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Friday, March 26, 2010

The worst evils

"The worst evils in the world aren't done by evil people. They're done by good people who don't know they're not doing good." ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Let's think about that. There are countless examples of good people who've caused great damage to other human beings, to themselves, and to the world. Wars fit into this category. Things now thought of as "crazy" in the medical or scientific worlds, have done great damage. So much of the damage is caused by ignorant, good people.

Now, let's think about it again, but after filtering out people:

1. who we know of today, but who aren't close to us.
2. who lived before us and who we know about through history.

Who does that leave? It leaves us.

Now, since we're fallible humans, there's no way to ever rid ourselves of committing "the worst evils." They're going to happen.

What we can do is always try to think. We've got to think about our actions -- with our families, with our friends, with those at work (especially when we're leaders) -- and do our best to make thoughtful, instead of thoughtless decisions.

I think we can all agree that we don't want to commit one more of those worst evils if there's any way we can avoid it.

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