The Banality of Evil

OfficePants

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The banality of evil was a phrase coined in the 1960's in a book about a Nazi war criminal.

The phrase's meaning stems from the war criminals claiming how they bore no responsibility for any acts of the Reich because they were just doing their jobs.

The ISIL thread (and indirectly the elite thread) caused me to spur a more targeted thread. A member wrote about how the US concocted a plan in the 70s to invade some key Middle East countries and secure their oil supplies under the guise of US national security.

The President wasn't going to analyze the subject and write it, it required minions that would craft it on his behalf. These people were just doing their jobs. Around the world, national security interests have become code for the banality of evil.
 
So are we using morality in terms of natural laws or morality in the sense that it is relative?

Morality is always relative. It only looks otherwise when a large enough group chooses to share a belief.
 
I'm not going to complain if I get tagged, I was the one who said that about the operation to capture the oil fields. No harm done. This is a forum and we can agree and disagree on many things, we all have different opinions due to what we have been through and so on in life.
 
I'm not going to complain if I get tagged, I was the one who said that about the operation to capture the oil fields. No harm done. This is a forum and we can agree and disagree on many things, we all have different opinions due to what we have been through and so on in life.

If you happen to believe it was a moral and just cause, please elaborate on why. I'm not tagging you, just using it as an example.


If morality is relative then evil is relative. Concepts that are relative seem meaningless to discuss since they will be different to every person.

Indeed. Religions seek to make morality universal, but they fail because they participate in the banality of evil. Child sex abusing priest cover ups. Mullahs chanting death to America.

I disagree otherwise. I make like a pair of shoes or a hot chick, you may disagree and an exchange of ideas takes place. Per above, I happen to believe hatching takeover plans to get at a county's resources is evil in the guise of national security/strategic interests. Some believe taxes are evil, others believe atheists are evil, or horse sex is evil. There is plenty of quite relative fodder within that.
 
If you happen to believe it was a moral and just cause, please elaborate on why. I'm not tagging you, just using it as an example.

I see, I thought you would think that that will 'upset me' or something along those lines. Now to the question, it would depend a lot under the circumstances and so on, I would understand the need for invasion, take possession, and all that would come with it because first of all they already possess the capability and there would be no need to revamp and so on the facilities and the only thing that would have been needed would be staff which I believe it is much easier to find than anything else. I believe having the capability that we now possess makes something like that much harder to achieve because they cannot longer puppet us around with their black mail, either do this or that. Would it have been moral to do it, certainly not, would it have been evil depends on the violence that would have come with the invasion and so on, but most likely I don't think so. The US or rather certain agency had planned to do much worse, or at least for what I have read. I read that in order to take support away from Muslim Population to the Soviets the CIA had planned to steal a Soviet Cargo plane and throw pigs and pig blood unto mecca, that is bathshit insane, but not evil IMO.

Sometimes I think that I think the way I think because part of my childhood I was well dirt poor and grew up till a certain age in the Venezuelan ghetto, I didn't even know what a mattress or bed for that matter was or what even running water was. Saw a lot of shit, and I guess to this day still has influenced me on how I see things. Now I think back and those certain places should not exist.
 
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I see, I thought you would think that that will 'upset me' or something along those lines. Now to the question, it would depend a lot under the circumstances and so on, I would understand the need for invasion, take possession, and all that would come with it because first of all they already possess the capability and there would be no need to revamp and so on the facilities and the only thing that would have been needed would be staff which I believe it is much easier to find than anything else. I believe having the capability that we now possess makes something like that much harder to achieve because they cannot longer puppet us around with their black mail, either do this or that. Would it have been moral to do it, certainly not, would it have been evil depends on the violence that would have come with the invasion and so on, but most likely I don't think so. The US or rather certain agency had planned to do much worse, or at least for what I have read. I read that in order to take support away from Muslim Population to the Soviets the CIA had planned to steal a Soviet Cargo plane and throw pigs and pig blood unto mecca, that is bathshit insane, but not evil IMO.

So because you think the USA has the power to do it, and they could do it with relatively small numbers of dead, then it doesn't qualify as evil because it depends on the level of violence it would take to do it. But it's immoral. And it's partly justified among the people that planned it because they have planned much worse.

Lastly, pitting 2 populations against each other using deeply offensive symbols in the hopes of a strategic gain for yourself is not evil? What if it triggered 100,000 dead, would it be reclassified?

