Defining evil in this presidential election | Letter to the Editor

In a well-known book, "People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil" (1983), psychiatrist M. Scott Peck explored the nature of evil from his distinctly religious as well as psychological perspective.

  • Thursday, October 13, 2016 4:12pm
  • Opinion

In a well-known book, “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil” (1983), psychiatrist M. Scott Peck explored the nature of evil from his distinctly religious as well as psychological perspective.

In his view, evil manifests as a malignant self-righteousness with an active refusal to tolerate imperfection. This syndrome results in a projection of evil (imperfection or incompetence) onto selected specific innocent victims.

Peck points out that “sin” in the Judeo-Christian sense leads one to “miss the mark” and fall short of perfection, and while most people are aware of this imperfection, those that are evil refuse to accept this awareness actively and adamantly (self-deception, not necessarily sociopathy).

Peck’s research determined that there are nine characteristics of an evil person:

1. Self deception in order to avoid guilt and maintain a self-image of perfection;

2. Self-deception leads to consistent deceiving of others;

3. Projects his sins onto specific targets (scapegoats), while behaving normally with everyone else;

4. Publicly “hates” while pretending love as his motivation (again, self-deceiving as much as deception of others);

5. Abuses emotional (political) power (“imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion”);

6. Maintains strong image of respectability and lies incessantly to do so;

7. Consistent not in magnitude of his sins but in the level of destructiveness;

8. Unable to think from viewpoint of his target victim;

9. Has total intolerance to criticism or exposure of his defects.

Having read this far and, I hope, reflected upon our presidential election, do you see any of the candidates who seem to meet all or most of the characteristics?

Robert DuChaine


More in Opinion

A taste of Krain history, from its dive-bar days

I first went in the place one winter’s evening when I was 8 or 9 years old.

Supreme Court resets the playing field

The ruling on the Masterpiece Bakery v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case wasn’t a win for the right or a loss for the left; it’s a chance to do things right the second time around.

Supreme Court ruling shows sanity, moderation

The 14th Amendment equal protection clause does not negate the First Amendment religious freedom clause.

Initiative signatures are the new greenbacks

As of Wednesday, June 6, petitions for four statewide initiatives were getting circulated.

Public record battle brings in a mediator

A taskforce is also being put together, but it’s not clear who will be on it.

Trump supporters see the president doing ‘God’s will on Earth’

Why did Truman recognize Israel so quickly and why do we care about modern Israel, enough to bring the ire of the Muslim world down upon us?

Eyman risking retirement funds on car tab initiative

Will the $500,000 investment be enough to get the initiative on a ballot?

U.S. isn’t the only nation flirting with trade wars

There’s another brewing between Alberta and British Columbia.

I wish I could stay in Enumclaw | Guest Columnist

There is a kindness and decency and desire to be a community in Enumclaw.

We live in frightening times

Our country is being torn apart from limb to limb, coast to coast.

Voting habits tied to feelings of security

The dangers of authoritarianism are a far greater threat to the nation than seeing rising racial equality and religious diversity brought about by immigration.

Gun rights advocates won the battle, but may lose the war

NRA leaders will need to decide if it’s worth putting resources into a fight in a Left Coast state versus investing in efforts to keep Republicans in control of Congress to prevent ideas like this initiative from becoming federal law.