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Misguided and Destructive, Yes; Evil, No.

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Recently on my radio show, former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota slammed colleagues of both parties for their inability to work together to solve the nation’s worst problems.  An angry caller disagreed, telling Senator Dorgan that compromise in today’s climate was immoral since conservatives know “you can’t compromise with evil.”

This response raises crucial questions: is it right or useful to classify Democrats like Dorgan as “evil”? Al Qaeda is evil, Soviet communism was evil. And American liberalism may be destructive and misguided – as I believe it is –but calling it evil is a bad mistake. That attitude insures both continued gridlock and more conservative defeats.

It’s impossible to persuade patriotic Democrats or independents to join our cause if we label politicians they’ve supported in the past – or at least considered supporting – as evil.

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Comments (11)

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  1. David  •  Jul 18, 2013 at 10:51 am


    I couldn’t agree with you more. People get so caught up in conspiracy theories as another example and it distracts them (and discredits them) from what is really important…..strengthening the conservative cause in America and defeating the liberal mentality that seeks for material solutions to problems instead of spiritual solutions as you have said in the past!

    Thank you for all your doing….love the show!


  2. Lionel Mandrake  •  Jul 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Calling someone “evil” whose actions in fact have evil consequences such as the intentional “transformation” of America piece by piece over about 50 years, such that our society is rapidly unraveling, and every major institution is run by the very people the nice guy Mr. Medved says we should not identify as evil despite their very real, very tangible evil RESULTS, is willful ignorance and sloppy thinking his part.

  3. Kathie Brave  •  Jul 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Evil goes a bit far, well actually a lot far. But, to say the Democrats will NOT compromise, is very true. No problem is ever solved or resolved till the Dems get their way.

  4. Joe  •  Jul 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    The evil is not in the stubborn people who will not compromise but in the ideas they espouse and their blindness to the consequences. We presume people are good parents, spouses, etc, therefore not evil. Those of us on the right are more prone to believe in some absolute (religiously based) truth while those on the left are more ‘flexible’ and relativistic in their thinking. They tend to ‘think’ with their hearts and emotions rather than their brains. The differences are as old as mankind. Sadly, I don’t have a magic bullet solution but clarifying and toning down the rhetoric surely have to part of it. Shouting louder won’t make anybody hear better.

  5. Bob Harrison  •  Jul 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    “Compromise” means you don’t fully believe in your original stance. “Persuaded”, “brought over”, “convinced”, these show that an intelligent meeting of logical, reasoning, adult people took place. No, the word “compromise” means that both sides are weak and there is no right or wrong.

  6. jgwhyte  •  Jul 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I think I’ve hear enough from soi-disant patriots, statesmen, and defenders of the ‘really’ right and good, all of whom seem to insist that we call ‘evil’ anyone who disagrees with them on any issue of substance (to them)–and so to insist that we tear ourselves apart as a nation. The people I need to hear from are the statesmen who can tell us how to bring ourselves together again as fellow-citizens of the same country.

  7. Lionel Mandrake  •  Jul 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    According to New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, there are three types of evil. Physical, Moral and Metaphysical.


    “…By moral evil are understood the deviation of human volition from the prescriptions of the moral order and the action which results from that deviation. Such action, when it proceeds solely from ignorance, is not to be classed as moral evil, which is properly restricted to the motions of will towards ends of which the conscience disapproves.”

    But liberals and progressives according to some are not evil because it is not their intention to achieve the evil results we see all around in America today. According to the understanding of evil Catholics developed over two millennia, the will must act towards an outcome the conscious disapproves. If an outcome is evil in its result through ignorance, it is not properly defined as “evil”.

    Marx and Lenin for example created a system that achieved an outcome that was empirically evil, and was in accordance with their ideological design to a large degree. But was evil the outcome they sought in accordance with the dictates of their conscious? Was the evil unintentional?

    Judging by this criteria it is clear that even in cases of truly evil people doing truly horrific things, if in their mind through ignorance or false reason, we can not then objectively say we know with certainty what was in their minds. So we would have to judge them on the merits of their actions and the fruit of their work.

    Does this mean evil does not exist and those seeking outcomes such as Pol Pot’s killing fields could or should be excused from being called evil because they may have been misguided?

    Liberals and progressives may not be evil, but much of what they’ve unleashed is ugly and evil. No moral evil can be ascribed to all of them of course, but certainly some of these people are evil and ignorance is not a part of the equation.

