Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pure Evil

Anthony Lewis, reviewing a biography of Martin Luther King, refers to J. Edgar Hoover as either mentally disturbed or, that rarity, an evil person.

I've met evil people. They are forever laboring to propel themselves forward and others backward. They enjoy other people's pain and discomforture--Schadenfreude. They have no conscience. Glen was/is was such a person. So was/is Karen. Probably Jennifer.

Is there such a thing as motiveless malignity, as Iago says of himself? Is enjoying other people's pain motiveless?

Are these villains mentally disturbed? Who said it is not "normal" to compete against everyone else? Do they have a "personality disorder"? Hitler and Stalin were two of the worst human beings who ever lived. Were they mentally disturbed -- or just products of their times? Erik Erikson said Hitler was a "hysterical adventurer."

Maybe the apt term to use is simply, as Churchill said of Hitler, "wicked."