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Author Topic: What is evil
rightleft22
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EVIL
- morally objectionable behavior
- which causes harm or destruction or misfortune;
- having the nature of vice
- the quality of being morally wrong in principle or practice;
- malefic: having or exerting a malignant influence;
- That which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction:
- An evil force, power, or personification.
- Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction

I made the mistake of watching Glen Beck and when I did the thought that came to me was evil. I know it’s not politically correct to judge, even though we must judge to survive, and that it’s particularly not right to judge someone’s actions as evil, that’s just religion right.

What is evil?

What I saw scared me and I was honestly horrified. It wasn't what he was saying or his politics but how he was saying it. How unaware he seemed to be of his own words even as he was choosing them so carefully.
I do not know this man; I have no Idea if he is sincere in his beliefs or if he sees himself as an entertainer. But when I watched him I felt as if I was looking at a very dangerous man and that his work might be evil. The number of times he use the word ‘them’, the distain in his voice when he used it, reminded me of the Rwandan radio broadcasts describing various tribes – the them - as cockroaches. I actually shuttered.

I wondered why the American people would accept such ‘entertainment/dialog/ whatever it might be called’ and what will likely be viewed as very wrong at best by history. This type of “dialog” scares the crap out of me.

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Colin JM0397
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Reminds me of the big-box churches. Religion as entertainment. Those folks scare me.

Glen Beck used to be ornery, sarcastic, and funny as hell back when he was just a lowly radio host in Philly. Rush, too. At some point they seem to have believed their own hype and hyperbole and became caricatures of their former selves.

Just don't watch/listen. The best way to handle people like that is to just ignore them.

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JWatts
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I'm pretty sure I've seen small horns sticking out of Rachel Maddow's hairdo, but it might just be my imagination. [Mad]
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Greg Davidson
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You watch Rachel Maddow?
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whitefire
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I'm a little confused by this post. You define evil, then say that what you saw "might be evil" but don't apply your definitions in any way.
I see your point about calling someone "them" being somewhat "bad" - but, I think, its at worst divisive. Saying it reminded you of something evil is a heck of a jump to actually being evil.
To colin -
I despise religion as entertainment (maybe we could get into it someday) but Beck might be more "entertainment as religion"
I actually like him better on the radio. I think having longer time to get the point across, and the conversational nature of the medium suits him better.
I'll admit to liking Beck (again more on the radio), but on TV there are times when I too am put off by the rhetoric.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
You watch Rachel Maddow?

Sure, occasionally.
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whitefire
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Since MSNBC came up while I was writing my post, I will say I'm not sure Beck or O'Riley ever put me off as bad as "worst persons in the world"
I know its (kind of) a joke, but it trivializes evil, and generally makes me think he's an idiot.

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TommySama
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This reminds me of the song, "What is a Juggalo?" by the Insane Clown Posse. They sing “he might try and put a weave in his nut hair... walk around the streets with a two liter stuffed in his butt cheeks.' Notably, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope immediately found it difficult to give a precise definition to "Juggalo." The behavior of a "Juggalo" is highly subjective, ranging from decorating your pubic hair to telling girls their butts stink (just because); so we are quickly told that a "Juggalo" is not so easy to define as it was first believed. In the chorus, Shaggy 2 Dope says, “if that’s what it is then” he does not know what one is at all. I am arguing that Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are using a postmodern deconstruction to signify the difficulty of giving any abstract concept a tangible definition, which casts a veil over our understanding of “evil“ that perhaps irreparably damages it. The song ends with the questions: “Jefferson? (He a Juggalo!)… Everybody?! (We all Juggalos).” This is more easily understood in another line when 2 Dope asks, “What is a Juggalo?” and Violent J responds, “I don’t know. But I’m down with the clown and I’m down for life, yo.” They are telling us that it is delusional thinking to say you can define in set, meaningful terms what something like a “Juggalo” or “evil” is, so you need to use more precise language (such as, “I’m down with the clown”). Until this song was released, most people thought that a “Juggalo” was an ICP fan, however this song cast that assumption aside, instead arguing that Insane Clown Posse fans are “down with the clown,” while a “Juggalo” is a much broader, or perhaps narrower type of person. In the following paragraph, keep in mind that “bad” is being equated with “down with the clown,” while “evil” is equated with “Juggalo” (all moral assumptions of good or bad regarding ICP fans and their artistic motifs should and must be set aside).

