It seems to me, the greatest victory for evil there is, is to use someone’s benevolence to do evil. It happens more than you might think. Malevolent people and institutions play on our good natures to undermine our intentions. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions which is just a simplification of this scheme in play. If you think about it, it becomes obvious, evil has no qualms about perverting a good thing into bad, such is the nature of evil. Once you understand this and apply it, it becomes much harder for the diabolical to pervert your good intentions to evil, because you have become wise to it. This is why we all should pay attention, not to the intentions, stated of otherwise,, but to the likely outcome. That is the only way to guard against being manipulated by evil people into lowering the lot of Mankind.
History is filled with examples of good intentions turned bad. From Eve biting the apple to the welfare state, people have sought to improve their lives and the lives of their fellows, but the exact opposite came about. Their intentions were good and often noble but the results were evil. This only happens when we act without thinking. The Nazis used this tactic to get the German people to slaughter the innocent. A Nazi professor would walk into a room full of upper middle class youth, and show pictures of profoundly handicapped people and then ask, “would you want to live like this?” The unanimous answer form the rash youths, who had not lived a life yet and so were easily manipulated was, “NO!” In this way the Nazis used the German people’s compassion to murder millions of innocent people.
Some say listen to the heart, it will always tell you what is right, they are either wrong or manipulating us. The heart is an emotional organ. When we act on emotion and not logic bad outcomes are almost certain. This is one reason those who favor arbitrary rule so love the idea of democracy. They know people can be manipulated, especially in large numbers, by applying to their emotions. Democracy is nothing more than organized mob rule. Everyone knows a mob can be manipulated, only to destroy however, never to build. A mob can be wound into a frenzy then set upon some person, group or organization. The mob has no mind only raw emotion. After the fact, many who participated will be ashamed and regretful but too late, they allowed themselves to be manipulated, like a puppet.
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions is an old saying that has always been pertinent and always will be. In our own lives we seek a good, with the best of intentions, and it goes all wrong. You might want to help someone who is handicapped so you open the door for her. By doing so you have said, by your actions, they are incapable. Of course that was not your intention but that could be the message they get. Perhaps your actions legitimize someone else feelings of inadequacy, or maybe your actions result in the exact opposite of what you intend, but either way the results didn’t comport with your intentions. Intentions must be tempered with logic and reason before they can do good works.
There is a whole political movement dedicated to manipulating people, into acting against their own good and the common good, by using people’s good intentions and emotions. What is ostensibly directed at helping the poor actually creates more poor and locks those it is supposed to help into perpetual generational poverty. Universal health care is sold emotionally, everyone under it is supposed to get health care, but the results fall far short of the promise. This political movement has resulted in famines that killed untold millions of people, oppression in the name of equality that destroyed whole nations, wars to spread it’s ideology that killed and maimed millions more. Socialism and communism prey on our empathy, manipulate us through our sympathy and get us to act against our own and society’s interests with our benevolence.
Knowing a scam is underway is the first step to avoid it’s snare. It is up to us as rational maximizers to weigh the benefits against the costs of an action without falling for naked emotion. It is only by pragmatically looking at the historical results of various actions that we can truly judge them good or bad. When we blindly follow our intentions the results are almost certain to be bad. Only through acknowledging this and keeping it top of mind can we stop falling victim to evil manipulators, who will happily use our empathy, sympathy and benevolence to bring about evil in the world. It is by doing these things and not falling prey to evil manipulators that we can say we have become civilized. A barbarian is controlled by his emotion, a civilized human being acts on logic and pragmatism. Which are you?