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All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing - Edmund Burke
In march 1964, a twenty-eight-year-old woman named Kitty Genovese drove home from work and parked her car in Queens, a borough in New York City. She lived in a nice neighborhood there, Kew Gardens. Genovese exited her car and a man came after her, stabbing her in the back. The assault took place on the sidewalk in front of a row of shops and across the street from a ten-story apartment building called the Mowbray. The assailant, twenty-nine-year-old Winston Moseley, retreated to his car and backed it down the street out of view. Moseley returned to the scene of his crime, sexually assaulting Genovese and stabbing her again. The stabbing and and sexual assault went on for 35 minutes, then Moseley went back to his car and drove home. Kitty Genovese was left dead.
This is a horrible story, one that is played out all too frequently. The Genovese story, however, became national news due to a New York Times article that was written about it. The article stated the following:
For more than half an hour, thirty eight respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens... Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead.
The apathy of Genovese's neighbors sparked outrage across the nation. People couldn't understand how they could be so cold-hearted. It was generally agreed that the incident represented a new low in human civilization. The inaction of the neighbors in the face of such evil was itself a form of evil, known in legal circles as "depraved indifference."
Now let's expand that Queens neighborhood. Let's expand it to include the entire world. What is our proper response in the face of evil ? What responsibility do we have ? Do we get involved, or do we stand by watching and doing nothing like the neighbors of Kitty Genovese ? An easy example of this is our response to the warmongering of Adolph Hitler. All but the most feeble-minded among us know that our only choice there was to get involved, no matter how high the price. If we had stood by idly then chanting simple-minded flower-child slogans like the 60's-era "war harms children and other living things," it would have had disastrous results. The body count would have been far more astronomical, the Holocaust many times larger, and Hitler's endgame was to attack the United States after Europe and Russia were defeated, thereby conquering the world. We know this from Hitler's own writings. In an unpublished sequel to Mein Kampf, Hitler acknowledged this endgame. He considered the United States his most dangerous enemy, and he was proven correct, fortunately for the world.
But not all evil in the world represents a direct existential threat to the United States, as Hitler did. We can stand by and watch the human carnage and do nothing if we wish, just as the neighbors of Kitty Genovese did. We can adopt a policy of depraved indifference and watch the genocide in Darfur, the brutal repression of the Taliban, or the mass murders of Saddam Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad. Often we have sat back and watched the human carnage play out as we went happily about our daily lives. We good men have watched the triumph of evil as we did nothing, or at least nothing effective. We get together with other alleged civilized countries and draft meaningless U.N. resolutions condemning mass murderers, while the mass murderers go right on pillaging, slaughtering, raping, and mutilating. As grateful as I imagine the genocide victims are for those spineless U.N. resolutions, it seems a country like the United States, a superpower, should do more than talk or pass an economic sanction. Sometimes, it takes armies to do the talking, and sometimes, even though war is as terrible as it gets, war is the answer. Sometimes, as Orwellian as it sounds, only war can bring peace. If humans were a more noble species, it might not be so, but if human history teaches us anything, it teaches us that humans have been on a thousands of years long struggle for power. That says something dark about the human heart, or at least some human hearts, but we can't deny it. That power struggle will be quite fruitless if evil wins in the end, and the depraved indifference of the free world, led by the United States, can only help to bring about that very result.
And that is why people of a certain political stripe should shut the hell up about U.S. military spending, as if it's all a tremendous waste of money on the "war machine." That is a self-defeating view, and naive beyond belief. I'm sure we can streamline our military spending and make it more effective, but I doubt any spending we do is more essential. If we disarm, I guaran-fricking-tee you our enemies will not. Our enemies will be absolutely thrilled if we disarm, and I'm all for NOT pleasing them. I want the USA to be the strongest, because I believe in our principles far above those of Iran, China, Cuba, North Korea, etc. It should be obvious, but for some it isn't. They take freedom for granted in a critical failure of logic. I will never understand what they can possibly be thinking. Maybe they have a death wish or maybe they just live in lollipop land, but I know one thing for sure - we should not listen to them, ever.