Lin Weeks Wilder

Lin Weeks Wilder

atheism, Books, Christianity, Education, faith, novel, politics

The Shock, Awe and Banality of Evil

the shock, awe and banality of evil
The shock, awe and banality of evil

The shock, awe and banality of evil

Secular, Christian and Catholic media are filled with the shock, awe and banality of evil of late. In this case, the inability to name anti-semitism as evil…or even a violation of conduct. After weeks of demonstrations on college American campuses supporting the terrorist group Hamas, Congress not only condemned antisemitism, but formed a bi-partisan task force to investigate its exponential rise in American college campuses.

Appearing before the congressional committee, the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania waffled when asked this simple question.

“Does calling for the genocide of the Jewish nation violate a code of conduct at your school?”

Each president replied with a variation of, “It depends on context.”

That the shock and awe emantes from both sides of the chasm dividing this country is ironic, even perversely amusing. Religious and secular writers alike have vehemently condemned these three women. The unusual concensus is disturbing for it highlights our quickness to judge and criticize regardless of our faith or lack of it. Each president refused to answer the loaded question with either a “Yes.” Or a “No.” Clearly, all three would have been schooled–pun intended–by their institutional counsel in the art of speaking without saying much. Certainly not to questions for which there’s no answer that would go unpunished.

Unfortunately some Catholic Christians

indicted their collapse of moral reasoning. Although John Grondelski in his Catholic Thing piece gives passing mention to the legal gamesmanship at stake, he quickly moves on to outrage.

How can any of us be shocked at this moral equivocation of the three college presidents?

  • For years, we’ve watched academia impugn Socrates, Aristotle, many authors of the Great Books as irrelevant and racist.
  • We know of the calamitous decision to remove these great thinkers from the college curricula.
  • The relentless spread of atheistic ‘isms’ whether activism, socialism, racism, transgenderism across college campuses is glaringly evident.
  • As is the antipathy to America’s primary values, even of its constitution, among academic faculties.

All of which recalles the famous line from the movie Casablanca: “What? There’s gambling here?”

The originator of the wonderfully phrase desciptive phrase, “banality of evil,” is Hannah Arendt. Banal because our demonic enemies tactics never change their tactics: hatred, disunity, envy. Arendt’s phrase, “the banality of evil” came from her witness of the trial of Alfred Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust. For Arendt, Eichmann and the Nazi’s ‘final solution personified a failure to think. “What had become banal – and astonishingly so – was the failure to think,” Butler writes.

Butler’s interest in the failure of thinking is curious. Her several-decade-long crusade against our God given natures as men and women could look like a similar failure to think. For Butler, gender is determined by behavior. Her 1993 book Gender Trouble and the Subversion of Identity, is considered a classic of feminist and queer theory.

Upon diving into queer theory I was immersed in its obfuscatory language. An unsurprsing fact because in order to persuade ourselves that what we see in the mirror, a woman or a man is not real, we need a gigantic number of words. Especially polysyllabic and esoteric ones. Words whose meaning is a moveable feast, like gender ideology. For example, consider this quote from Butler’s book Gender Trouble. “The idea that sexual practice has the power to destabalize gender emerged from my reading of Gayle Rubin’s Traffic in Women and sought to establish that normative sexuality fortifies normative gender.” Or, clearly stated, “same sex sexual activity practiced over time is normal.’

Butler’s takeaway from Arendt could plausibly be “never stop thinking.” The untrammeled human will and intellect- unbounded by our natural fear of God are far more dangerous weapons than are bullets or bombs. In fact, we could call them the most powerful force in the world.


Because only we-of all His creatures-have the capacity to deny the Creator!

It’s all of one piece:

Antisemitism, abortion-on-demand, transgenderism and persecution against those of us who hold God’s law as sacred. And our battle isn’t with people. As related below by my fictional characters, criminal defense attorney Zach Cunningham and Father John Tobin.

“Like Lindsey noted earlier, and Kate wrote in her articles, the concept of evil hasn’t been in my lexicon. But none of us can look at the details of this case and not understand this is something different … other.” Zach leaned forward. “But when you said we’re not dealing with people, did you mean you think the people involved aren’t responsible? That they’re somehow possessed by dark spirits pulling their strings?” As he listened to his own words, Zach felt ridiculous, foolish, and yet eager to hear Father John’s response.

“I suppose one could say they’re not responsible, Zach.” The sorrow deepened in Father John’s intelligent gray eyes. “For the same reason that Christ begged the Father to forgive those who tortured and crucified him. If they’d known that the Galilean Jew was the King of the Universe, they would never have done what they did.”

It wasn’t cold in the room, but Zach shivered.

“You and I could spend the rest of our lives trying to understand evil and why it’s permitted and never get any farther than we’ll get here. Now.” The priest fingered the crucifix that hung around his neck. “Each human being is created in the Creator’s image and likeness. When he breathes life into us, he also breathes knowledge of his law: our conscience. Uniquely among all God’s creatures, we have an intellect and a will to develop that conscience.” The volume of his voice dropped. “His great gift to humanity: free will, Zach. Either we choose to follow the laws we know to be true—or declare ourselves gods.”

Plausible Liars

If anyone can teach us believers about our new status in America, it’s Jews.

Newly persecuted?

Yes, that’s us, we who believe that the Commandments don’t change. That He meant every word recorded in the Gospel.

Consider the Justice Department targeting of orthodox Catholics as “violent extremists. And then there’s Hillary Clinton’s label of prolifers as domestic terrorists and war criminals. Of course, those Christians and Catholics who’ve adapted God’s law to their own are exempted. It’s us “Biblical Christians and Jews who are now the public enemy.

Leil Leibowitz writes last week in his article, Pagan Hamas: “The years that have separated the holocaust and the Hamas terrorists have been focused on the disintegration of God’s creation: humanity. “Rights” like killing ourselves and our children exemplify the “separation of personhood and embidiment.” If we’re not God’s creation then human bodies are simply a substance to mutilate and terminate at will.

What can we do, asks Leibowitz?

Stop being shocked. Italics mine.

Those of us who keep God’s commandments are emissaries of his sanctifying power. We shine a light into the darkness. Our duty right now isn’t just to fight the pagans in courtrooms and voting booths and anyplace else where we can make a difference in civic life. We have a higher calling, that of obedience to God’s will. This obedience allows us to consecrate all that has been desecrated. Instead of a culture of mutilation, let us foster a culture of life, one that regrets the need for lethal force to ensure peace rather than rejoicing in the death of the innocent, one that disciplines the sword with strict principles of justice rather than rampaging without regard to moral constraint. This work will be hard, given the perversions we face. But, hallelujah, it isn’t complicated: Our faith traditions have left us very detailed instructions, tried and perfected over the centuries. All we have to do is follow the script. 

Pagan Hamas

A blessed Gaudete Sunday!

Post Tags :
antisemitism, criticism, evil, judgement, leil leibowitz, plausible liars, prejudice, sin, writing

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Lin Wilder

Lin Wilder has a doctorate in Public Health from the UT Houston with a background in cardiopulmonary physiology, medical ethics, and hospital administration. 

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