Reflections on Evil

A flash essay which asks: What if the evil in our world today is the product of the key institutions of Western society?

by: Frederick Foote                                                                     

We sometimes view evil as the outlaw behaviors of fringe elements of society. However, what if evil is also the product of the key institutions of Western society? What if our present Western civilization is the greatest evil the world has confronted? This flash essay explores this idea.

Evil Defined

Evil is the power of humans to intentionally, recklessly, or indifferently overwhelm the will or existence of other life.

The objectives of evil are to destroy, terrorize, gain greater power, and/or create chaos.

Serial killers and mass murderers fall under these definitions.

However, about 99% of the evil in our time is a product of our institutions of government, business, science, education, law enforcement, military, and religion. 

Political and social evils exist because those who benefit from these heinous acts support them.


Our accelerated Climate Change results from the actions of Western developed nations. These rich nations have repeatedly failed to effectively address this growing crisis created by the union of science, technology, and Capitalism. This example of international institutional evil will adversely impact billions of living creatures, including most of the eight billion humans. 

Justification of Evil

Institutional evil is frequently justified as working for the greater good with a master plan often created or blessed by a deity or designed by super humans. Holy books, economic theories, constitutions, and creation stories propagate the myths of the master plan. We can refine most of these master plans down to the phrase: “Support the status quo.”

Science and Corporate Capitalism

Science and Corporate Capitalism are evil because they act intentionally, recklessly, or indifferently to produce products, practices, or knowledge that threatens life and freedom. 

Science delivers nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons capable of mass destruction beyond belief. 

Science also produces fertilizers and pesticides that damage our soil, water, and air.

Capitalism gives us the unsustainable ideologies of eternal market growth and profits as the essence of human economics.

The combination of science and Capitalism will lead to the mass extinction of millions of species. 

The capitalist market economy promotes science that contributes to corporate profits. Part of those profits is used to elect officials who fight effective regulation of corporations and science. These governments often put the needs of their corporate supporters above the needs of their other constituents.


A primary goal of education in this corporate capitalist system is to condition students to accept ours as the best possible economic and political structure. The role of this education is to fit students into the current unsustainable economic schemes. These miseducation institutions suffocate attempts to instill critical thinking skills that would promote challenges of the existing political, economic, religious, and educational ideologies.

The White Christian Church

The White Christian Church provides spiritual, political, and economic support and justification for the evil impacts of the dominant economic and political arrangements. This reactionary religion champions racism, slavery, poverty, endless wars, and conservative politicians. The White Christian Church overwhelmingly supports the “American way” of patriarchal domestic abuse and sexual and gender oppression.

law Enforcement and Justice System

United States law enforcement agencies are licensed and encouraged to kill and injure people of color, gender minorities, and the disabled. They support our system of inequities with brutal terrorism. These agencies killed or injured about fifty-five thousand people in 2012 and currently incarcerate about 2.3 million. The majority of those incarcerated have low-income backgrounds. 

Income inequality is a predictor of criminal behavior. Our economic and political systems promote rapidly increasing economic inequality.

The justice system affirms the inequities of the political/economic order and punishes the victims of these schemes. The primary goal of this enterprise is to protect the oppressive hierarchy and increase the growth of their injustice organizations.

The Military

The United States military protects the interest of our corporate capitalist government outside of the USA. They work with spy organizations to terrorize and destabilize nations, assassinate leaders and bystanders, and spread disinformation.


Every one of these institutions will justify the purity of their intentions, their significant contributions to our well-being, and their essential functions. 

However, they rarely recognize the evil inherent in their activities. Therefore, there is little or no effort or plan to address or excise this evil. They will continue to intentionally, recklessly, or indifferently overwhelm the will or existence of any life form. They are the essence of evil today.

One reply on “Reflections on Evil”
  1. says: Mike McLaren

    It is the Industrial Military Complex that “delivers nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons capable of mass destruction beyond belief. ” Not Science. While I agree with the overall premise, I would have liked to have seen less sophomoric generalizations and more poignant references. If we are to change the current regime in the U.S. House of Representatives, our rhetoric needs to be more on-point and backed with more than simple accusations.

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