As I continue to make my way through Terry Teachouts biography of H.L. Mencken, I was stuck by the following passage (by Teachout) regarding the writers views on Hitler:
He had no feeling for the darkness in the heart of man. He looked at evil and saw ignorance. To him Hitler was Babbitt run amok, and he thought it inconceivable that such a buffoon could long pull the wool over the eyes of the most civilized people on earth.
This is probably something thats already been said by someone smarter than I, but it strikes me that this is frequently a problem for liberals, both of the classical and the modern variety. They do not necessarily reject the notion of evil (although some of them do), but seem to lack the moral imagination to appreciate its true depth. One sees this in Howard Deans fatuous comments about "right-wing pastors," cited by Joe Knippenberg last weekend. One also sees it in John T. Flynn, my biography of whom is due out later this month. Flynn had nothing good to say about Hitler, but essentially characterized him as nothing more than a cheap demagogue--FDR (whom he also hated) with a little mustache. He simply could not envision the kind of evil that would deliberately murder millions of people. Likewise, when asked to imagine evil, the worst that Dean can come up with is the preacher at the local Baptist church.
Ultimately much of the opposition to the Iraq War might come from just this source--for the mind that cannot appreciate a qualitative difference between, say, Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush, can there be any other option but to decry a war to topple Saddams regime?