How Evil Works: Understanding and Overcoming the Destructive Forces That Are Transforming America

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9781598597103: How Evil Works: Understanding and Overcoming the Destructive Forces That Are Transforming America
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Despite the human race’s extraordinary capacity for invention and progress, we clearly have a millennia-old blind spot in one all-important area: We don’t understand evil—what it is, how it works, and why it so routinely and effortlessly ruins our lives. Put another way, we don’t understand ourselves. David Kupelian, the best-selling author of The Marketing of Evil, probes the ancient question of evil through a
modern journalist’s eye, once again demonstrating his uncanny knack for demystifying complex, elusive, and intimidating subjects with fresh insights into the hidden mechanisms of seduction, corruption, and power politics. Diving into today’s most electrifying news stories—from terrorism and school shootings to high-profile sex scandals and political dysfunction—Kupelian explores such profoundly troubling questions as: How does terrorism really work? Why are New Age religions becoming so popular? Why do so many celebrities who “have it all”—talent, fame, good looks, wealth, adoration—end up self-destructing? Why are big lies more believable than little ones? Why are boys doing worse in school today than girls? Why do we treat mental, emotional, and spiritual problems, like anger and depression, with drugs? Here’s the good news: Once we really understand “how evil works”—not just in the disasters and mega-crimes that dominate the headlines, but in our own lives as well—evil actually loses much of its power over us, and the way out becomes more clear. Thus, How Evil Works bears a powerful message of genuine hope.

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About the Author:

David Kupelian is an award-winning journalist and managing editor of online news giant as well as its monthly news magazine, Whistleblower. His bestselling book, The Marketing of Evil, is currently in its tenth printing. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:


Why We Elect Liars as Leaders

Nixon: “I Wasn’t Lying. I Said Things That Later On Seemed to Be Untrue” —Washington Post, NOVEMBER 29, 1978

Clinton Concedes He Lied About Affair —Washington Times, AUGUST 18, 1998

Obama Promises “Tax Cuts” to 95 Percent of Americans, Even Though 44 Percent of Filers Pay $0 in Income Taxes. —Manchester Union Leader, NOVEMBER 4, 2008

Did you ever stop to wonder why most governments—no matter where on earth you look, or what time period you consider—tend toward being tyrannical and predatory? I’m not referring just to those unfortunate nations suffering under openly brutal dictatorships. Even here in the West, where our elected governments portray themselves as benevolent and democratic, somehow they always end up taxing, legislating, and regulating us into servitude. Why?

To bring this topic into sharp focus, let’s start by taking a whirlwind tour of the world’s governments:

· Before America and its coalition partners invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, giving the Iraqi people a chance to choose another destiny, here’s what life was like there, according to the U.S. State Department: “In 1979, immediately upon coming to power, Saddam Hussein silenced all political opposition in Iraq and converted his one-party state into a cult of personality. Over the more than 20 years since then, his regime has systematically executed, tortured, imprisoned, raped, terrorized and repressed Iraqi people.”1 Though Iraq was once “rich in culture with a long history of intellectual and scientific achievement,” Saddam “silenced its scholars and doctors, as well as its women and children” with unimaginable cruelty, the official report documents:

Iraqi dissidents are tortured, killed or disappear in order to deter other Iraqi citizens from speaking out against the government or demanding change. A system of collective punishment tortures entire families or ethnic groups for the acts of one dissident. Women are raped and often videotaped during rape to blackmail their families. Citizens are publicly beheaded, and their families are required to display the heads of the deceased as a warning to others who might question the politics of this regime.2

With such unspeakable atrocities a part of daily life, why didn’t more Iraqis complain publicly? Maybe because of Saddam’s decree in 2000 authorizing the government to amputate the tongues of citizens who criticized him or his government.

The report also documents Saddam’s use of chemical weapons (that’s right, “weapons of mass destruction”) against his own people, destroying more than sixty villages and 30,000 citizens—some international organizations say 60,000—with mustard gas and nerve agents.

· In North Korea, every citizen is the slave of a demented ruling family. While Kim Jong Il—or the “dear leader,” as all are required to call him—lives in ostentatious regal splendor, most North Koreans endure crushing poverty. Indeed, during the 1990s as much as 10 percent of the nation’s population—an estimated two and a half million people—starved to death as a result of the communist nation-cult’s dysfunctional command economy.