Using the working definition, evil is immorality arising from conduct. Do you think that definition is accurate? It seems to contradict your viewpoint.
 
So because you think the USA has the power to do it, and they could do it with relatively small numbers of dead, then it doesn't qualify as evil because it depends on the level of violence it would take to do it. But it's immoral. And it's partly justified among the people that planned it because they have planned much worse.

Lastly, pitting 2 populations against each other using deeply offensive symbols in the hopes of a strategic gain for yourself is not evil? What if it triggered 100,000 dead, would it be reclassified?

Using the working definition, evil is immorality arising from conduct. Do you think that definition is accurate? It seems to contradict your viewpoint.

To clarify myself, I made a typo, it would have been immoral to do the invasion, but not evil. The operation itself wouldn't have been evil, the aftermath depending on the outcome and if it what you said happens, yes it would have been evil. I did explain at the end why I think the way I do, so certain things truly don't do it for me, while others things certainly do. Example of evil and has happened to people close to me. Kidnap a 12 year old girl ask for 1 million USD as ransom people have half mil, chop the girl with a chainsaw, that is evil.
 
To clarify myself, I made a typo, it would have been immoral to do the invasion, but not evil. The operation itself wouldn't have been evil, the aftermath depending on the outcome and if it what you said happens, yes it would have been evil. I did explain at the end why I think the way I do, so certain things truly don't do it for me, while others things certainly do. Example of evil and has happened to people close to me. Kidnap a 12 year old girl ask for 1 million USD as ransom people have half mil, chop the girl with a chainsaw, that is evil.

We're kinda off the rails already. This is about the banality of evil. Not evil.

Your boss tells you to sell a used car, it's a piece of shit that will die in 1000 miles. You do it because you're doing what your told and it's just your job. That's the banality of evil. No... the guy is not evil, but that was never the point.
 
So next you'll be telling me that every agent acting in a conspiracy isn't aware of the whole plot!

To use this invasion example, the banality partly lies in framing it as a matter of necessity. It's clearly evil to go abroad and kill people in order to steal stuff you want. But frame it as some Mad Max scenario where a desperate people must kill and steal in order to survive and it becomes palatable. That lie is a part of the banality of evil, right?

And this is the key point. Nobody sees themselves as the villain or doing evil. We must rationalize and skew to justify our actions to ourselves if not others.
 
My bad, I understood something quite different. Thanks for explaining. I still think it wouldn't have been evil though.
 
Here's where Israel and ISIS and all come into it for me. ISIS does not sugar coat what they do. Their executions are not disguised or obscured or detached. Meanwhile, Israel is doing the exact BS of killing and stealing (land) but it is done under the pretense of legitimacy of nationalism and phony accusations of antisemitism and genocide that they are "defending" themselves from using remote weaponry and all so it comes off less murderous and evil
That's why I think people are so morally repulsed by one and not the other, the absence of banality.
 
So next you'll be telling me that every agent acting in a conspiracy isn't aware of the whole plot!

To use this invasion example, the banality partly lies in framing it as a matter of necessity. It's clearly evil to go abroad and kill people in order to steal stuff you want. But frame it as some Mad Max scenario where a desperate people must kill and steal in order to survive and it becomes palatable. That lie is a part of the banality of evil, right?

And this is the key point. Nobody sees themselves as the villain or doing evil. We must rationalize and skew to justify our actions to ourselves if not others.

The first part is ends justifying the means, thought it does accurately strike at self interest.

The second part is more the point, within the banality, nobody sees themselves as evil or as a villain. They just take part in it because they were told to do it. This kind of simplistic complicity is responsible for countless acts from atrocities on a Nazi scale to a used car salesman.


My bad, I understood something quite different. Thanks for explaining. I still think it wouldn't have been evil though.

Understood. The morality is a personal matter. The banality of acting in an immoral way for self interest seems to be agreed.
 
So, by your definition there is a sliding scale of evil based on the evilness of the evil. Are we confining the discussion to truely evil acts like genocide, or does the banality of evil cover the banality of immorality, amorality and other things that stop short of evil.
 
I'll keep checking in until OP, the OP, ties cop tyranny into the banality of evil. I know it is coming. I'm also waiting for gufasd to call meat-eaters banal evil-doers.

However, I'm wondering if there is something to this about how it is easier for many to contribute a small part to an evil than for a few to do bulk of the the misdeed alone.

