Jeff Jacoby discusses People are truly good at heart? Sadly, no.
For countless people, especially on the left, it's axiomatic that Adam Lanza's bloodbath was caused by America's gun culture. Many angrily demonize guns and the advocates of gun rights; they are convinced that only an ignoramus or a moral monster could oppose tighter gun control. In an interview on CNN, Piers Morgan lashed out at the executive director of Gun Owners of America, calling him "an unbelievably stupid man" and seething: "You don't give a damn, do you, about the gun murder rate in America?" When the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre argued for more armed security rather than fewer arms, he too was drenched with scorn.
"Look, a gun is a tool," LaPierre said. "The problem is the criminal." But that can only be true if crime is rooted in the bad character, depraved values, or evil choices of those who use guns to murder. And that can only be true if men and women, by and large, are not innately good and kind – if decent behavior, like monstrous behavior, is a matter of free choice, not a hardwired instinct.
It is fundamental to the Judeo-Christian outlook that human beings are not naturally good. "The intention of man's heart," God says in Genesis, "is evil from his youth." To use the Christian formulation, man is "fallen." All of us are tugged by conflicting moral impulses, and whether we do the right thing or the wrong thing is up to each of us.
Read in full: http://www.jeffjacoby.com/12724/people-are-truly-good-at-heart-sadly-no
Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz discusses the force of kindness and brings examples of sterling character traits exhibited by great individuals who lived Torah lives.
A common thread of middas hachessed is evident in theShemos parshiyos of shibud, geulah, Matan Torah, cheitand teshuvah. The concept of olam chessed yiboneh, the force of kindness and compassion rebuilding the world, is a common theme throughout Sefer Shemos. Just as the world was brought about and created with the Divinemiddah of chessed, it is that middah which enables us to conquer the impediments that hinder our growth and existence.
Speaking of evil, below Edgar Feuchtwanger gives an interview about his childhood recollections of living next to the German leader whose name doesn't bear mentioning.