“The unwritten and unspoken compact prior to the famine,” explained Andrew S. Natsios, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, in Senate testimony, “was that the people surrendered their freedom in exchange for which the state agreed to care for them, heavily tempered by political loyalty, from cradle to grave.”3

“Cradle-to-grave security”—there’s that coveted socialist holy grail we’re always hearing about. But for millions of North Koreans, all they’ve gotten in the bargain is cradle and grave, with not much in between. In fact, it’s impossible to adequately convey the sheer horror they endure in their day-to-day lives, but perhaps this quick story from the Washington Post will provide a tiny taste:

Han, a Communist Party official in North Korea, was walking home from work when he heard he was in trouble. He had smuggled a radio back from China after an official trip. He listened to it late at night, huddled with earphones on and shades drawn, to hear music that brought him a whisper of sanity and took him away from the horrors of his day.

Now, someone had found it, or someone had told.

“It could have been my children who said something outside. It could have been my friend; one knew,” said Han, 39, who spoke on condition he be identified only by his surname.

“If a farmer or laborer had a radio, he could have been released,” Han said. “But I was an official. In my case, it would have been torture and a life sentence in a political prisoners’ camp.”4

Torture and life in prison for possessing a radio? That just about sums up life in this communist “workers’ paradise” that has devolved into a brutal and bizarre national cult.

· Zimbabwe, once a gleaming gem of a country in the central highlands of southern Africa, featuring the breathtakingly beautiful, mile-wide Victoria Falls, used to be a major breadbasket for the entire continent. That was when it was called Rhodesia. But once Marxist Robert Mugabe was elected prime minister in 1980, Zimbabwe gradually was transformed into yet another indescribable hell-on-earth.

Thousands of productive white-owned commercial farms have been stolen by hordes of government-sanctioned thugs, the owners brutalized, tortured, and murdered, the farms left in ruin—causing the catastrophic collapse of the nation’s once-robust agricultural base. Reformers and political opponents are routinely executed and Christian churches bulldozed. As a result, Zimbabwe’s formerly thriving economy has disintegrated, causing the world’s highest— and frankly incomprehensible—inflation rate, over 11 million percent!5 Average life expectancy has been cut almost in half, from 57 to only 34 years for females and 37 for males—the shortest life span of any nation on earth.6

Yes, I know, these are some of the worst governments on earth. But in truth, a great many other nations are not much better. Burma and Sudan are ruled by brutal military dictatorships and mass slaughter and genocide are normal there. The vast Middle East is made up largely of Arab-Muslim police states, almost two dozen of them, where Islam’s strict, medieval sharia law reduces everyday life to one of repression, cruelty, and paralyzing fear at best—and at worst, terrorism, “honor killings,” and death by stoning for relatively minor offenses (and sometimes for no offense)—all sugarcoated with a stiflingly rigid and intolerant religious code.

· China, currently with about a fifth of the world’s population—more than 1.3 billion souls—is still at core a ruthless and suffocating communist dictatorship, despite its prodigious economic growth. The government imprisons anyone who dares criticize it. “An estimated 500,000 people are currently enduring punitive detention without charge or trial,” reveals Amnesty International, “and millions are unable to access the legal system to seek redress for their grievances. Harassment, surveillance, house arrest and imprisonment of human rights defenders are on the rise... .”7

There’s no free press in China, news organizations being largely owned and run by the government, which even censors the Internet (cyber-dissidents are imprisoned for signing online petitions and calling for reform). And the government’s notorious one-child policy has been heartlessly enforced via mandatory sterilization, forced abortion, and even infanticide. Chinese goods may be cheap, but life there is even cheaper.

· What about Russia? Most in the West have the impression much has improved since the bad old Soviet days, but appearances can be deceiving. According to Andrey Illarionov, former senior economic policy adviser to Vladimir Putin, freedom in Russia has deteriorated dramatically in recent years. Specifically, he reveals, the year 2006 “was an extraordinary one in a sense of destruction of all types and all elements of freedom. Whichever area we can look at—the political system, legal system, court system, civil society, rule of law, division of powers, freedom of expression, freedom of mass media, freedom of association—everywhere, in each area, we see tremendous backlash against the basic liberties of Russian people.”8 As this supposedly “reformed” giant of a nation, which spans eleven time zones, continues increasingly to resemble its former, malignantly aggressive “superpower” alter ego, Russia internally is in crisis. Its judicial system is almost dysfunctional, there’s virtually no freedom of the press, and international human rights organizations report widespread abuses, including systematic torture of people held by police.