Should I start a sportsbook event for when references to the Stanford prison experiment or the Milgram experiment arise?
 
So, by your definition there is a sliding scale of evil based on the evilness of the evil. Are we confining the discussion to truely evil acts like genocide, or does the banality of evil cover the banality of immorality, amorality and other things that stop short of evil.

However, I'm wondering if there is something to this about how it is easier for many to contribute a small part to an evil than for a few to do bulk of the the misdeed alone.

Russell answers to your point, Thruth. Technically, yes, it's a sliding scale but to me it's more of a continuum where everyone plays a part in a larger ugly system or event. The NSA spying and CIA torture situation are perfect cases in point... none of the actors see themselves as evil, but we somehow end up with evil acts. These evil acts are generally commissioned by someone in power needing actors... generally a member of the elite for example (points for me Russell... elite came before cop tyranny :). To force rank on a sliding scale turns this into the NCAA tournament of bad deeds.

In an example with the elite, Cheney commissioned the fracking laws in such a way that the chemical compositions of the fracking fluids did not need to be exposed to the EPA. Cheney didn't write it, but lobbyists, aids, and all kinds of other actors did, and then the actors in congress approved it. Why were these fluids excluded from EPA oversight? They're probably harmful.
 
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So are the American citizens who pay taxes all evil since they provide portions of the funding for the NSA spying and CIA torture? There must be some background level of evil that people get through simple participation in society - same as background levels of radiation. For your example with the fracking laws, you would see a spike of evil at cheany and the other actors but would also have increased levels of evil with the other legislators who helped pass the bill and the fracking companies. However, from what perspective do you observe evil? If evil is based on morality and morality is relative then the subjective level of background evil is a key factor in determining what actions are evil. I believe it is likely that many politicians believe their actions are not evil but rather fall within the background levels of evil - just doing their job.

All complicit, myself included. We keep voting these same rich self-interested cock suckers into office, so until we stop doing that, we're all in the game. In the mean time, I go to jail if I refuse to fund the immorality, so I am forced to participate. This is what happens when you cede your power.

In a way yes, the evil initiated at Cheney. A moral network in the chain of people involved would have responded and provided a backstop for his immorality, but it didn't, it became complicit in the act by "just doing their jobs". You'd have to ask Dick for his rationalization on it, but I'm quite sure it would be indistinguishable from Republican talking points.
 
All complicit, myself included. We keep voting these same rich self-interested cock suckers into office, so until we stop doing that, we're all in the game. In the mean time, I go to jail if I refuse to fund the immorality, so I am forced to participate. This is what happens when you cede your power.
I totally agree albeit with the addendum that larger elections fail to offer real choice anyway.
This is more inescapable banality. Citizens must either vote for some lesser evil or opt out and essentially tolerate the will of others (Pontius Pilate style), and similarly choose between buckling under and paying taxes to support evil deeds, or becoming an outlaw and jeopardizing their livelihood and becoming technical criminals. Gangs, cults, and other horrid groups draw people into the same devil's dilemmas.
 
I totally agree albeit with the addendum that larger elections fail to offer real choice anyway.
This is more inescapable banality. Citizens must either vote for some lesser evil or opt out and essentially tolerate the will of others (Pontius Pilate style), and similarly choose between buckling under and paying taxes to support evil deeds, or becoming an outlaw and jeopardizing their livelihood and becoming technical criminals. Gangs, cults, and other horrid groups draw people into the same devil's dilemmas.

Indeed.

Isn't it also illegal to advocate for overthrow of the government? It's the Hotel California.
 
But the KGB disappeared once the USSR was destroyed by America!!!
 
Democrats, Republicans. Thruth, Rambo. Styleforum, AAAC. The list goes on.

Evil is as evil does. You are starting to sound like Gufus I might start to believe you are actually his sock. The banhammer finger is starting to twitch.
 
Evil is as evil does. You are starting to sound like Gufus I might start to believe you are actually his sock. The banhammer finger is starting to twitch.

I'm sorry but I never troll any of the threads.

Democrats and Republicans are the same.

Exactly, they are the same, the only thing that changes is the name.
 
I have never met a Venezoolalien who wasn't a troll

LOL! Whatever. Where you are in buttfuck Canada is full of Venezuelans? I know there are a lot of them in Alberta.
 

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