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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 4, 2007 / 22 Elul, 5767

Why do people do evil?

By Dennis Prager


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Decent people have sought to identify the roots of evil since the first indecent person inflicted cruelty on an innocent person. And people have come up with one or more of nine explanations, most of which are indeed valid.


1. The Devil (or whatever name the devil goes by in any given culture). I do not believe in a devil, but when one observes the seemingly inexplicable cruelty engaged in by some people, it is understandable that people have attributed it to some evil being that has taken over that person.


2. Genes. The contemporary term for devil is "genes." Just as with the devil, when we observe a person engaging in evil behavior for which we have no rational explanation, we speak of it as coming from the person's genes.


3. Parents. After genes, parents have become another popular explanation for much evil. "How was he raised?" we wonder when we read about evildoers, especially those who deliberately hurt children. There is no question that parental upbringing has both good and ill effects on children. But there are too many bad people raised in homes that did not abuse them, and too many good people who were raised in awful homes to allow us to make parents the primary explanation for evil.


4. Religion. Religion is a popular culprit these days. And it is undeniable that religion can be a source of evil — it certainly is in the case of the true believing Islamic terrorist. And it was in the wars over theology that racked Europe for centuries. But two facts mitigate against regarding religion as the primary explanation for evil. One is that religion itself was often developed precisely in order to reduce human evil. Whatever evil individual Christians may have ever engaged in, it is hard to find advocacy of evil within Christian Scriptures. The other is that secular ideologies and regimes — Nazism and Communism, for example — have murdered and tortured far more people than any religion has.


5. Money. Money and greed are so widely regarded as causes of evil that the phrase "Money is the root of all evil" has become a cliche. And there is no doubt that people seeking what money can buy — luxury, status, women and excitement, to name but a few things — have engaged in much evil. But flawed human nature and a lack of self-control, not money per se, are the causes of evil in these instances.


6. Power. Like money, many who seek power will do anything, no matter how evil, to attain power. However, it is a relatively small number of people that seeks such power and commits evil in its pursuit.


7. Pursuit of the good. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. One should never underestimate the amount of evil caused by people thinking they were doing good. Far more evil has been perpetrated by idealistic people than by cynical criminals.


8. Sadism. There are people who simply enjoy seeing others in pain and inflicting it on them. But sadism accounts for few, if any, large-scale evils. It accounts for many individual acts of cruelty.


9. Boredom. Boredom is widely underrated as a source of evil. Yet, it most certainly is. Lack of purpose, not a lack of things to do, is the source of nearly all boredom. People need meaning in their lives. And if they don't, they will pursue visceral excitement instead of meaning or seek meaning in evil causes.


I believe there is a tenth explanation that is greater than all the others and is particularly widespread today.


10. Victimhood. A lifelong study of good and evil has led to me conclude that the greatest single cause of evil is people perceiving of themselves or their group as victims. Nazism arose from Germans' sense of victimhood — as a result of the Versailles Treaty, of the "stab in the back" that led to Germany's loss in World War I and of a world Jewish conspiracy. Communism was predicated on workers regarding themselves as victims of the bourgeoisie. Much of Islamic evil today emanates from a belief that the Muslim world has been victimized by Christians and Jews. Many prisoners, including those imprisoned for horrible crimes, regard themselves as victims of society or of their upbringing. The list of those attributing their evil acts to their being victims is as long as the list of evildoers.


This is also true in the micro realm. Family members whose primary identity is that of victim usually feel entirely free to hurt others in the family. That is why psychotherapists who regularly reinforce the victim status of their patients do the patient and society great harm.


If my belief is even partially correct, the preoccupation of much of America with telling whole groups that they are victims — of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and classism, among other American sins — can only increase cruelty and evil in America.

JWR contributor Dennis Prager hosts a national daily radio show based in Los Angeles. He the author of, most recently, "Happiness is a Serious Problem". Click here to comment on this column.


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