By Jeff Mincey on June 6, 2010
We Americans just love our evil. We not only demonize our criminals, but we relish doing it. It permeates our society. Our literature and movies are rich in evil protagonists, and we buy innumerable guns to protect ourselves against bogeymen of all sorts — even as we have a voyeuristic fascination with them.
The concept of evil permeates also our institutions. We codify it in our criminal judicial system, and we have the highest incarceration rate of any Western industrial society to show for it. Not satisfied only to elect politicians who champion the death penalty for violent offenders, we use a punitive approach even for nonviolent crimes as well — all under the banner of justice.
But just what exactly is evil?