By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Did you see last week where the European Union is accusing American tobacco companies of smuggling billions of cigarettes into Iraq, in violation of U.S.-propounded international law? Should the companies be prosecuted for growing richer by providing succor to our enemies? Or should they be rewarded for spreading death to the ace Evil Axis member state, even as our intelligence agencies have made so little headway? Could this be the reason the Bush administration tried to slip a measure into the PATRIOT anti-terrorism bill last fall that would have shielded the tobacco companies from the racketeering cases being sought against them by the European Union, Canada and Colombia?
So Charles Manson, creepy idiot, goes down in history as evil personified for indirectly causing the deaths of fewer people than it takes to field a softball team; Osama bin Laden ups the ante to 3,000 and becomes the new face of evil; and meanwhile, a cabal of executives allegedly smuggles to our enemies and—known fact now—has lied and hidden data about the dangers of its product, resulting in the death of 450,000 people per year in America alone, and its faceless members not only go about rich and free but get preferential treatment by the White House as well.
(Conservatives will tell you that this is practicing "moral relativism." No, it's using our reason, which they haven't entirely outlawed yet.)
When evil is that entrenched, that rich, that powerful, that manipulative, is it still stupid? You bet. They may never know it, and they may go to their graves walking on yours, stinking rich and laughing, but they are stupid to the core.
Frank Herbert said, "Fear is the mind-killer," and as Miles Davis noted, the inverse of "evil" is "live." Evil sons of bitches of all stripes—mullahs and corporate raiders and tigers and bears—fear nothing more than they do the unguarded moment, the live instant—right here, right now—where change occurs. Instead, they try to lock the world down into their narrow theocratic or profit-flow vision of how it should be. Who is so stupid that they want to watch a predictable movie where they know everything that's going to happen? They are, except it's not a movie, but every minute of their lives—and, if they have their way, ourlives. At the risk of sounding morally relativistic again: screw them all.