There are precious few at ease
With moral ambiguities
So we act as though they don't exist
It was one of those great stories that you can't put down at night
The hero knew what he had to do, and he wasn't afraid to fight
The villain goes to jail while the hero goes free
I wish it were that simple for me
And the reason that she loved him was the reason I loved him too
He never wondered what was right or wrong. He just knew.
— David Crosby, "Hero"
Soon there will be war. Millions will burn. Millions will perish in sickness and misery. Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this. But there are so many deserving of retribution ... and there is so little time.
— Rorschach, Watchmen
"It's terribly simple: The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and everybody lives happily ever after."
—Giles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Lie to Me"
"Sometimes life seems so complicated, nothing is truly good or truly evil. Everything seems to be a shade of grey. And then you spend some time with a man like Dukat, and you realize that there is such a thing as truly evil."
— Cap. Benjamin Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Sisko and Dax, "Waltz"
"By G'Quan, I can't recall the last time I was in a fight like that! No moral ambiguity, no hopeless battle against ancient and overwhelming forces. They were the bad guys, as you say, and we were the good guys. And they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor."
— G'Kar, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"
"I have no empty heroes. My goodies are good, and my baddies are bad. There are no schizophrenic goodies or sympathetic baddies. And children like it that way; it's not confusing. And they want the goodies to defeat the bads."
Among the Alps and Pyrenees, perhaps, there were no mixed characters. There, such as were not as spotless as an angel might have the dispositions of a fiend.
I always find it's easier the see the world in black and white. Grey? I don't know what to do with grey.
— Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 2, after reconsidering killing a traitor.
Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.
— Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason
"What we are looking at is good and evil, right and wrong."
— George H.W. Bush, speech made at Pearl Harbor, October 28th, 1990
Again, I don’t really care to get into the philosophy of Objectivism as I still consider debates with Rand followers as enjoyable as my kidney stone. But I guess if I had to mention anything as to why I don’t buy into it is how everything is so black and white. There is no gray area in Rand’s philosophy. There can’t be any exceptions to the rule or qualified statements such as “The government can be a force for good, but…“ No, it is either black or white, good or evil, hero or parasite. You need to be wary of any philosophy that is so simplistic or tries to so easily lump others in the ‘us‘ or ‘them‘ camp.
One October evening, in the midst of the 2013 government shutdown, I watched Bill O'Reilly work himself into something of a state. He sat at his desk, his hands palms upward, fingers slightly curved, as if cupping something in them. “I want Hagel.” he said, staring into the camera. “I want Hagel. I want him.” A casual observer might interpret this moment as O’Reilly expressing his fierce but tender desire for Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense. More experienced O’Reilly viewers, however, will recognize it as a signal that the unfortunate Hagel had plummeted downward in O’Reilly’s estimation from pinhead to evildoer. (There are only three kinds of people in Bill O’Reilly’s world: good hardworking Americans, pinheads—people who are not actually malevolent but who are too stupid to understand the way the world really works—and evildoers.)