    Consider the act of performing a late term abortion in which a near full-term baby is mutilated by stabbing at his neck while only his head remains inside the mother. How could anyone not consider this act evil in both its cruelty, indifference and execution?

    But again, liberals would in general support this and in fact chanted “Hail Satan” in the Austin State Capitol Building.

    Can we say their desire to achieve an evil result is in accordance with the mandates of their conscious?

    Or do we just assume no evil exists simply because we cannot know what is in a man’s heart? If so, ascribing to this mindset is in itself modern, non-Judgmental, moral equivalence AKA modern liberalism.

    To sin by silence, when we should protest,
    Makes cowards out of men.

    Ella Wheeler Wilcox
    Protest, contained in “Poems of Problems”, pp. 154–55 (1914

  8. David Edward Garber  •  Jul 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    As for myself, I believe that both negotiation and compromise are useful skills, and (as such) are very appropriate for many circumstances, from deciding what color to paint a shared bedroom to resolving an international border dispute. But I also believe that not everything is, nor should be, negotiable. We should never compromise on fundamental principles, for example, in order to foster either sin or tyranny. In these latter cases, there aren’t truly any win-win situations, but only losers—such as when a criminal wants to murder us, but we try to talk him into a mere mutilation, instead. So, whenever someone wants us to sin and/or to submit to their oppression, it’s always better for us to “just say NO”—to do what’s right, and let the consequence follow. Of course, it’s harder for us to do what’s right if we don’t also know what’s true—and, since we’re all mere mortals who obviously don’t know everything, it’s good for us to be humble enough to recognize such limitations, to remain willing to consider others’ feedback, and to change our views if/when proven wrong—but, as long as we appear to be in the right, as best as we can tell, we should always remain firm. Even if this means defying those who share our label—we should always be more loyal to principle than to either party or person, and refuse to remain blind to the evils within our own ranks. Of course, in the process of standing for what’s right, there are both more-effective and less-effective ways of going about it. Arrogant self-righteousness doesn’t help anyone and, although we should never deceive others, we should also note that some truths are sometimes best left unspoken.

  9. Andrew Eppink  •  Jul 21, 2013 at 10:31 am

    If people having full knowledge of the situation continue to support abortion I don’t know what other adjective would apply.

  10. Alfonso Rodriguez  •  Jul 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Perhaps evil is not the appropriate word to describe the damage that the “Libs” are doing, not only to this country, but to the world as well. Europe (Spain, Greece, Portugal,et al) is broke and falling apart.
    California is a good example of the results of liberal policies. Very high taxes there are causing companies, and rich people in general, to flee to states with lower taxes and/or more sane sane people such as Idaho, Texas, Arizona. The former “Bread Basket” that was central California is now a dust bowl because the “Libs” are more concerned with protecting a small fish than with the production of food (vegetables and fruits) and the jobs that were lost as a result of them shutting off the water to the farms.
    Also, the rediculous anti-gun policies of the left go directly against what the second amendment of our Constitution says and would leave us totally unprotected against vicious criminals.
    Are these the result of evil? Perhaps not, but certainly they are the result of stupid, or irrational people. Whatever you wish to call it, it is very bad for our country and it’s economy! Please remember to vote whenever you are able to and let’s fire these dumb masses before our great country goes down the toilet.

  11. Randall R. Kniess  •  Aug 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    I can now understand how so many Europeans have been killed by Evil men like Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, and others. They didn’t recognize evil and willing but were willing to be gullible enough to be convinced that those men couldn’t possibly be really evil. No, not until the gasses were choking them to death did they realize that a political movement could be so evil. Trust can be good, but blind trust is foolishness. Trusting the word of a moderate Republican such as this host and the other Washington Republican cronies such as Karl Rove, John Boehnor, Eric Cantor, and other gutless wonders, will only lead us into many more defeats. These phony conservatives only offer to compromise our standards and principles in the pale pastels that Ronald Reagan warned us about. They tout Reagan today as their standard bearer, but phonies just like these mouth pieces are exactly what Reagan had to overcome. I had to laugh the other day when I heard Mr. Medved call Christine O’Donnell, “O’Dumbo”. Really convincing that he is above personal attacks. Especially after it was revealed that the political machines of both political party’s were involved in the shenanigans. I have no respect for such foolishness as shown by these so called self proclaimed conservatives. They paint anybody with conviction and the guts to put it on the line as extremists. Boy, that sounds just like the Democrats who they keep slouching towards. They lack the bold colors that President Reagan envisioned when he spoke about rebuilding the Republican Party. That history is something he would like us to glaze over.

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