Axes of Good and Evil

Dr. Robert D. Crane

Posted Oct 18, 2009      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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Axes of Good and Evil

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

  Some admirers consider that Bono, the lead singer of the U2 band, is the modern Cicero or the modern George Washington as the conscience of America and the world.  His op-ed guest column in the New York Times of October 18th, 2009, entitled “Rebranding America,” proposes three candidates for the modern “axis of evil” and three candidates for solution.  It would be interesting to take a poll, both in America and elsewhere in the world, to see what others think are the three greatest problems facing mankind and the three greatest solutions. 

  Bono thinks that poverty is the greatest evil and that stability is the best solution.  This sounds like liberal Neo-Conservatism, which is the oddest of all combinations, because both threat and solution are unrelated to justice.  The combination can lead to political oppression and injustice, as it did under Communism and has more recently under NeoConservatism.  It is not clear yet where Barack as a person and President Obama as a politician stand on this issue.  We have another three years before we can determine whether he deserves a Nobel prize for peace through justice. 

  Bono’s axis of evil is: 1) extreme poverty; 2) extreme ideology; and 3) extreme climate change.  Bono’s solution is: 1) stability; 2) security; and 3) development.

  My choices for an axis of evil would be:

1) Wealth gap.  The top of the list in an axis of evil is not poverty but the extreme and growing wealth gap.  We humans have gotten along for millions of years quite well at what is considered to be extreme poverty.  My Cherokee relatives got along happily with a per capita income less than $2 a day when I was young, but I did not know they were poor, nor did they, until I went to college.  They owned the means of production, namely, their own labor and horses for plowing, to grow and make everything they needed.  Only in a modern, capital-intensive, and macro-wealthy world when capital ownership is concentrated do we witness the extreme injustice of combined economic and political oppression.

2) Existential fear.  The second greatest threat to human dignity and civilization is fear of instability and of the chaos that inevitably will result from economic and political injustice.

3) Ideological oppression.  The third greatest threat to human life and happiness is ideological extremism, e.g., Communism, Nazism, American Neo-Conservatism, and Religious Triumphalism, which inevitably results from fear and leads to the pursuit of power as a substitute for justice.  The greatest threat of ideological extremism is the obsession with imposing order as the only means to security, and the myth that imposed security is the first essential for economic development.

  My choices for solutions are:

1) Redesign the institutions of money and banking to remove the barriers to equal opportunity and to give every person access to individual ownership of the trillions of dollars of new wealth that otherwise will go to increase the wealth gap.  This is spelled out in the platform of the American Revolutionary Party,, and its associated links.

2) Elevate justice as a paradigm for both domestic and foreign policy, in contrast to the paradigm of power which automatically becomes an unlimited end in itself.

3) Rehabilitate the role of religion in the world based on spiritual awareness as the best means for people to recover a sense of higher purpose in their own lives and in the world, without which we will live in a moral desert or in a moral jungle where our only goal is brute survival and where justice will remain at best an irrelevant dream.

  If I were to give a course on natural law, I would ask the students both at the beginning of the course and at its end to devise their own triads of good and evil.  And then I would ask them to identify what they think Barack Obama represents as personal intention and as practical results.  Finally, they might try to identify the same for themselves.