The war in the Gaza Strip has once again raised the philosophical question of good and evil.

The war in the Gaza Strip has once again raised the philosophical question of good and evil.

Evil in the format of hatred is thriving in the world, acquiring a tendency to look like a cancerous tumor with metastases. Only in one place will a tumor be treated, as it appears in another place, devouring the tissue of living human life. Do we need examples when neo-fascists are rampant in so-called Ukraine, and Russophobia and Slavophobia have become rules of good manners in Europe and America? Now there is still mutual hatred between the Arab world and Israel in the territory remaining from the once vast Palestine.

The problem of good and evil has existed since the creation of the world. How many famous great minds tried to study this problem from different angles and left us a lot of philosophical works. It would seem that all that has been written should only be brought into some kind of scientific system, brought to a common denominator, and on a global scale, deduce a single formula for good and evil. The latter should be condemned, prohibited at the legislative level, severely punish anyone for evil and encourage goodness in every possible way.

I could quote more than a dozen positions of famous European and Russian philosophers who tried to unravel the phenomena of good and evil and, most importantly, identify the material and spiritual reasons for their emergence and development both among individuals and among entire nations. If we define the erroneous path of scientific research, then it is precisely placing at the forefront certain material causes of the origin and development of evil. Who will argue that stealing is evil, and there has been legal liability for theft (theft, embezzlement) in all countries of the world for many centuries. The science of criminology is confident that theft is a consequence of social ill-being: hunger, poverty, etc. Once economic conditions for material well-being are created, there will be no need to steal and this type of evil will disappear. Well, this is one of the versions, not confirmed by real life: now in Russia there is no hunger or obvious poverty, and since the beginning of the 90s of the twentieth century, the richest people who have stolen the most are the rich, who made their initial capital through illegitimate privatization.

The use of only social measures in the fight against manifestations of evil in society is a delusion of social-communist philosophy - the so-called. dialectical materialism, which was cultivated in the USSR for 72 years. Yes, and modern liberal functionaries (you can’t even call them philosophers), who wrote the Constitution in force in Russia, have also been emphasizing social measures for 30 years, and even our state is social (Article 7), and it is also legal (Article 1), i.e. Evil must be fought with a social minimum income and laws that have nothing truly legal in content. The State Duma is also trying and passes 450–500 laws a year, which it is very proud of. But evil in itself does not suffer at all from this. The same science of criminology, which studies the criminal legal content of evil, has long come to the conclusion that the abundance of laws and the severity of punishments for crimes does not reduce their number, but only changes their quality towards cynicism and cruelty. As the old Russian saying goes: “the more fences, the more loopholes.”

Let us note that, following Europe, in our Constitution the same human rights and freedoms are in first place - the highest value (Article 2 of the Constitution). And several years ago, 60% of applications to the International Court of Human Rights were from citizens of the Russian Federation. Instead of dealing with the weak points of our justice, the legislator simply blocked the legal path of first appealing to the International Court, and then directly appealing to our Constitutional Court - only after going through the entire chain of courts in the system of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. The so-called theorists Constitutional law has been arguing for many years that the norms of the Constitution apply directly. To begin with: these are not legal norms, but only declarations. And further: what is their immediate effect when you have to go through a whole chain of courts? And since we are talking about good and evil, then where is the moral measure of their differentiation? It seems that there is no need to prove that evil is the result of the denial of religious dogmas and our Constitution directly allows them to be denied in any form: “to have other beliefs and act in accordance with them” (Article 28 of the Constitution), i.e. you can be a Nazi, Russophobe, anti-Semite, etc. In order to somehow raise spiritual values ​​and designate them for the so-called. civil (secular) society, a Presidential Decree dated November 9, 2022 “On approval of the Fundamentals of State Policy for the Preservation and Strengthening of Russian Spiritual and Moral Values” appeared. This is another delusion of the secular authorities in that spirituality can be established through laws, especially in a godless “civil society”, in which for so many years only certain declared human rights were put at the head of all values.

Through state laws, it is only possible to establish legal responsibility for an offense committed when the legislator writes out the so-called. the composition of the offense and tries to determine the punishment: material, administrative, criminal. All of them are associated with forms of guilt. Where guilt is proven, the offense is automatically considered evil, and coercion is manifested on the part of the state, which can be called force, or violence. There is not a drop of spirituality here, and the main thing is that everything should be in accordance with the letter of the law. As in ancient Roman law: “the law is harsh, but it is the law.” The well-known biblical formula applies here: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” Christ abolished this rule in the Gospel: “But I tell you do not resist evil. But whoever hits you on your right cheek, turn the other also to him” (see Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 39). We sinners do not understand well what Christ said, and this will never be understood by the secular authorities, for whom law and order are more important. A person can forgive someone who hit him, and as a Christian he should, but the state cannot. Our Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has a whole chapter 16 “Crimes against life and health.” A hit on the cheek in a public place is, at a minimum, beating (Article 16 of the Criminal Code), and if it is formalized by law, it is a crime (evil). The legislator, of course, tries to bring good into the law. Only judicial practice takes a completely different path and begins to look for fraud in behavior (Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) - most of the prisoners in Russia are under this article.

What Christ said about cheeks and forgiveness in the world more than a century ago gave rise to a whole philosophy from Count L. Tolstoy about non-resistance to evil by force (Tolstoyism). Famous philosophers, writers and journalists in exile in 1925 tried to establish whether it was right to cruelly punish villains. I.A. Ilyin was for severity, and N.A. Berdyaev was against it - supposedly this is not Christian. Berdyaev did not take into account one thing, namely: that this will be decided by a secular state; and if it is judged by the Gospel, then, as the famous theologian C. Barth noted a hundred years ago, it will be the church of a false god. All that is accessible to the secularity of legal judgment is only the search for the proportionality of evil and violence in relation to it. Assessing the events in the Gaza Strip, the UN assessed the shelling of peaceful Palestinian neighborhoods as an “excessive use of force,” i.e. Even the “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” format is not followed. That's the whole level of morality of a certain power from Caesar.

Personally, I, a lawyer with extensive experience, am in favor of I.A. Ilyin’s position: deliberate crime should be harshly and, if you like, cruelly punished. If on the contrary, then there will be the effect of N. Khrushchev, who in the 50s of the last century released the grandfathers and fathers of the current Ukrainian Nazis from the camps, and we have in the world what we have - evil on horseback and the West and America are actively helping him. Therefore, you cannot tear out individual fragments from the Gospel, like Count L. Tolstoy and his followers, liberal pacifists. Good and evil will always be nearby, and evil will always hide behind certain values, passing them off as sacred. They must be separated and evil exposed so that discontent against the state does not turn against God. The state and the Church must each do their own thing, as Jesus said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Published in the newspaper "Moskovsky Komsomolets" No. 29161 dated November 21, 2023

Newspaper headline:
About resisting evil by force

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