“A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very, very dangerous man who has it under voluntary control.” – Jordan Peterson
The good man is a bit of a paradox. He must be equally, if not more, capable of terrible things as the evil man is. If he was not, then he wouldn’t put up much of a fight against the evil man and he’d probably lose his life and everything he cares about.
There is an amazing quote from Masaki Hatsumi, the grandmaster of Ninjutsu in Japan, that perfectly describes what the warrior way is teaching its disciples. I believe that everyone should be a martial artist and learn how to control evil, both internal and external.
“I am not teaching you how to fight. I am teaching you how to control evil. That’s what we are really doing here.” – Masaki Hatsumi
Imagine someone breaks into your house, and they’re coming to murder you and your family. A little dark, I know, but it helps demonstrate a point. A good man should be capable of stopping that evil and protecting his family. Not being capable of meeting violence with violence doesn’t mean you’re ‘good’ because you abstain from the use of violence.
Abstaining from violence is only virtuous if you are capable of great violence. Not being capable of violence means that you won’t be able to protect from evil and that you’re weak and that you and your family are dead.
When the enemies are at the gates, like in Ukraine right now, the good man is not the one who is incapable of violence. No, the good man is the one who arms himself and goes out to meet the enemy in battle with the intent to destroy him. In fact, Ukraine is arming all of its citizens, giving them a chance to be good men and women, to fight against evil.
Why do you think our founding fathers made the right to bear arms the second amendment? Not the tenth, not the fifth, but the second amendment. The right to bear arms was so important that it was the second thing to go on the Bill of Rights because our founding fathers knew that evil would always exist, and if good had any chance of surviving, that the ability to defend yourself and what you believe in was paramount.
What makes a superhero good? Surely, Batman could be just as horrible as the villains he faces. What separates Batman from the Joker is the direction of his monstrosity. Is Batman capable of brutally murdering the criminals he encounters? Big time. But does he?
No, because he has his inner monster under control; the same inner monster that gives him a fighting chance against evil. He became what villains feared because they saw that he is just as capable as they are when it came to violence.
Batman also breaks all the rules in order to protect Gotham and its citizens. He’s a vigilante, he breaks into buildings, assaults people (criminals), destroys property in the Batmobile when making an escape, and gets an employee from his company to make under the table weaponry for his moonlighting escapades.
That all sounds terrible on paper, and we know Batman isn’t perfect, we know that sending a missile through someone’s house with the Batmobile isn’t a very nice thing to do, but he has to be willing to be a monster to stop the monsters. If Batman tip-toed around everyone and everything and followed all the rules just to be a ‘nice’ guy, he wouldn’t get far, and the villains would win and make way for even more evil.
If the Americans and the Allies were unwilling to meet the Nazis and the Japanese with equal or more violence, we would’ve lost the war. Evil doesn’t hear reason. Trying to talk and reason with evil doesn’t make you good if you’re really harmless but to try and reason when you are dangerous but have it under control does make you good.
“You’re not virtuous. You’re harmless. You’re like a rabbit. Rabbit isn’t virtuous. It can’t do anything except get eaten. It’s not virtuous. If you’re a monster and you don’t act monstrously, then you’re virtuous. But you also have to be a monster. The hero has to be a monster. – Jordan Peterson
The weak are incapable of genuine virtue. The weak have no other choice but to act ‘good’ because it increases their likelihood of not getting clobbered. Being virtuous is having the ability to clobber and choosing not to.
Being nice when you are weak doesn’t mean anything because you don’t have any other choice in the matter. Being kind when you are strong and dangerous is virtuous because you have the option to unleash your dark potential upon the world but choose to be good in spite of what you might gain by being a monster.
You should be a monster. You should be dangerous. You should be strong and capable of violence. But you should have it under control. The world doesn’t need weak men. It needs strong and dangerous men.