But Deliver Us

In his feature story this month, “Defacing the Devil,” Ralph Wood writes, “In Eastern and Western traditions alike, evil has been understood to have no proper existence of its own. It is privatio boni, the absence, the twisting, the perversion of the Good. Yet precisely because it is Nothing—i.e., a no-thing—it can assume innumerable forms.”

Attentive readers may recall the opening paragraphs of Adam Mac-Leod’s “The Unreal Vortex”(Touchstone, March/April 2023), where Mr. MacLeod analogizes the non-negotiable destructiveness of Critical Race Theory with a tornado, which “at its center—at the core of what it is  . . . is the absence of being.” The roaring black funnel and the destruction in its path are not the tornado, but only the effects of such voids.

I have never seen a tornado, but as a kid, nothing struck more fear in my heart than a tornado warning, which I thought meant certain death (if not a wicked witch). My childhood horror soon dissipated, though, and by my twenties I couldn’t imagine anything cooler than to see one of those black twisting funnels live and up close. In my paralytic twenties I had grown used to a lot of things that should have scared the hell out of me.

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