Bernard-Henri Lévy on Evil

Question: What is Evil?

Bernard-Henri Levy: There is evil in the world. We all know that. What I could be praised of, even if I am not sure also, but it’s two things. Number one, yes, is to fight moral [relativism], multi culturalism, which means the strange attitude which consists in saying that a practice and attitude which would be a crime in America, or in France, should be admitted somewhere else. For example, to oblige a woman to veil her face or to encage her head should be criminal in America. Again, the formal and the real equality between men and women, suddenly, in Afghanistan or in Pakistan, it is okay. And those who pretend to condemn that are racist, neo-colonialist, neo-imperialist. So, what I say, either this attitude of moral relativism, appreciating an attitude differently according to the context and to the place where people are [rooted], this is one of my, or the thing… maybe one of the thing I try to do in “Left In Dark Times.” And the other thing… I don't know if it have to be praised, but which I tried to do, is to finish with or to show the terrible, perverse effects of the idea that the evil can be completely liquidated. This, for me, it is one of the topics of “Left In Dark Times.” This idea that evil does not really exist, that evil is in fact illness and that illness can be cured, if you find a good medicine, the chief doctor, if you identify the [wood] parasite, the proper virus and if you expel it from the social body, then you will have a good society. This idea that evil does not exist but you have only illnesses, this is a matrix. This is the core of the totalitarianism. Totalitarianism always begins with the idea that evil does not exist, that evil is an illusion, an appearance, and that’s why we have only illnesses which can be properly cured if you have a good chief of state, embodied with a good ideology, surrounded by your good council of experts and so on, and finding here are the Jews, there the bourgeois, there the people who wear spectacles, or the place, the free women, whatsoever. A virus identified as such, expelled from the society as if you take a tumor out of cancer razed body. This idea that evil can be solved in a political purity is one of the most terrible temptation of the mind of mankind of yesterday and of today, and this is also one of the targets of “Left In Dark Times.”

Bernard-Henri Lévy on the dangers of moral relativism.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Brain study finds circuits that may help you keep your cool

Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.

Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP/ Getty Images
Mind & Brain

MIT News

The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.

Keep reading Show less

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
  • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Keep reading Show less

How pharmaceutical companies game the patent system

When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
  • When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
  • Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.