Does All Evil Begin with a Lie? Joe Hubris Responds

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Does all evil begin with a lie?
 
In true Philadelphia lawyer style,  yes, maybe.
 
The problem with an absolute statement is that any example can refute it.  That said, I think that none of the examples given does so.  Either they were not actual examples of evil, or they all contained lies.
 
My test to determine whether or not an act is evil is as follows:
 
Does the act cause unjustified harm to another?
Does the act require a lie to be completed?
 
If yes to both, then it is an evil act and anyone involved in the deception is an evil-doer.
 
In this test, I use the following definitions:
 
Unjustified means the act is unrelated to any prior interaction between the actor and those harmed and is not designed to prevent a greater harm to another or to the actor.
Lie means any knowingly deliberate deception in word or deed.
 
Here are my analyses of some of the examples given at the Festival.
 
Puppy-drowning by girl
 
I cannot describe this as evil for several reasons.  First, I don't see a lie.  Without that, it is simply a depraved act.  Second, the individual was a juvenile.  Even if there was a lie (perhaps in concealing her identity), I think the evidence is that young people do not do things "knowingly" the way adults do. This act raises another question.  The harm was done to a non-human.  I personally believe that our close relationship, our closest in fact, with dogs justifies considering harm to them as satisfying that part of the test.  Sadly, there are still many places in the world where drowning puppies would be culturally tolerated. 
 
Jihadist terrorism
 
Was the harm inflicted on 9/11 unjustified?  It is clear to me that there was no justification for the killing of the individuals on the planes and in the twin towers.  These acts all required lies and deception to be completed, therefore they were evil.  However, those who died in the pentagon and those who died in the USS Cole bombing (and perhaps the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa) were military personnel.  The US military has been active in the Middle East for decades and as such, one can argue that the actions of Al Qaeda are related to prior actions by the US government and were designed to prevent a greater harm being committed by our support of dictatorial regimes in their home countries.  Regardless, the innocents killed were evil acts.
 
Women
 
Misogyny is a lie and any actions that harm women or men and arise from it are evil.  There is an interesting question to ask about using deception as a strategy in life.  Just as our animal cousins use it to get along, so do humans.  Do women employ it more?
 
The IRS
 
The hard working men and women of the IRS are the unsung heroes of our time.  I stand strongly in support of them.
 
Nazi atrocities/aggression
 
You can divide the acts of the Nazis into two categories:  Their military aggression and their "final solution", the holocaust against Jews and other ethnic groups.  Any acts committed as part of the holocaust are evil.  Some of the acts undertaken as part of their military campaigns were evil.  Their campaigns against the countries of eastern Europe cannot be justified.  Those against France, Britain, Russia and the US can be.  However, atrocities carried out in those countries clearly were based on deception.  Antisemitism is based on lies, some ancient, some more recent.  The Nazis could never have accomplished the horrific harm they did without those lies.
 
Allied actions during World War II
 
Deception is a critical part of military action.  The military campaigns against the Axis powers were clearly related to their own aggression and/or designed to prevent harm at their hands, therefore not unjustified and therefore not evil.
 
The Waco raids
 
There are multiple actors and multiple harm here.  The Branch Davidians caused unjustified harm to the 20 children who were killed by the fires they apparently set themselves.  If David Koresh claimed that God had told him he was the messiah knowing that he had not, that is a lie, therefore those subsequent acts were evil.  If he honestly believed he was the messiah, perhaps his actions were merely depraved, like the puppy drowner.  But in either case, if he employed deception in his efforts to become the leader of his church, and could not have done so without that deception, the acts were evil.  As for the law enforcement actions, they were apparently undertaken as a response to the actions of the Branch Davidians.  There doesn't appear to be a lie here.
 
Marketing
 
If a marketing effort is undertaken on part of a product that harms people and it employs deception, it is evil.  It is debatable whether all marketing is deceptive.  It promotes the benefits of products and ignores the drawbacks.  Another example might be a celebrity endorsing a product he or she does not or would not use.  Even in those cases, without harm, they cannot be described as evil
 
Anti-abortion protests
 
It would appear that the vast majority of anti-abortion protesters earnestly believe in their position and claims, so one cannot say they are lies.  The images of aborted fetuses are true, if disturbing.  Also, it's tough to claim that peaceful (stressing the word peaceful) protests do any harm.
 
The 2009 beer raids
 
Alas, it appears that the raids were related to the pubs prior acts and those involved were sincere in their actions.  There was no deception, just Kafkaesque absurdity.
 
The Second Gulf War
 
For the most part, it appears that the efforts to lead us to war undertaken by the Bush administration were largely sincere.  However it is clear that along the way lies were told knowingly by members of both the U.K. and U.S. governments.  These culminated in Collin Powell's February 2003 address to the United Nations, and Bush's 2003 State of the Union address.  Could the war have been brought about without those lies?  Perhaps not.  Since the harm appeared to be unjustified,  the war appears to be an evil act and anyone who knowingly promulgated lies in its furtherance is an evil-doer.
 
Gary Heidnik

Gary Heidnik was clearly depraved.  However, as Beto pointed out, he had a "plan" to capture his victim.  That plan no doubt involved knowing deception.  He was evil.