Good and Bad People?

by John K. Stoner (June 3, 2015)

In a post a few days ago, Berry quoted Robert Benchley to the effect that "there are two kinds of people in the world—those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don't."

I've been trying to plumb the wisdom of that claim.

Basically this leads me to ask, "What is most basic in human nature?"  Or, "Are there indeed two kinds of people, as empires see it, good and bad people?"   People, in other words, who are good for the empire and people who are bad for the empire?  For the empire, it follows that the people who are bad for the empire are expendable—indeed, there are people who need to be expended.

And so the project of the empire becomes how to expend the expendable people.

The project becomes the power of death—how to kill the people who threaten the security of the empire and its beneficiaries.  That leads to amassing the biggest military budgets, global reach, full spectrum domination, bombs and drones in all of history.  A truly exceptional nation: the USA.

Jesus obviously had another idea.

Jesus had an idea more like that of Brian Stevenson, who said in a 2012 TED talk:  "In my work with people, I have come to believe that  each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done."

What a revolutionary view of human nature!

Well, maybe not all that revolutionary.  Everybody believes that, don't they?  At least in one case—their own case.  Do I believe that I am more than the worst thing I've ever done?   If that is true of me, why wouldn't it be true of someone else?  Everyone else?

So what if there are not good and bad people, but just people who are both good and bad?

Then that changes the human project from getting rid of bad people to nurturing the good in all people.