Saturday 27 June 2020

What makes iconoclasm evil? A clarification

Quite simply; iconoclasm is evil when the motivations behind it are evil.

Iconoclasm: the action of attacking or assertively rejecting cherished beliefs and institutions or established values and practices.

[I would add that the proper definition of iconoclasm is broader; and includes attacking, damaging, destroying and subverting cherished concepts, objects, symbols and rituals.]

It might be assumed that since it is 'cherished' beliefs and institutions (etc.) that are attacked by iconoclasts, then the good or evil of iconoclasm depends on the moral validity of that-which-is-cherished. It might be assumed that cherishing a good person is good, and an evil person is evil. But that is wrong and false.

What matters is the motivation of the iconoclast. When the iconoclast's motivation is evil, then it does not matter at all what is being attacked - because all such iconoclasm is evil.

And successful evil iconoclasm, when the evil-motivated iconoclast successfully destroys anything; feeds the evil of the iconoclasm by gratifying the evil motivation.

That's all we need to know.  

When iconoclasts are motivated by evil, they are morally wrong in their attacks - and it does not matter a jot what specifically they are attacking.


Ranger said...

"The brief glow fell upon a huge sitting figure, still and solemn as the great stone kings of Argonath. The years had gnawed it, and violent hands had maimed it. Its head was gone, and in its place was set in mockery a round rough-hewn stone, rudely painted by savage hands in the likeness of a grinning face with one large red eye in the midst of its forehead. Upon its knees and mighty chair, and all about the pedestal, were idle scrawls mixed with the foul symbols that the maggot-folk of Mordor used."
Iconoclasm is what orcs do, and no, orcish behaviour as described by Tolkien is not at all racist. Orc is a mindset, more and more common in people of all ethnicities.

William Wildblood said...

The motivation for the current round of iconoclasm is clearly to destroy the history of the particular country in which it is taking place. The iconoclasts attack certain statues for which some kind of excuse or rationale can be given but really would like to pull down all reminders of the past because it is the past they seek to destroy and reframe as one of oppression by one group of another.

The identity of individual statues is not necessarily that important. They are symbolic of the country's sense of itself. It is the country that is being attacked by its enemies.