The Banality of Evil

Then Pilate said to Jesus, “So you are king, are you?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” After saying this he went back out to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in Him” (John 18:37-38).

It is difficult to participate in nearly any conversation today with several people or more when differing outlooks will arise quickly on nearly any subject. The group will soon have sharp differences, if not downright derisive and hostile.  People of all backgrounds are now shaking their heads in amazement how the culture has devolved so quickly.  But did it happen so quickly or was it generational?  No one seems to have an answer to what can be done to turn the present situation around to a more civil discourse—with workable solutions.  Problems appear so large right now, there doesn’t seem to be an answer politically or spiritually?  Or even a pathway to middle ground. Many leaders in all spheres of influence compromise quickly and are on the take, and will go with the highest bidder. It is how evil has flourished and been so widespread.  How did we end up here where so many feel we are at a hopeless, depraved, and reprobate state? 

In January of 1838, Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, addressed a gathering people and made some comments.  He said, “From where shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall come trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at us a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe Asia, and Africa could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years.  No, if destitution be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we will live forever or die by suicide.” 

Lincoln made that speech 13 years before the firing on Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor South Carolina on April 12, 1861, which is considered the start of the Civil War.  What was a violent act on Fort Sumter, released the pent up anger of people that had festered for generations.  Founding Father John Adams said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the final act of the signing would be the abolition of slavery. It took another 89 years for the Civil War to end to have the abolition of slavery at least legislatively codified.

The pent-up anger and frustration was also seen in the explosion of the French Revolution and shortly after the Reign of Terror, as well as the Bolshevik Revolution. Out of that chaos came profound societal changes. None could argue the abuse of the monarchies of the Sun Kings of France and the Czars of Russia. Today, a simple spark could ignite a conflagration like we haven’t seen domestically since 1861.  We have arrived to this point exactly like previous empires.

The Banality of Our Times

The word banality means something devoid of the freshness of originality, trite, or commonplace.  The most common phrase people use for the direction of the country is insane.  Everyone says what it is happening is insane. There are also a hundred other synonyms for what is happening and they are all correct. Choose nearly any governmental policy and the word insane applies if a person is logical or rational.  Maniacal thought would be another description of our times.  

I have tried for years, and especially since the onset of Covid to come up with a common denominator for what types of people are not going along with the experimental injection (some call it vaccine) and other abhorrent policy programs. There are a few obvious possibilities. They would be conservative, believers in general, church goers, daily communicants, devoutly religious, Bible believing evangelicals, people who understand the U.S. Constitution, consecrated souls, etc. However, none of those fit the bill entirely, although they may be partially correct or even totally correct for some. There just doesn’t seem to be a clean definition of why some people seem to “get it” and others don’t see what is happening in front of them. Nothing is more evident than people who understand the experimental injection and its ramifications, and those who don’t. It is a clear line of demarcation for nearly everyone and no family I know of is spared. Recently, a gas station attendant asked a patron coming in to put on a mask, and the person shot him. Yes, there is tension in the culture, that will get far worse when there is more economic hardship from people being forced to quit their jobs for not going along with the mandate. This will foment a two tiered economic system.  The denial of services for those who have not gone along with the mandate will increase.  Will the experimental injection mandate in the military force out conservatives? Is it designed to do this? Once size doesn’t fit all, especially for those who have had the virus and now carry natural immunity.   

The former head of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Harvard Professor Dr. Herbert Ley said in 1969, “The FDA protects the big drug companies, and is subsequently rewarded, and using the government’s police powers, they attack those who threaten the big drug companies. People think that the FDA is protecting them. It isn’t. What the FDA is doing, and what the public thinks it is doing are as different as night and day.”  That was said in 1969, and today it is far more compromised than it was then. Big Pharma runs the organization and dictates it policies. The FDA and the CDC are wholly owned subsidiaries of Big Pharma.

The common denominator for me has been reduced to people who “get it,” are people who seem to have an innate understanding of evil and how it operates.

Those not going along with the mandate have an understanding there is a nefarious agenda of government.

There is also the flip side of that coin and the question could be asked, are the people advocating these policies evil?  The answer for me is yes and no. I believe there are people on top of the hierarchy who are evil and have willingly given themselves over to Satan and other evil humanistic philosophies. We know many in the upper echelons of business and entertainment speak of it. In the Church it is more subtle. Many in the hierarchy are severely compromised and have been man pleasers, and became captive to power and political influence.  Over time they became bureaucrats rather than men of God. They wanted wealth and power and were willing to do what was necessary to achieve that end, following the path of the German populace in the 1930’s Germany.  Compliance was consent.  

However, for most all the rest, the road to perdition is more banal.  I was recently sent an article by a friend that helped me come to the conclusion that evil nor good is a conscious choice for the vast majority of mankind.  Hannah Arendt, a German secular Jew and political theorist wrote a book called, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. She has many similarities to Ayn Rand in her background and perceptions where few personal religious views were central to her formation and thinking. Arendt saw the German policies that allowed the Third Reich to flourish in Germany in the 1930’s, and fled to Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Paris, and ultimately New York to escape it. She covered the trial of the Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Israel.  Eichmann was a central figure in what was called the Final Solution—the deportation and extermination of Jews to killing centers throughout Europe. Eichmann was captured in Argentina in 1960 and brought to Israel for trial. Arendt’s reason to attend the trial was to dig deeper to find out how people could be so evil. She needed to understand it.

