Many on both the left and right bark much more loudly than they bite. For an example from the left, consider Susan at Suburban Guerrilla who feels complicit in President Bush's "horror" and yet does nothing about it.

Does the knowledge of impending evil require action on a moral person's part?

Well, does it?

You already know the answer, I suspect. That's why so many of us have been so edgy since the Bush takeover, why so many of our fellow citizens cling so fiercely to their state of denial. No one wants to acknowledge the full extent of what's going on, because if you actually let it sink in, you might feel morally compelled to run into the streets with an AK-47. And that would certainly disrupt our comfortable lives, wouldn't it?

I was reading the other day that one of the Nazi torture warehouses was right in the middle of a residential neighborhood - right next to a movie theater, in fact. People must have heard the screams.

On some level, weren't they complicit? Did pretending they didn't know repel the moral stain?

Stephen King novels are easier for us to absorb than real life, because we assume we'd fight back against unthinkable horrors like vampires or evil clowns. Frankly, it would be an easier decision than fighting back against a right-wing coup - it's more visible, easier to label.

I mean, you don't see me out in the streets, calling for revolution. I'm not saying I'm any different than you, or morally superior. I'm saying as long as we're not out in the streets, storming the barricades to stop the horrors performed in our name, we're part of those horrors.

She's not much different from the pro-lifers (such as myself) who consider most abortions to be murder and yet sit by, mostly passive, while nearly a million babies are killed each year. So are we cowards? I don't think so.

What I think is that when people speak to advocate change, they're willing to go farther in words than they will in deeds because they hope to sway the deeds of others only slightly towards their favor; deeds are not necessary to inspire such a small shift. Along the same lines, people may realize that there's little to be gained by pushing an issue beyond a certain point. Susan (and pro-lifers) can advocate for a belief with words at very little cost; going further, into deeds, will begin to endanger their comfort and security. It would be irrational to court such danger without the reasonable expectation of additionally benefiting the belief being advocated -- great cost, for no additional gain other than the smugness that comes from moral consistency.



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