Addendum to Saddam Hussein Post

Opposing Views is a website with a similar goal as FOX: It's designed to bring Americans both sides of every issue so people can decide for themselves what they think. My blogs are sometimes posted on their site, and the last one they posted was the one about Saddam Hussein. The post wasn't very long, although it easily could have been, as the subject matter is complex. It was about a liberal's view of human nature vs. a conservative's. Here are two comments from OV readers:

"Suzanne Venker has clearly never met a liberal. She's too busy listening to the absurd parodies of other conservatives pundits who have never had any sort of intellectual conversation with anyone who self-identifies themselves as "liberal."

"How the whole liberal/conservative issue came about in this article was a stretch. No one is inherently good or evil but rather always capable of both. The concept of whether a person is inherently good or evil is somewhat irrelevant. We are inherently both."

The folks on OV are a lively bunch and often get their feathers ruffled. Rather than debate the issue constructively, they tend to throw daggers. Or worse, they completely misrepresent what I said.

Of course no one's inherently good or evil and we're all capable of both. My reason for discussing the concept of evil as a conservative/liberal issue wasn't to say one group is evil and the other isn't; that would be ridiculous. My point was to delineate between how a conservative and liberal each reacts to evil.

And since I can never top Dinesh D'Souza's analysis of this issue, I'll simply point to it instead:

"At root, conservatives and liberals see the world so differently because they have two different conceptions of human nature. Liberals tend to believe in Rousseau's proposition that human nature is intrinsically good. Therefore, they believe that people who fail or do bad things are not acting out of laziness or wickedness; rather, society put them in this unfortunate position. The liberal's high opinion of human nature leads to the view that if you give people autonomy they will use their freedom well.

Conservatives know better. Conservatives recognize that there are two principles in human nature -- good and evil -- and these are in constant conflict. Given the warped timber of humanity, conservatives seek a social structure that helps bring out the best in human nature and suppress man's lower or base impulses."

To offer a great example, consider the Fort Hood killings. Dr. Phil -- your typical PC psychologist -- is one of the many liberal-minded Americans who suggests we don't rush to judgment about Major Hasan's "motives" for his killing spree. In response, Dorothy Rabinowitz writes the following in today's Wall Street Journal.

"To kill your fellow Americans -- as many as possible, unarmed and in the most helpless of circumstances, while shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), requires, of course, only murderous hatred -- the sort of mindset that regularly eludes the Dr. Phils of our world as the motive for mass murder of this kind.

"With a bit of stretching, adherents of Maj. Hasan-as-war-victim theme found a substitute of sorts. The thesis: Maj. Hasan's mental stress, provoked by the suffering of Americans who had been in combat, caused him to go out and butcher as many of these soldiers as he could."

This is a perfect example of the difference between the conservative and liberal mindset.

TOMORROW: Judge the Person, Not the Resume

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