Her conclusions were surprising to many people, yet very insightful. She said, “The sad truth is most evil is committed by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”  Even after seeing the totalitarian regimes in Germany first hand this was her conclusion. Arendt expressed how disturbed she was by Eichmann, but not for obvious reasons. She didn’t see a man with smoke coming out of his ears spewing fire with a pitchfork in his hand. She said she saw “A terribly normal bland bureaucrat who carried out his murderous role with calm efficiency not due to an abhorrent, warped mindset, but because he had absorbed the principles of the Nazi regime so unquestionably. He simply wanted to further his career and climb the ladder of power. He embodied the dilemma between the unspeakable horror of the deeds and the undeniable ludicrousness of the man who perpetrated them. His actions were defined not so much by thought, but the absence of thought,” convincing Arendt of the banality of evil. She concluded, “Evil is perpetuated when immoral principles become normalized over time by an unthinking people. Evil becomes commonplace, it becomes the everyday. Ordinary people—going about their everyday lives— become complicit actions in systems that perpetuate evil. We live and think not in isolation, but in an interconnected web of social and cultural relations, a framework of shared languages, behaviors, and shared conventions and we are conditioned by them every single day.”

To understand the German thinking one would have to go back to what the youth had been fed in an endless program of godless ideology through the educational systems. From youth they were introduced to Georg Hegel (1770-1831) which bred in them the idea of a superman ideal. The German thought of the Aryan principle emerged and grew from that. Hegel greatly influenced Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. Coupled with the idolized German giant Nietzsche (1844-1900), emerged the antichrist which helped birth the Nazi movement. The superman and the antichrist merged into a national outlook that became the ideal of the National Socialism (which was not socialism) of the Third Reich and the Nazi Party. Germany didn’t happen in a vacuum, but over several generations of godless indoctrination. Nietzsche had greatly influence Sigmund Freud, Jean Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger and many other nihilists. The truth of Christ was absent from the people that most influenced the Germans as a prelude to the atrocities of the 1930’s and 1940’s.    

In other words, Arendt, got a lot right, but didn’t highlight sufficiently the origins of the mindset instilled in all German students from a very young age. Here is where Arendt is similar to Ayn Rand. Both were articulate on the culture, but couldn’t hit the nail on the head of the quintessential reasons for the decline of the thought that produce heinous behavior. And most importantly the cure. She herself was a product of that culture, but knew enough to get out before the carnage fully erupted. Eichmann and a nation of citizens like him had been programmed not to think anything other than statism was the zenith of existence. In times of mass conformity, it becomes a revolutionary act to speak the truth. In our time the bizarre has become the normal, and is generally accepted by the electorate. To avoid conflict, people go along to not disturb employment, as lifestyle becomes paramount not fully understanding the government agenda.

The United States and the western world are identical to the citizens of Germany in the 1930’s. In the West, we are now at the point of state-run radical fascism like the Nazi Party in the 30’s. Compliance of good people not speaking up and resisting from the beginning was the cause of Germany’s downfall. In the United States, we are witnessing intentional acts to dismantle government for a new godless Nazi like regime. Many have recently written how the United States is comparable to the fall of Rome, but at least in the end, Rome had good roads.

If one thinks this view is extreme, they have not been paying attention to the corrupt generational and incremental erosion of freedoms and liberty. Government in excess breeds fascism. The people have seen the corrupt practices of Congress when they legislate laws where they are exempt.  Congress and their staff are exempt from Obamacare and the injection mandate compliance to just name two. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) are also exempt.

When people see this duplicity, all reason to abide by law is lost as people perceive the double standard of “do as I say not as I do.” If the policies are so good, why are they exempt from the laws they write?  They exempt themselves simply because they can. 

Our situation today is similar to the German Reich.  Government today has an agenda to strip the truth of Jesus Christ from the culture.  It is no mistake we have so many mindless people blind to the truth. We arrived here the same way the German populace did and will end the same way until there is a national repentance. The sinful nature of man can only be adequately articulated clearly though the truth of the cross. “The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life” (I John 2:16). The root of the problem is to correct the lower nature of man with the purity of the gospel message. “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). To pursue true justice is to follow Christ and obey His commands. The godless utopia of the left is not attainable on earth as long as there is Original Sin. When the gospel is stripped from the culture, it is only a matter of time and degrees when chaos becomes the norm. The bizarre becomes the new normal. The bizarre then becomes more bizarre day after day. Revolutions start when economic hardship is so prevalent the people see no way out but to go to the streets.  

The totalitarianism of evil germinates when the population seeks safety in anonymity thinking there will be a refuge for them. It is the direct opposite.  A great portion of the population is seeing the truth with the lies of government.  Either join the people now speaking the truth or your liberty and freedoms will be a concepts of the past.  Time is short as the relentless push of the godless is so aggressive and virulent. Thomas Jefferson who had witnessed the French Revolution while in Paris, said, “When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”  Also, an oft used phrase is, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”    

St. John Paul II said on the advent of this current millennium: “But let us end on a note of hope and call all Christian believers beg the Lord Jesus to save us “from this present darkness.”‘ 

“The great Jubilee to be celebrated at the end of this Millennium and at the beginning of the next ought to constitute a powerful call to all those who “worship God in spirit and truth.” It should be for everyone a special occasion for mediating on the mystery of the Triune God, who in Himself is wholly transcendent with regard to the world, especially the visible world” (Dominum Vivifocantem #54).

As the Blessed Mother said at Fatima in 1917, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”