Radio Times

Thinking about political evil with Alan Wolfe

October 27, 2011


Hour 1

In his provocative new book, Political Evil:  What It Is and How to Combat It, Boston College political scientist ALAN WOLFE challenges the way we think about genocide, humanitarian intervention and the use of force to combat evil and in the process he’s managed to raise the ire of both liberals and conservatives.  Wolfe says that as a society we should be focused specifically on political evil — as he defines it, “the destruction and suffering inflicted to innocent people by leaders of movements and states in their strategic efforts to achieve realizable objectives.”  While he acknowledges that there is plenty of evil to worry out about, like child molesters, teenagers going on shooting rampages, etc., it is only political evil that we can do anything about.  According to Wolfe, he wrote the book because he believes the United States needs to examine mistakes it has made in responding to terrorism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide — and then learn from them.

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