I had an interesting discussion today with a friend who was telling me about the various conspiracy theories he's heard around the recent events in Las Vegas.
These seem to go hand in hand with mass tragedy: be it 9/11 or Sandy Hook, they were all somehow "inside jobs" to implement some nefarious agenda.
Perhaps there is a conspiracy, but what if we are the ones involved? What if, in an effort to absolve ourselves from any complicity in these insane events, we would perform incredible feats of mental gymnastics to invent a bogeyman to blame, no matter how nonsensical?
The truth is usually much more banal: evil people exist; and they are enabled by those of us who remain silent; who insist things cannot change; who trade morals and courage for comfort and money; who act only out of self-interest without regard for the collective whole.
These things happen because we let them happen; we are all accountable for our action and non-action in this world, and therefore complicit.
Perhaps Edmund Burke said it best: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing."
There is controversy as to the validity of this quote, although it is often attributed to Edmund Burke, there is no source material for this quote. But he has written similar sentiments, as has John Stuart Mill. ↩︎