Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Hitchens Flashback


...many countries maintain secret police forces and inflict torture on those who disagree.... [R]elatively few states will take photographs or videos of the gang-rape and torture of a young woman in a cellar and then deposit this evidence on the family's doorstep. This eagerness to go the extra mile, as is manifested in Saddam Hussein's regime, probably requires an extra degree of condemnation. And if we are willing to say, as we are, that the devil is in the details, then it may not be an exaggeration to detect a tincture of evil in the excess. We could have a stab at making a clinical definition and define evil as the surplus value of the psychopathic -- an irrational delight in flouting every customary norm of civilization.