From the November, 2001 issue of Touchstone
The Essence & Power of Evil by James Hitchcock

The Essence & Power of Evil

The horrendous events of September 11 confront us with a reality even more disturbing than our apparent vulnerability to terrorist attacks. They require us to reexamine our entire understanding of the nature of reality.

In the face of unimaginable catastrophe there has been much talk about tragedy, human suffering, heroism, cowardice, patriotism, and resisting hatred, all of which are true as far as they go.

But events now confront us with realities so enormous that little can be said, and our culture’s ultimate failure is that it actively works against the ability to understand such things. As most Westerners view reality, there is no reason why such things should happen. Thus, it seems that those who perpetrate such acts have simply made certain mistakes of understanding, reinforced by excessive emotion. Terrorism, we . . .


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