Is Evil Always the Result of Ignorance?
There is a very popular with some groups of people belief that states that all the evil in the world is caused by people’s ignorance; that the only way to eliminate evil is to eliminate ignorance; once people are educated, intelligent, free of superstitions and the need to devote most of their time to satisfying their basic necessities, we will at last have a healthy society of pure happiness and harmony. These people, however, seem to have very vague understanding of human nature and history.
Yes, ignorant, unintelligent, superstitious people are very rarely pleasant to deal with. They may be rude, they may not understand the most obvious things, they may be wary of your best intentions. But let’s be honest – the degree of human’s intellect is in no way related to all these things. Intelligent people can be rude and unresponsive just as well. And, let’s face the truth, knowledge does not equals to morality – sometimes the reality is quite the opposite, intelligence may serve as the basis for a person to consider himself above morality or to discard the morality altogether. The scientists in Nazi’s death camps were brilliantly clever people who treated other people as cattle. Pol Pot, the leader of Khmer Rouge who subjected his own people to genocide, was an intelligent, well-educated person. This list can be, of course, continued, but is it necessary?
An intelligent and educated villain is much worse than his peasant colleague for the sheer reason of greater knowledge. Knowledge doesn’t have a plus or minus sign attached to it. It just expands the number of ways in which a person can interact with the world.