Can We Distinguish Between Good and Evil?

By | December 23, 2019

[December 23, 2019]  Nearly 75 years ago today, a town sheriff in Bonita Louisiana (a small town in the northeast part of the state) stood with his shotgun at the town’s entrance to prevent the Klu Klux Klan from entering.  At the time, he was “stopping progress,” but decades later, he was the town’s savior and hero.

An ancient question, rarely answered satisfactorily, revolves around the distinction between good and evil. Undoubtedly, part of the problem is language itself since linguistic concepts mature and evolve over time and among different cultures.  The difference between good and evil is not so easy once we begin to disassemble the idea.  I’m not going to attempt that here.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20

 Philosophers across time have undertaken the difficult task of sorting through the complexities of good and evil.  I certainly could not add to the understanding.  What I can do, however, is highlight an uncharacteristic idea we see slowly developing in the West.  What social commentators are saying is that some people are no longer able to distinguish between good and evil.

Recent U.S. socialist-like movements (e.g., Antifa, KKK, Black Liberation Army, American Communist Party) are based on the idea that the American capitalist system is both corrupt and gives preferential (unfair and discriminatory) treatment to individual races of people.  Therefore, as the argument goes, capitalism and any system that supports it is inherently evil.  Evil should be attacked and destroyed, a case that is hard to ignore.

Community leaders are the first level of defense against the radicalization of their citizens and political leaders all have the intrinsic responsibility to educate us about the actions of these groups, how they fit into our value structure (culture), and what is being done by them that is either good or evil.  Some have argued that leadership at this level is in short supply.

People are finding it more difficult to tell the difference between good and evil.  One glaring example, as I’ve noted here many times, are those who adopt socialism (and its sister ideologies) despite overwhelming evidence of the unmitigated evil that ideology has spawned.  The death of more than 100 million people is significant, yet those who believe in socialism say that socialists today are just smarter than those in the past.

How do we get back to a better understanding of what is good and evil?  Can We Distinguish Between Good and Evil?  Those questions are the most asked question of this century. Remember, when leaders fail, evil grows.1


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

27 thoughts on “Can We Distinguish Between Good and Evil?

  1. Jake Tapper, Jr.

    This is a very important article. If you read it, pass it along. Too many of us today cannot make a good distinction between good and evil. The reason? I think it’s because we have drifted away from religion.

  2. Mr. T.J. Asper

    I found it humorous in a devlish sort of way that you listed the KKK, antifa, and the BLM with the same broad socialist paintbrush. Well done, Gen. Satterfield. Keep up the great works and spot-on common sense.

    1. Valkerie

      General Satterfield has hit the ball out of the part with this article. ????

    2. Scotty Bush

      Excellent article and thanks to Mr. TJ for pointing out the link made here in this article about how not much different the thuggish KKK and BLM are. Interesting isn’t it?

      1. Tomas Clooney

        Yes, it is. I didn’t initially think much of it but now that you pointed this out, it should not be hidden or missed by folks like me. The connection among these radical groups all go back to Marxist or neo-Marxist thinking.

      2. Edward M. Kennedy III

        Socialism is a symptom of moral rot and civilizational crises.

  3. Georgie B.

    Interesting discussion today about religion, politics, and stupidity. While all three certainly matter in this debate and in pointing at what is the source of the decline in our ability to know good from evil, there may be another major player here. And that is our educational system. Education today has moved away from its original intent to give us the ability to think and be a person of good character and is now more about indoctrinating little kids into thinking that they are a bunch of nobodies unless they goose-step along with a socialist ideology. Even teachers don’t know better, since they are just following what they were taught in college. Sad direction that our country is headed.

    1. Tony Custer

      Pow, you got that one right, Georgie. I didn’t even think of it but you are absolutely right on this. Who else has contact with us every day of the week (even on weekends) but our educational system. Looks like a govt sponsored hit job for sure. No wonder so many want to withdraw their kids from public schools and teach them at home.

      1. Willie Shrumburger

        That is why we are taught that there is no truth unless something is of good social justice. And, guess who defines social justice?

  4. old warrior

    While there is clearly a problem at the religious level (as noted in the discussion below), I also think that another reason we see a decline in ‘seeing’ the good and evil and making a distinction, is that our political leaders want to normalize wrong doing at many levels. They even want to rename illegal behavior. Case in point, illegal aliens are now just undocumented people. Another slippery slope.

    1. JT Patterson

      Good comment, we need some old-fashioned butt kicking here. When a politician says something stupid like this, best to call him out on it. Say what needs to be said. Be brave, not a moral coward.

    2. Walter H.

      Right, if you want to see some real politicians drifting away from our Western core values, just look at the US presidential elections. Whackos are piling up in the Democratic Party.

      1. KenFBrown

        Spot-on comment, Walter. Just look at who is at the top of the DNC’s run for the president … some old, white guy who can’t talk without a big-ass flub and who is corrupt to the bone. Joe Biden is as stupid, corrupt, and disingenuous as they come.

      2. Greg Heyman

        Yes, how very sad. I used to be a registered Democrat, now I’m an Independent. I can no longer stand the evil of so many in the party. They want to steal from the producers in society and give to others for votes. Selling votes with your money.

        1. Jonathan B.

          … and like a Communist dictator, these same people want to take your guns away. They tell you its for your own safety. Ha Ha Ha Ha. Believe them at your own peril.

  5. Lynn Pitts

    I sadly must agree that we have more and more difficulty distinguishing good from evil. In a society that rewards participation with an award is on the decline. It will take a dramatic destructive event to PUSH us back on track.

    1. Karl J.

      Reward winning and you will get out of the problem with the good vs evil problem. Simple in concept, almost impossible in execution of a plan to make it so.

    2. Eric Coda

      I agree Lynn that perhaps we are on the wrong track to achieve good things when we reward bad behavior and fail to reward high achievement. There is clearly something wrong. Gen. Satterfield once said that being too compassionate could get you killed. Smart thinking.

  6. Max Foster

    There is no surprise here. With the decline of religion in the West, the decline in our abilities to distinguish betw/ good and evil declines. This has been a slow, methodically process brought on by our elites. Evil is clearly creeping up on us all.

    1. Nick Lighthouse

      I think that the decline in religion is just one aspect. Religion – as experienced as a part of our communities – has itself declined into ritualism for the sake of ritualism itself. There has been little ‘thinking’ in the religious communities about how the ancient texts have meaning to us in a modern society. They simply don’t connect with us. Why? Good question.

      1. Greg Heyman

        Excellent observation, Nick. Religion doesn’t have to “keep up” with modern society but it does have to show it’s relevant and that, it has not done.

        1. Janna Faulkner

          Right, the religious leaders, especially in the Christian sectors have failed us. They are operating in an echo chamber and cannot find their way out.

        2. Darwin Lippe

          Religious leaders, excluding Islamic leaders, are pushing in the wrong direction. Islamic leaders are too but not the same way. All major religions — Christianity, Jewish, and Islam are all headed in the wrong direction. My opinion.

    2. Yusaf from Texas

      Excellent comment here, Max as usual. The link between the decline in religion and the decline in our ability to tell the difference in ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are occurring at the same time.


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