Sunday, 9 September 2007

More on Ad Hominems

Originally published 9/9/07, 7:49 PM, Eastern Daylight Time.
I just saw a recent TV special concerning Stalin on one of the History channels. It was chilling. Those interviewed made cogent cases for how Stalin was more evil than Hitler. Just a quick thought on evil...

The road to Hell is [indeed] paved with good intentions. Stalin's desire to industrialize the Soviet Union led to the violent deaths of millions, perhaps in excess of 20 million all told! Stalin's underlying thesis was "The Ends Justify the Means!"

On the other hand, I saw a quote attributed to Gandhi. [I have been unable so far to confirm this] I recall that my Mom OBM had it posted on the kitchen whiteboard near the phone.

"Just take care of the Means
and the Ends will take care of themselves."

I think the Chofetz Chaim would agree to this. No matter the good intentions, the Hell will be there when one's speech does not conform to "Toras Hessed." What about the truth? in the 13 Middos, [attributes] Hessed preceds Emet, Truth. Besides, we are not talking about covering up, just avoiding bad speech. No one need excuse bad behavior. There is no honor in Gossip-mongering!

People associate kindness with cash; perhaps with helping you shlep some furniture. Yet it also extends to the way you talk and treat people, even those with whom you disagree.

Betzedek tishpot Amisecha - Judge your fellow favorably as defined by Rambam in Sefer Hamitzvos. Don't condone evil behavior, just don't assume the behavior you see is really evil. And when it is, address it in private without publicizing the sin. Remember Tamar and Yehudah?

Bottom Line

Feel free to speak out against evil behavior, just don't pin that evil on any individual by name; or by naming groups of individuals [as in racism].

Shana Tova!

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