Cal  Thomas

So would I, but greed is greed, immorality is immorality and evil is evil.

Recall those who turned over the names of neighbors and colleagues to Joseph McCarthy. What about the Catholic Church that shielded pedophile priests? Slaves often gave up runaway slaves. The Spanish Inquisition had those whose ignominy helped it along. Evangelical Christians turn on Evangelical Christians. Protestants turn on Protestants. Recall the traitors in the Nazi death camps who turned in their fellow prisoners in order to curry favor with the guards they hoped would spare their lives.

That evil has its enablers does not excuse the Nazis, Catholics, the Inquisitors nor Madoff, but it should give pause to all of us who denounce Madoff in ways that make us feel superior to him and incapable of performing evil acts of our own.

In his book, "The Body," Charles Colson, writes about the trial of Adolph Eichmann. Among the witnesses was Yehiel Dinur, who had escaped death in Auschwitz. On his day to testify, Dinur entered the courtroom and stared at the man in the bulletproof glass booth, the man who murdered Dinur's friends, personally executed a number of Jews, and presided over the slaughter of millions more. Dinur shouted and sobbed, collapsing on the floor.

Had hatred of Eichmann, or horrendous memories, caused his strong reaction? No. As he later explained in a riveting "60 Minutes" interview it was because Eichmann was not the demonic personification of evil Dinur had expected. Rather, he was an ordinary man, just like anyone else. Dinur realized that sin and evil are the human condition. "I was afraid about myself," Dinur said. "I saw that I am capable to do this ... exactly like he. Eichmann is in all of us."

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, "Nothing is easier than denouncing the evildoer; nothing more difficult than understanding him."


Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
 
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