Letter to the Editor

Down side of 'fighting evil'

Sunday, September 17, 2006

To the editor:

Regarding Alvin W. Kamp's op-ed piece, "What we're fighting for: destruction of evil": Has it not occurred to him that the destruction of evil leads, likewise, to the destruction of good? Things are defined by their opposites. If no evil existed, how would we know what was good?

He suggests that we are constantly fighting the good war against all that is evil. This is, not coincidentally, a classic symptom of empire. Rather than using the play between good and evil to determine values by which to judge our actions, we seek to justify any action by the righteousness of our end goal.

The fact that we are "fighting evil" does not make it morally justifiable (nor legal) to drop cluster bombs in civilian areas. The fact that we are "fighting evil" does not make it OK (nor legal) to torture.

The triumph of good over evil inevitably leads to a total loss of moral distinction, and that is a real evil. This loss of distinction is what we must not tolerate because it corrodes our values. And when we allow that to happen, we are not fighting against evil anymore. We're fighting for it.

KYLE BURK, Jackson