Cruelty and Evil: Two Phases of Immorality

I define the fundamental division of the Ethical category “Immoral” (the antinomy of “Moral”) as between acts of anti-human Cruelty and the governance of anti-humanity Evil. Cruel and Evil represent two different, though entwined, phases of Immorality (in parallel, the category of Moral is divided to Virtues acts and Noble missions).

Cruelty is anti-Human. It is manifested as a conscious attempt to break deontological premises. From the swindler who cons his friends into utter ruin to the butchering of innocents and helpless humans and down to the military commander who executes carpet-bombing on civilian targets while fully aware that there is no real strategic threat in the designated area and/or that there are alternative efficient military options. The perpetrators of Cruel acts are directly and personally involved in the executing of the killings, raping and assorted deeds of violence; and are, in the majority of cases (though, certainly not in all), under a kind of personal risk and danger.

The deeds of Cruelty conceivable mitigating circumstances range from uncontrollable impulses and rage to the primal instincts of war. A perplexing moral issue is whether actions of Resha (violence against civil law) are temporarily permissible in fighting humanity-endangering forces of Evil — the Dresden bombing, for example).

Evil, in parallel, is anti-Humanity. Evil is the teleological mobilization (not necessarily the activation) of the possibility of Omnicide (on varied destruction scales — from threatening to wipe out a community for establishing a “red line” to nuclear “Escalation Dominance” SIOP) in order to achieve total personal and/or group domination. Though Evil is not predicated on Resha deeds, if activated, it can lead to the worst kinds of crimes against humanity. The counsels of Evil are, almost always, under no immediate and clear personal risk and danger.

Strategies of Evil seek justification in an ideological mission (Nazism) and\or the Realistic state-of-nature conditions of the international arena. An immanent perplexing ethical dilemma is whether it is morally permissible to mobilize the elements of Evil to contain opposing forces of Evil (Nuclear Deterrence).

Here are Israel and Gaza; here are Bucha and NATO’s BMD in Eastern Europe – go do the Ethical deliberation.

Meir Stieglitz received a PhD in International Relations from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, an M.A in Political Theory and International Relations from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Hebrew University. Stieglitz did his Post-Doctoral as an adjunct fellow at the CSIA — Kennedy School of Government and at Harvard’s Economics Department.  Being a teacher of Universalism, Stieglitz’s studies, writings center on the aspects and implications –Philosophical, Theoretical, Geo-Political, Strategic, and Economic – of a fundamental query: Is Humanity Possible? Since 2003, in the background of the Iraq invasion, Dr. Stieglitz quit all his public and governmental positions in Israel (including weekly columns in leading Israeli newspapers, academic attachments, media appearances and lectures).