make you master of all you survey. Expelling everyone unlike yourself is not insane: It guarantees eternal domination for your kind. Terrorizing a people you cannot defeat in battle is not pathological: It may force your enemy to yield. Alan Wolfe has written a guide to these quandaries. He distinguishes between evil in general and political evil in particular, and argues that we should think politically about evil because the evil that we can actually do something about is a form of politics and can be defeated only if understood as such.  Moral evil can be understood when laws that govern human beings are disobeyed. There is plenty of evil out there. Adolescents slaughtering other adolescents at a high school, predators molesting children, loners acting out fantasies of revenge and empowerment with automatic weapons. Our various therapeutic and explanatory discourses still leave us without consolation in the face of these murderous frenzies, but, Wolfe argues, we should at least spare ourselves the foolish idea that such evil lurks in all our hearts. The Norwegian killer who sprayed bullets over children at a liberal party summer camp was a psychopath. He is not us and we are not him. He tells us nothing about Europe, about Norwegian society, about anything. It accords him a dignity he does not deserve to explain him. It is appropriate to mourn and remember, and it would be prudent to keep him locked up for good. It is an utter waste of time to give him significance.

So, Wolfe’s first lesson is a very old one, but worth repeating. There is method in apparent madness. The world is not divided between a sane world of deliberative politics and an insane world of apocalyptic violence. It is all politics, all the way down. To call a terrorist attack “senseless” is merely to admit that you have not understood its purpose. Moral precision is a precondition for political precision. Nothing is gained, and much is lost, if, in seeking to mobilize opinion to stop a massacre, you call it genocide. You debase the coinage of outrage. Next time you cry wolf, no one will believe you.

We are indiscriminate in our use of the language of evil, Wolfe argues, because we like what the language does to our own moral standing. It makes us self-righteous. To call others wicked is to give us a moral privilege we may not deserve and a moral permission we are likely to misuse. The language of good and evil only seems to create moral clarity: It actually creates moral entitlement.  Moral clarity mobilizes: Who does not want to enlist on the side of good against absolute evil? But clarity also anaesthetizes. If I am on the side of good, they on the side of evil, what am I not permitted to do? The authors of President Bush’s torture memos claimed the privilege of moral superiority after 9/11 and used it to torture.

Tolerance, bigotry and religious liberty, the most cherished liberty of every human being and indeed of the planet.

religiousintoleranceandconflictThoughts from Religion, Intolerance, and Conflict: A Scientific and Conceptual Investigation, edited by Steve Clarke, Russell Powell, Julian Savulescu. Get it now, it is a fantastic read and will really help you understand the current flow in today’s debates. Religious freedom and human nature are co-existent.  Bigotry uses much of this evidence to terrorize.  The American fathers maintained, as all civilized people maintain, that religion is a matter of one’s conscience, not of one’s habits, proclivities, persuasions and even life. Religious freedom and its corresponding liberty would be well served should politicians emulate the example of Gandhi’s Satyagraha which accurately placed religion above all affairs of state. Only when human beings are convinced that their ruler is NOT arbitrary can they flourish. Politicians should understand the fundamental forces in human beings before they go around telling people and their own what to do. Perhaps practicing what one preaches should become rule for earthly candidates as well.

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The Law of the Flesh. From a Catholic and Antitotalitarian theory of the Body: Ecstatic Morality and Sexual Politics. From G.J. McAleer and others.

Gustave Klimpt. Sensuality as art.

Gustave Klimpt. Sensuality as art.

Sensuality contains a degree of moral knowledge which may not be ignored.  It is the fact of this moral knowledge original to sensuality that establishes the appropriateness of thinking of reason’s rule over sensuality in terms of the political analogy of rulership. Sensuality is naturally ordered to reason and yet the natural involvement of the two and the mutual relation of dependence is but a lived relationship of morality and persuasion as well as obedience and to some degree consent. It might seem too strong to speak of sensuality’s consent to the rule of reason that promotes liberal conception.  Rule is for the one who is superior in knowledge and justice. Reason as a faculty is naturally more directed to the common good and more ordered to justice than is sensuality with its material aspect and the particularity that comes of that. Rule of sensuality is necessary if the human proclivity to sociality is to be realized. Sensuality indicates rule of those who are free to provide counsel and not domination. When reason turned against God at the moment of the Fall, a moment when reason resisted its own ecstatic dynamism toward a life in imitation God this rule was rejected by sensuality.  Importantly such a rejection was appropriate since reason tried to corrupt the nature of sensuality by removing its ecstatic dynamism and necessarily promoting a rule of domination in refusing the natural “free” pronitas of ecstatic sensuality. Law is “nothing else than an ordination of reason for the common good” and human law only has the quality of law in so far it is in accordance with right reason.”Insofar as it deviates from reason it is unjust law and has the nature not of law but of violence.” If a prince commands what is unjust, “his subjects are not required to obey him.” The disobedience of sensuality is one of the consequences of original sin and of concupiescence as a dispositive cause encouraging the will to move contrary to the judgment of reason. But it is crucial to realize that sometimes this unruliness is a rejection of false rule of reason.