Wow elucidate, you answered all those questions. I'll be sure to tone down my number of rhetorical questions to give you a break.
Originally Posted by illbreaker
I suppose Hitler was not evil? What about child molestors?
They certainly appear evil if you personalize their actions and project a violation of your ethical standards onto the event, but that's all it is.
If you were an alien with no stake in the game and you were observing this planet you'd merely write down that one of the humans named Adolf Hitler slaughtered millions of other humans and note the factors that led to this. You'd look at his upbringing, conscious and unconscious values, psychology, emotional makeup, economic position, social standing, belief in the theory of Eugenics, the social milieu of Germany at the time, etc. You'd just record the facts rather than editorialize.
But as humans with a desire that things be a certain way here on earth we tend to project our own emotional investments onto neutral events. People want someone to blame, someone to be guilty so they invent the concept of the "bad guy". You can observe this over and over again throughout history and even current politics.
"It's not capitalism or human emotional vulnerabilities, it's some specific group of evil CEO's or politicians that are responsible for our problems." If only life were so simple. Actually Hitler himself employed this technique of blaming the Jews and even put on passion plays to whip the Germans into a moral frenzy.
I guess I don't see any upside to good/evil. On the contrary I only see a list of drawbacks and downsides: blame, hatred, oversimplification, guilt, justification for punishment for its own sake, group polarization, neurosis (psychological issues), etc.