Similarly, "evil" is - and here I'll draw from my college education - like, a way subjective idea. It simplifies whatever you call "evil." It is a way to label and dehumanize the Other without actually weighing what or who the person is and why they do what they do. All the definitions provided at the top of the page can be easily and more intelligibly relabeled “bad,“ and be much more meaningful. So I try to stay away from things like “evil,” preferring “bad” with an explanation. I’m sure I occasionally fail, but if there is one thing I learned from the ICP, it is that “I don’t know” everything.

[ January 05, 2010, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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Colin JM0397
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A discussion of ICP using postmodern deconstruction... Only on Ornery [Cool]

<1 can of worms, 1 can opener...>
Let the fun begin.

There is no good
There is no evil.

In the cosmic sense, anyway. As Tommy says, it's all subjective and a tool to elevate or tear down others based on your own personal notions - or, as the case is most of the time, the notions you were given by others.

There is only what works and what does not work. You need to decide what does not work and take steps to avoid it. In that sense you can use the "evil" label if you so choose, but, as far as God or the Universe, Gaia, The Tao, etc. is concerned - there only is that which is, which is everything, period.

[ January 05, 2010, 04:48 PM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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rightleft22
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quote:
I will say I'm not sure Beck or O'Riley ever put me off as bad as "worst persons in the world"
I know it’s (kind of) a joke, but it trivializes evil, and generally makes me think he's an idiot.

I can’t help but think that trellised evil may be the most insidious; it sneaks up on you…

quote:
Just don't watch/listen. The best way to handle people like that is to just ignore them.
I cannot listen to these commentators and wont. I hope others will do the same and realize that this type of dialog is unhelpful at best, but instead there ratings sore and more of them keep popping up. What if people start thinking that what these guys are doing is real debate, real communication?

If something is evil or just bad or just wrong when do you say something?

quote:
I'm a little confused by this post. You define evil, then say that what you saw "might be evil" but don't apply your definitions in any way.
I see your point about calling someone "them" being somewhat "bad" - but, I think, it’s at worst divisive. Saying it reminded you of something evil is a heck of a jump to actually being evil.

At worst its murder. Which as history has shown happens. You can do anything to ‘them’ it’s not like ‘them’ are people.

I am also honestly confused. The definition of evil seems straight forward enough and by that definition I think its arguable that the work that these commentators do fits, yet we would rather use the word ‘bad’ and leave it at that. Safer maybe… But then history happens.

Just Bad, just wrong, no need to worry, nothing to see here move along now. Evil now evil we might have to do something about, better to look the other way. I’m going back into my hole

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TommySama
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"Just Bad, just wrong, no need to worry, nothing to see here move along now. Evil now evil we might have to do something about, better to look the other way."

No, the problem is calling something "evil" but not explaining why. Evil is a buzzword; it doesn't mean anything. It just gets people fired up about something. You should rail against these asshats, because what they do is wrong (doubleplusungood). But reducing your criticism to "they are evil" or "they remind me of evil" is sort of the same thing they do which you don't like... right?

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whitefire
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All that subjectivity aside, as it relates to the original post, we have a groundwork for describing evil already laid out by the person suspecting it.
I didn't see that Beck met his definitions.
But there is something to that "sense" one gets when listening to something horrible that we all have to try to put our finger on.
I, personally, didn't like most of the original definitions, choosing instead something like: "that which actively tries to take away from the good". Then all we have to do is define "good"!

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rightleft22
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quote:
No, the problem is calling something "evil" but not explaining why. Evil is a buzzword; it doesn't mean anything.
Which I why I asked the question, what is evil

I wonder if we as a socity feel that if evil is exposed, defined, explained (not just a buzword) we must do something about but if we can leave at bad, or wrong, we don't have to do anything about it?

[ January 05, 2010, 05:46 PM: Message edited by: rightleft22 ]

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whitefire
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Well, I think, based on my definition, that if you want the good, then you have to oppose evil.
That means doing something about it even if its just educating people about it.
Unless, of course, your evil. Then you want to help it along!
Seriously though, does anyone think evil that is "exposed, defined, [and] explained" ought to be left alone?

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rightleft22
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quote:
I didn't see that Beck met his definitions.
I wasn’t sure if Beck the person did either however I do think his rhetoric might as it is malefic, create division, and tears down without building up.


quote:
But there is something to that "sense" one gets when listening to something horrible that we all have to try to put our finger on.
I, personally, didn't like most of the original definitions, choosing instead something like: "that which actively tries to take away from the good". Then all we have to do is define "good"!

Well put. a "sense" something is horribly wrong and then the feeling that maybe something should be done. But I don't want to, so I'd rather re-label it as just wrong, someone else will take care of it.

