If I could snap my fingers and remove suffering from the world, I would not do it. I would not even consider it. We need suffering. We need agony. We need torture. I am not crazy, so I would remove my ability to suffer. We don’t need that; but if I could make everyone and everything experience eternal happiness in the afterlife, I would never allow it. No good. Wouldn’t be right.The way I see it, if we could manage suffering efficiently, if we could make the agonized cries of those we deem worthy strong enough to really reach us, then the world would be a better place. If we could prevent evil men from victimizing the innocent, for example, it would still be inadequate, as it would not properly deal with evil. It would only restrain it. Caged evil is depressing. One of the main reasons the world is not perfect is because it lacks sufficient agony where we good people need it most.
We should not put bad people to death in order to save money. It’s more cost-effective to keep them alive. We should never hold people down and kill them while they cannot move as a deterrent to others who would commit crime or to address recidivism among murderers. Those are childish reasons for killing, developed by puny minds. We should put some people to death because they should be punished. They deserve to suffer. As good people, we deserve to enjoy their suffering.
So let’s create an axiom to represent the principle:
Among the world's many problems is this: not enough agony.
It sounds paradoxical for sure, but it is really quite simple. Sometimes when we add torture to the world, the world becomes a better place. In order to get the earth as close as possible to a state of perfect goodness, we need to keep it filled with the kind of agony we sanction. Of course it goes without saying that we must ensure the agony is directed where it should go, to those we deem worthy to receive it, in order to one day make the world the better place we know it has the potential to become.
Some people, like Nazi war criminals, for example, would not have done what they did unless they were of completely sound mind and as reasonable as we are, only evil. We know this because, otherwise, they would be “not guilty by reason of insanity,” which is clearly not the case. They are guilty all right.
This takes us to our second axiom:
The love of evil is completely rational.
Since the evil man chooses to be evil, welcomes it, looks for it, he should suffer. Of course, I realize that an evil man is not especially receptive to the notion of embracing goodness, mostly because of his evilness, so most of us have an advantage over him in our effort to cast off evil impulses. Here it is: to be willing to shun evil, you must first not be evil, or the choice is beyond you; but that really misses the point, now doesn’t it? Yes, because the point is pain, agony, suffering, sorrow, anguish, and all of other good ingredients that flow from indulging in our desire to torture the appropriate people as we make the world a better place. Knowing the virtues of such things, we have to be very careful to use torture for good, to carefully apply it to the people we want to harm, to the worthy ones, I daresay, to the chosen ones. We must be ever-vigilant, lest we accidentally cause agony upon someone we, as good men, have not decided should bear it.
This takes us to our third axiom, which, in its most complicated form, would read something like this:
Torturing a man is only reasonable when we decide he deserves torture, meaning he freely commits evil acts, not because he is inherently evil, which would take away his choice, but because he is evil by choice, possessing a completely sound mind, as we, or any good man, would define one, and completely mentally fit enough to opt for good. The man who should be tortured is the man who makes decisions to wrong others in situations where we would never have made the same decision. Of course, we wrong others also, but we are human, not perfect. The evil man, the man who needs to suffer, is the man who wrongs others with wrongs greater than any wrongs we can personally tolerate. Let us not forget, however, that he must also be mentally healthy enough to be held accountable for his evil actions. This level of moral competence should be defined by us on an ad hoc basis as we decide whether the world can be improved by administering torture to this person or that.
OK, that is too long for an axiom. Let me try again. Here is axiom number three:
Torturing a man is reasonable when we declare that it is, if and only if, we also declare the man to be of sound mind and to be evil.
So let’s recap what we know:
- Among the world's many problems is this: not enough agony.
- The love of evil is completely rational.
- Torturing a man is reasonable when we, as self-proclaimed good men, judge that he is of sound mind and that he is evil by choice.
Many thanks to Papamoka for teaching me how important it is to keep suffering in the world, and for his dedication to always eating recycled steaks.
No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks. ~ Mary Wollstonecraft
Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it ~ Clint Eastwood’s intellectually honest answer to Little Bill Daggett who informed him that he doesn’t deserve to die.