Member Rara Avis
There are so many crimes and atrocities attributed to him - and documented - that I find it inconceivable that anyone could not consider this man truly evil.
Semantics suck, but they're still important because they allow us to communicate effectively. If a man is six foot five most of the time, but haphazardly shrinks down to four foot three part of the time, is it semantically correct to call him a "tall man?" Of course, that's a ridiculous questions because a man's height, unlike his character, doesn't fluctuate with circumstances.
People are neither good nor evil, but are a blend of each. In vastly different proportions, of course. In my opinion, it is semantically questionable to call a person good or evil. Those qualifiers are best left to the actions of a person.
Still, I rather suspect even that isn't what Amy really means.
Ever read the biography of Al Capone? That guy did a lot of very evil things in his life. And he seemingly could justify every single one of them, because of what had been done to him. Alphonse "Scarface" Capone did not see himself as evil, and I seriously doubt that Saddam or Adolph or any other man in history ever got out of bed in the morning and said, "Gee, I think I'll do something truly evil today." That's not human nature, not even among sociopaths.
Is that really an important distinction, though? I think it is, because the minute we label someone, we tend to look no deeper. You can't understand a man if you first insist on putting a mask on him. About 2,500 years ago, Sun Tzu recognized the folly of that.
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
The earth is spherical in shape, always has been, just because the information of the age caused people to believe it was flat didn't make flatness a fact.
But isn't that exactly the point, JP?
Was Queen Isabella as sure of her "facts" in 1490 as many people seem to be today? If asked to prove her facts, how would she have responded? "Well, everyone knows the Earth is flat. It's a fact." Gee, that kinda sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Deductions and hearsay may be true, but that alone doesn't make them facts. Have you personally seen our planet from outer space? How do you know, for a fact, that it is spherical? Can you show me the math that proves it? Those things we often tout as facts are as much a reflection of our trust as they are of truth. We believe the Earth is spherical because we trust the people who have repeatedly told us it is spherical. We trust the consensus (just as did Isabella), and we trust science (just as did Isabella). And I dare say, by and large, science has earned our trust.
But is it really so surprising, when it comes to politics and society, that the consensus isn't always unanimous and the trust isn't always so easy to give?