[ January 05, 2010, 05:42 PM: Message edited by: rightleft22 ]

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TommySama
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"I wonder if we as a socity feel that if evil is exposed, defined, explained (not just a buzword) we must do something about but if its we can leave at bad, or wrong we don't have to do anything about it?"

Well, I'm reading a book right now called Nihilism. The author argues that American (or Western) society is basically made up of what he calls "passive nihilists." These are people who "live in a world without values." They avoid pain and conflict and sort of passively drift through life. These people would agree with that.

Otherwise, there is no such thing as evil, period. "Evil" is only a useful word that maybe means "really bad," but I'd still avoid it. You can fight bad things. But lets be honest and clear about what we're fighting.

(Ed. because you edited the quote)

[ January 05, 2010, 05:42 PM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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TommySama
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"Well put. a "sense" something is horribly wrong and then the feeling that maybe something should be done. But I don't want to, so I'd rather re-label it as just wrong, someone else will take care of it."

I can't really tell if you are strawmanning me to death, or just sort of thinking out loud. If the first, I think you've been watching too much Glenn Beck.

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rightleft22
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Well it’s clear that the word 'Evil' has been nullified, other than a buzzword to inflame it has lost its meaning.

Still the words bad or really bad doesn't seem to cover what I sensed. Which is why I asked the question what is evil?

Maybe I should have asked what is really bad?

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rightleft22
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Thinking out loud

I ‘sensed’ something which truly scared me, that I felt was wrong, maybe even evil… yet I knew I wouldn’t do anything about it - which to be honest, was part of my anger at what I was hearing… Not the most flattering picture of myself

[ January 05, 2010, 05:57 PM: Message edited by: rightleft22 ]

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TommySama
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Okay sorry, my misunderstanding.

I still resist evil, which I think can only be defined as being "really bad." I oppose it because it is used to conceal meaning. Someone says, "that's evil! because its really wrong/bad." Then the people listening think "Wow! That is evil, we must do something about it!" But without identifying what specifically was so wrong in the first place, you risk doing the same yourself.

In other words, the "evil" is attached to whatever is being called "evil," and that thing always becomes evil. Since I'm word failing right now I'll give an example:

Some guy rapes 5 little girls, violently. He's labeled a rapist and also a "pedophile." We would all agree this is "really bad" or "evil," without a doubt. So we call him and pedophilia evil. Now a few months later it happens again (different person). This time it wasn't such a violent rape; the girl was interested, but she was only 8 and it was clear he manipulated her. Her assailant is also labeled a pedophile, and the feeling of "evil" the original assailant brought up is transferred to this guy. A few months later an 17 year old gets charged with statutory rape for having consensual sex with his 15 year old girlfriend. You read about it in the news and hear the word pedophile (misnomer in this case). Having it all figured out, you feel, "That evil SOB HANG HIM!"

Obviously there are differences in these cases (and its a simplification). So like I said, the problem for me is that using "evil" dehumanizes the target of the assertion and makes it more difficult to think rationally about what is being claimed to be evil.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Beck is a clown going down... but with a fat fortune.
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Lloyd
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So let me get this straight you listen to Glenn and what you hear "scared you" and made you uncomfortable so you assume he is evil.

I am a frequent listener to Glenn on the radio, and there are times when I think he goes to far. But, if you listen to him and the things he proposes, they are far from evil.

Read the principles and values he puts forward. One of them might bother those of you that are very atheistic, and another might bother those who have a negative view of the United States. But you certainly can't classify them as evil.

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TommySama
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Lloyd, I don't think its his values or what he says that rightleft thinks are evil. I think its the way Beck wipes his ass with reason and honesty.
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Michelle
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I love Glenn Beck. Go get them, Tiger! [Razz]
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Michelle
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
Lloyd, I don't think its his values or what he says that rightleft thinks are evil. I think its the way Beck wipes his ass with reason and honesty.

Oh, you mean like when he calls Pelosi out on her crocodile tears, or shows the public the white house tree is sporting a christmas bulb with chairman Mao's picture on it?

The man is a saint.

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TommySama
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Oh, so just because you also hate women, that makes Glenn Beck a saint?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
Oh, you mean like when he calls Pelosi out on her crocodile tears, or shows the public the white house tree is sporting a christmas bulb with chairman Mao's picture on it?

The man is a saint.

The guy who uses eyedrops to fake crying on screen?

And I suppose he traced the ornament back to the school or community group that decided to put a bit of a Warhol painting on one of the ornaments that they were sent to decorate? Or even mention anything about the fact that the administration had no direct say in the design of the ornaments for that very reason?

