Comment: I agree with your premise

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Denise B's picture

I agree with your premise

wholeheartedly, that people are basically bad, but can have a capacity to do great good as well (although I believe that our potential to do good exists only by the grace of God). It is a difficult topic to get everyone to agree on, because quite often there are differing points of view on not only what bad behavior consists of, but also how and at what point does bad behavior begin.

As a Christian, I believe in original sin, and as a parent, I have witnessed unlearned, bad behavior very early on in a child's life which reinforces that belief. For me, the benchmark for bad behavior is spelled our clearly in the 10 Commandments. They are God's own guidelines for specific actions that are considered bad by His standards and a brief review of them quickly reveals that there is not one person alive (save 1 about 2,000 years ago) that was able to live an entire life without violating them. Thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal, thou shall not covet, thou shall not bear false witness (lie), thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall honor they mother and father (I am specifically leaving out the offenses toward God for the sake of this particular argument). If people are not basically born bad, than why is it impossible to find a person who has never violated any of these rules? Do any of us know anyone, ourselves included, that has never once told a lie....never once looked at another's good fortune with envy....never once acted disrespectfully toward a parent...never once ever taken anything that did not belong to them, no matter how insignificant it may seem? If people are basically good, you would think you would at least be able to find some people who have never committed these actions, but I challenge anyone out there to present an individual that has not.

Even for those who do not believe in God, which items on the list of Commandments (save the first 3 which are direct offenses against God alone), would you consider to be "good" behavior?

Human history bears the truth of this out. Show me one civilization since the beginning of history that did not ultimately fall due to greed, crime and corruption. Just one. They always fail because your premise is true...we are an imperfect species with a propensity for bad behavior. We don't just do bad things, but quite often take delight in doing bad things. In fact, the Bible can be summed up by this one simple sentence. It is the reason that Jesus came and it the reason that civilizations fail and will continue to fail until God finally tears it down and rebuilds it with His son as the center.

Until that time, it is just good common sense to take steps to protect yourself and your family from not only people in general, but primarily from governments, which typically is where the worst of the worst tend to gravitate. It is for that reason, that it is also good common sense to keep that government to the smallest size possible.