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When Good is Evil Spoken Of

By Keith Burton - GCN     Filed 8/5/06

Where did common sense go? I ask that question because it seems that “common sense” has gone the way of the dodo bird in our society. No one speaks of it anymore, and no one seems to know what it is. It used to be considered a required part of living life. It was a collective and individual sense of what was right and reasonable. But today, common sense has been replaced with the belief that everyone has a right to an opinion and that opinion is better than what anyone else has, an opinion shaped regardless of facts or experience. Facts themselves have been turned into just bits of information that really depend on the observer. Facts have become a form similar to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Nothing is really right, and nothing is really wrong, The same is reflected in what was once called good verses evil. Today, there is no evil. Evil, in today’s state of mind is just a matter of opinion.

I am perplexed over people’s claimed “right to an opinion.” Where did this “right” come from? What law says such a right exists? What line in the Constitution explains this right? Most people would claim that this right of opinion stems from the right to free speech, which is in the Constitution. But is the right to free speech the same as the right to an opinion? Surely the framers of the Constitution knew there was a difference. This “right of opinion” doesn’t exist. While everyone can and does have an opinion, as matter of individual biology, for thousands of years, common sense reigned-in the extremes of opinions, opinions that shape an individual’s behavior and the laws of society. But no more it seems.

Because so many people are consumed with their own opinion, no one gives merit to credible ideas and respect to individuals regarding solutions to our problems because, as you hear so often, “that’s just his opinion.,” which is the end result of nearly all discussions today. This chaos of ideas, hiding behind the “right to have an opinion,” has made common sense nearly impossible to derive today.

If everyone’s “right to an opinion” is tantamount, than the opinion of even the best educated, and knowledgeable on a subject or task, has little merit. This is the way people act in much of the world.

It is also why there is virtually no true leaders in the world today. People want their “leaders” to reflect their interests, as long as those interests don’t interfere with their “right to an opinion.”

But here is the problem, an opinion does not necessarily mean it should be expressed, or adopted. If an opinion has merit, than it should be willing to risk debate and even censure. And if it can’t than it should not hold value or weight. But these days few people have learned the skill at communicating ideas and arguing their merits. As a result, even the most infantile opinions are frequently expressed and given weight by listeners, too ignorant to know the difference.

In the national debate these days many issues have their root in basically what is right and what is wrong. Mankind has over the centuries developed systems, compiled in religious beliefs, that organize concepts of right and wrong, which have helped govern behavior for generations. Today, most of these systems are being dismantled and discredited as being archaic and useless. But there is no system being introduced as a replacement except the elevation of the opinion. The result is the mindless confusion of the mob.

I find it amazing that in all of the talk and all of the opinions so carelessly expressed, that few talk about how any of this "opinion wisdom" offers any improvement to the condition of mankind. How are people made better than before? Is it better to be honest? Is it better to be fair? Is it better to be trusting? Is it better to help others? By today's standard, there is no recognized authority to be any of these things. What is even more disturbing, is that any effort to establish the morality of good, is vehemently disdained, especially in popular culture, our movies and television. It is okay to be morally bankrupt as long as you don't hurt somebody's feelings. It is a road to disaster, because if nothing is truly right to do, than there are no rights at all that can be sustained. Liberty without rights is not liberty,  it is enslavement.

America was founded on principles rooted in the Bible and on the hope of liberty. But most people have forgotten that the Bible is more than a religious book. It is filled with concepts of behavior that thousands of years of experience have shown to be positive and uplifting. But people have chosen to ignore those messages in a confusion of their own opinions and stupid arguments that go nowhere. This criticism of the Bible, and its Christian message has reached the point that the very words and concepts in the Bible can hardly be discussed or taught in open society. There are even efforts to claim some content in the Bible as "hate speech." Is that freedom talking?

Opinions involve words. Words are powerful things. Who hasn't been hurt by a word said in anger or ridicule? But today people routinely use vulgarity and sarcasm as if it is nothing. How are people made better from such language? Why do people want to inflict painful and degrading words on each other? Words can also heal. With the right words, a person can find comfort. With the right words, your neighbor can give you help. With the right words, a nation can find vision. Words are more than the noise of communication. They are power and all of them have an effect.

It has reached the point that all the good that America represents, and that includes the good of our own people, is being lost. But it is even worse than that. What was once considered good, and rightly so, is now thought as evil.  For too many people in America and around the world it has become a time when good is evil spoken of.

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