I've been out of town a lot lately, which means less time for posting, but a little time to read on the Greyhound at least.
More from Hedges:
"When people come to believe that they are immune from evil, that there is no resemblance between themselves and those the define as the enemy, they will inevitably grow to embody the evil they claim to fight. It is only by grasping our own capacity for evil, our own darkness, that we hold our own capacity for evil at bay. When evil is purely external, then moral purification always entrails the eradication of others."
Here, Hedges again revisits the themes of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Us versus them, They are oppressing us, and because They are the oppressors, we can do no wrong. I'm not sure what to take away from the need to grasp our own capacity for evil -- unless by "our" he just means "people who are generally in our camp about things." If someone who I respected intellectually was revealed to be a pedophile, or an embezzler, or who knows what, it wouldn't shake my foundation in their ideas. But if their ideas were more like "We are morally superior to Them" -- I can see how that would be a different story. I don't have this epic good v. evil world view in my day-to-day life, so when people go bad within the movement (feminism, the Democratic party, whatever) it's no great surprise.
This healthy skepticism may also have a lot to do with why there's not much of an atheist movement. Eradicate the believers? Ehn.