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-december-16-2009/obama-s-socialist-christmas-ornament-program

Has the best coverage of the matter, and it probably the only media outlet whose time was honestly spent covering it.

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Pete at Home
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People that use words like "evil" to describe Glen Beck, scare me more than Glen Beck scares me.

Seriously.

Rwanda Radio actually inspired murder. That's proven. In New York, Colin Ferguson and in Las Vegas, yesterday's gunman, were clearly inspired to murder by folks that taught these killers to always see themselves as victims of racism whenever anything didn't go their way.

Show me anyone killing for Glen Beck.

I realize, after the last election, that a lot of people have been brainwashed to think that inspiring people to vote against your favorite politician is a crime against humanity tantamount to the holocaust. But seriously, get over the election, and come back to the real world.

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TommySama
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"A discussion of ICP using postmodern deconstruction... Only on Ornery [Cool] "

I get sick of all these pompous music critics who turn up their noses at the Insane Clown Posse just because 99% of their fanbase has an IQ lower than 90. I AM DOWN WITH THE CLOWN!!

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Viking_Longship
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Basically evil is to act without regards to compassion, this can be either without regard, which is bad, or revelling in the damage which is worse.

Politics is corrupting by its nature. To motivate people it's often necesary to paint your opposition as evil, which usually means distorting them and their argument, which is itself an evil action.

I don't know what the inverse of a saint is. There are some people, Stalin, Hittler, Cromwell, Cherrypoptart (just kidding), who qualify. However such people are as rare as the truly saintly.

Most people do evil things sometimes, what I as Christian would call sin, but they tend to be mundane petty things.

As for Glenn Beck, if he distorts or cherry picks information to slander the "other side" or even just pops his mouth off carelessly, that's evil, but that's true if Rachel Maddow does it too.

Niether of them are saints, they're entertainers and well paid for their work. Speaking the truth to power isn't so brave when you're getting a fat salary, have a loyal fan base and are echoing the general opinion of your network.

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0Megabyte
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Do evil and good exist? Sure they do. They absolutely do.

In the same way any other abstract concept we created exists, so do these.

But they have power.

Would I say disagreeing with this government is evil? No. Would I even say some of the ridiculous conspiracy theories held are evil? Generally no, unless one was maliciously spreading them to manipulate others.

Really... I guess if I were to use it, I'd say the things in common with those things I consider evil is an active maliciousness.

A serial killer is evil. Hitler is evil. A fake priest who swindles people out of their money is evil.

For a person to be "evil", and not just "doing an evil act" I guess that means for me someone who crosses a certain amount of evil acts, or acts in general with evil.

But I fear such a thing would become far too subjective. Many Germans thought Hitler a great man while he was in power, after all...

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bringer
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Many of us here have seen the lesser evils of our world. Gang violence, recruiting children for crime, domestic violence, corrupt officials to name a few.

Some of us have seen industrial size evil, and are aware of it and sensitive to it. I don't think many people have come of age in this respect. Its a culture of comedy not of tragedy.
Entertainment rules more than one hour of our evening, having never done so in history save in the courts of foppish wastrel kings or corrupt fiddling ceasars.

To see evil means breaking out of a comfortable blindness. Have no doubt, seeing evil is painful.
But then it is not blindness and the pain can be born.

I see the threads discussed on this board and it becomes apparent. One side grasps the concepts more clearly with a, let's call it a three dimensional view. Like a rubics cube they line up logic, information, critics, errors, intents, and consequences.

Intelligence is not enough. Many are intelligent. Fewer are wise. I give you Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. Probably not born evil, any of them, but a hundred million freeborn dead later I'd say, yes, I now see evil. Do you?

If not, why not? That it was done by well intentioned and intelligent not-born-evil government micromanagers is all the more chilling.

That we don't understand it is clear to me. How could mass murder of this scale happen in our socially enlightened age and are we going to just forget it did?

So I would urge all to see and to forever remember the great evil of our time. Not doing so is to let it live and grow here, among us and in us, a vampire contagion of otherwordly proportions.

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PSRT
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quote:
Oh, you mean like when he calls Pelosi out on her crocodile tears, or shows the public the white house tree is sporting a christmas bulb with chairman Mao's picture on it?

The man is a saint.

Does he do the same thing to conservative politicians? No? The term you are looking for, then, is "partisan hack." (Also, what pyr said about the ornament, which further demonstrates partisan hackery).

[ January 06, 2010, 06:22 AM: Message edited by: PSRT ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Show me anyone killing for Glen Beck.

