Nov 132008
Authors: Alex Stephens

Occasionally on campus, I’m questioned by agents of the Church about my beliefs on God.

I ask them, why do men do evil things? They reply that God gave man free will, and that evil is a choice. Alright.

We can choose to pay taxes or we can choose to go to prison. If you pay your taxes, your money will go in part toward evils any Christian would be morally opposed to, such as war, biological weapon development, dictatorial support, etc. Does that mean society is inherently evil?

History points toward the affirmative. The general trend is that of men killing each other over land and food, much like animals do.

What animals are able to do, and what we fail miserably at, is to find a balance in which to live in their habitat. Cougar populations are sparse in the mountains because a sparse population is all a mountainous environment can support.

Humans, perhaps with divine purpose, distort and manipulate their environment in order to not only survive but to thrive. Nature’s method of population control, it would seem, lies within our predisposition to kill each other.

And just like a virus (if I may borrow Agent Smith’s theory for a moment) we move from place to place, multiplying and devouring the land’s resources as we go.

We continue this cycle over and over and over. Each time it’s repeated with different actors using continually inventive props. Arrows turn to bullets turn to missiles. While killing a man may have been a great feat of strength 2,000 years ago, today’s soldiers can eradicate life with the twitch of a finger. /

The Roman Coliseum is criticized as a barbaric symbol for public displays of men killing each other in sport. We especially detest the concept, asking why an audience would be entertained by such a thing. Such conversations turn to how crude and vulgar society was back then.

Truth be told, the Roman public didn’t enjoy personally killing a man so much as they enjoyed watching men kill other men. And do we enjoy that same thrill? Our society has created hundreds of TV shows, movies, novels and video games which revolve around our inner love for blood.

In the newly released video game “Endwar,” the player becomes a warlord who commands futuristic armies, with his voice, to slaughter the opponents’ armies. In the movie “Rambo 3” Sylvester Stallone massacres at least a hundred Vietnamese during a five-minute segment which has earned internet praise for being “action-packed” and having “Stallone at his best.” /

Not only has death, destruction, and war been glorified by our media, it has been deeply ingrained into our brains as fun. Kids actually have fun pretending to be soldiers in World War II. Their grandparents who served quietly suffocate in irony.

A serious disease afflicts us. Is it genetic? Within each of us is an inescapable code for brutality. You really don’t need to search hard for it; it’s there every day in your thoughts.

When the sports car cuts you off, where does your mind wander to? That asshole deserves a wreck. Ha, yeah, maybe a trip to the hospital too. At which point some might catch themselves in the act. But why do our thoughts turn to vengeance so quickly and so naturally?

Deep down, the individual might still have a shred of goodwill left, but society, the conglomeration of individuals, corrodes our inner goodness so deeply that we now think it’s OK to pretend to kill each other and that taxes are a necessary evil.

That’s right, we have arrived at the point of evil acts being normal and permissible just because we were born into them. It’s high time we unplug and maybe dust off our forgotten moral compass. But who am I to reverse the course? I enjoyed “Rambo 3.”

Alex Stephens is a junior political science major. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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