We could continue on with our tour, but we’d just find that most other governments, from the Far East to Africa to South America, are corrupt, predatory, and power-hungry. Each typically perfumes its tyranny with an idealistic, utopian philosophy such as communism or Islamic fundamentalism to help control the population. Even Europe and the United Kingdom, once the crown of Western civilization, are firmly in the grip of secular (de facto atheistic) socialism, which suffocates their once-vibrant Christian culture and seduces their citizens into giving up their hard-won freedoms, independence, and wealth in exchange for “cradle-to-grave” security.

That brings us to America.

The United States of America has a transcendent heritage of liberty rooted in self-government and personal responsibility, the result of a revolutionary two-hundred-year-old “experiment” so gloriously successful it became a shining light in an otherwise mostly dark world.

Yet, in recent decades, we too have been seduced. Many of us have been taught in our universities that the “self-evident truths” the founders relied upon are just outdated and dangerous myths. The press routinely portrays values the founders considered to be evil (high taxes, unrestrained federal power, permissive sexual morals) as good, and good as evil. Same with Hollywood, which once showcased pro-American and patriotic themes but now glorifies sex, extreme violence, and total moral confusion.

With this constant cultural subversion in the background, no wonder millions of Americans have gradually been demoralized into depending on government to solve all of their problems, fueling today’s uncontrolled, cancerlike growth in government.

Power-hungry demagogues have always used basically the same methods: they demonize “the rich,” claiming they obtained their wealth by exploiting and stealing from the downtrodden; they stir up racial or tribal hatreds at every opportunity; they blame convenient scapegoats for problems they themselves have caused; and they promise universal peace and happiness if we’ll just give them unlimited power over us.

But they win our support only by appealing to the basest part of us—hate, dissatisfaction, greed, and especially envy. They know instinctively that if they can stir up and ignite these dark and addictive passions in all of us, they will seduce us away from our inner dependency on God, and instead create a massive voting bloc of people dependent upon them. The reward for this transference of fidelity is great power for them, and confusion, demoralization, and ultimate bondage for us. In its purest form, this phenomenon is known today as Marxism, communism, socialism—the spiritual core of which is raw envy.

Communism, as we know, is atheistic—where the government is the only god, the giver of blessings, the solver of problems, the dispenser of justice and mercy, the source of civilization’s progress. Unfortunately, the only “progress” it actually confers is the progression from freedom to slavery.

Yet this is exactly the appeal that more and more Americans today have been conditioned to respond to, as we have gradually fallen away from the Judeo-Christian, free market values that once animated our culture and institutions. The envy-based system Marx unleashed on the world is alive and well, and in different forms still dominates large parts of the world. In America, it has taken root in the once-noble Democratic Party, and has made significant inroads into the Republican Party as well. In the age of Obama, it is coming into full bloom.

Although Ronald Reagan admirably presided over the dismantling of the “evil empire” of the Soviet Union, freeing its many “satellite” slave states, one cannot destroy evil itself. The temptation of socialism continues to corrupt whole societies, including America.

Even the encouragement of immorality—sexual promiscuity, abortion, easy divorce—is all part and parcel of the socialist modus operandi, because dissolute, dysfunctional people who have crossed the moral line and thus become estranged from the laws of God now need the “god” of socialist government.


To understand how the U.S. government has become the huge, parasitical entity it is today, let’s clear our minds, take a deep breath, and for just a few minutes reflect on the truly transcendent and self-evident first principles of life, liberty, and property. Then the true basis for a just government—as well as an understanding of where we’ve gone astray—will come into sharp focus.

The brilliant French economist, statesman, and author Frédéric Bastiat expressed it eloquently:

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life—physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.9

What is law, then? Very simply, explains Bastiat, “It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense”:

Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend—even by force—his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to p...

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