That's true- Beck can claim cleaner hands because it's harder to directly count, say, the people who die because of the damage that the deliberate lies he pushed about health care reform which helped to damage the overall process.
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Lloyd
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quote:
Lloyd, I don't think its his values or what he says that rightleft thinks are evil. I think its the way Beck wipes his ass with reason and honesty.
First of all, the way you replied is pretty low, lets keep the discussion civilized. I can't argue reason with you, because if you disagree with conservative principles then obviously you will see reason differently. I can argue honesty with you. Can you point out instances where he has been less than honest.

Bringer, I agree -- lets recognize the great evils of our time and not dilute the term.

quote:
Does he do the same thing to conservative politicians? No? The term you are looking for, then, is "partisan hack."
He calls out anyone from any party that he disagrees with, so no I don't think partisan hack is a term that applies. Also the bit about the ornament, how can you not agree that aggrandizing someone like Mao who is responsible for the deaths of so many of his own people is "evil", and not call them out on that.

I've probably commented more on this thread than any other on this forum. I was trying to think why. I enjoy listening to Glenn, and I thought it wasn't right to label him evil. I guess what bothered me most though is that I see that most discussions these days turn into attacks on the messengers as much as the message. It bothers me equally when people on the conservative side make fun of Speaker Pelosi, because of her face lifts. In these times where I read daily talk of armed revolt in the comments sections of newspaper sites can we not at least here try to discuss civilly the issues that divide us? Please lets try and find reasons to unite with each other, and discuss the things that we disagree on with a modicum of respect for the people involved.

From our forum rules:
quote:
We know that good, wise people sometimes disagree. So we listen to the views of others, and have no patience with those who shout others down or use ridicule or coercion to silence serious arguments. Only fanatics and dictators assume that anyone who disagrees with them must be evil or stupid.

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Colin JM0397
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quote:
That's true- Beck can claim cleaner hands because it's harder to directly count, say, the people who die because of the damage that the deliberate lies he pushed about health care reform which helped to damage the overall process.
That is the largest, most ambigous load of tripe in this thread! Just try to quantify or prove that one. It's hyperbole to the Nth degree, and nothing you can pin on him. Who, exactly, has died or will die? Examples, statistics, you know – proof!

It would be easier to claim he is a saint by saving people. If you take all f-up's in the hospitals, with pharmeceuticals, and abuse of legal prescription drugs, our "health care industry" is the #1 killer in the US. It is evil to knowingly kill people (think Brittney Murphy for example. 32-year olds do not naturally die from heart attacks). Ergo, by keeping people off the "health care system", Glen Beck is doing GOOD by saving lives.

See how that works? It’s no more or less valid of an unprovable point than in the above quote.

------------------------

On another note, using this "people who die because of the damage that the deliberate lies he pushed..." idea that puts Obama (and Bush of course) square in the midst of EVIL with all capitals.

Iraq was BS. Obama's War is Peace speech was BS, and we continue to kill innocent civilians pretty much on a daily basis - collateral damage is a bitch. This is done based on what the POTUS said and does. Therefore they are all EVIL.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
quote:
Oh, you mean like when he calls Pelosi out on her crocodile tears, or shows the public the white house tree is sporting a christmas bulb with chairman Mao's picture on it?

The man is a saint.

Does he do the same thing to conservative politicians? No? The term you are looking for, then, is "partisan hack." (Also, what pyr said about the ornament, which further demonstrates partisan hackery).
And to be a partsan hack, and not YOUR partisan hack, is "Evil." Ah, the perpetual struggle between Coke and Pepsi.
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The Drake
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Since reason is man’s basic means of survival, that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good; that which negates, opposes or destroys it is the evil. - Ayn Rand

According to Objectivist ethics, Beck is clearly evil because he is not rational, and his diatribes appeal to the irrational in his listeners. He denies and distorts reality with his hyperbole, drawing listeners away from the path of truth.

Much like the Orwellian "two minutes hate", it is designed to demonize his selected enemy, only instead of Goldstein, it is liberals and Democrats who we are invited to rail against.

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Pete at Home
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I can't say whether that's a fair assessment because Beck is simply too annoying to watch.

But if that is true, singling Beck out, out of all the Talking heads from the left that use that exact same tactic, is a distortion and just more of the same. All part of the perpetual struggle between Coke and Pepsi.

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Colin JM0397
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"And to be a partsan hack, and not YOUR partisan hack, is "Evil." Ah, the perpetual struggle between Coke and Pepsi."

Of course a Liberal/Democrat who takes his own party to task for their shortcommings - OSC for example - is then a sellout, uncle Tom, etc. (same goes for conservative/Repub commentator.

Just can't win with the partisan jackmonkeys.

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