Men of Good Will vs. Men of Bad Will – A Quote

“The question of the control of machines (including technology – ed.) for the execution of truly human purposes involves a vast and far-reaching interrogation. It turns itself at critical periods into another question which may be phrased thus: When men of bad will make and use powerful machines for the enforcing of their evil purposes, have men of good will the right to make and use machines to return the attack of the evil men and to baffle their evil purposes so that they are brought to naught? If men can use machines to project the purposes of evil, have men the right to use machines to thwart the purposes of evil? Is all the destructive power of the machine to be turned against the good by bad men, and are good men to stand helpless, never having the right to use the power of the machine to defend themselves against the conscienceless attack of evil?

True humanistic–and, indeed, critical Christian–thought comes with an unhesitating answer to these questions. And the answer may be put in this fashion: Whenever you have evil minds dominating mechanical forces, you have tyranny and the breaking of every human right and the overthrow of every human value. Whenever you have goodness which refuses to use its intelligence to make and master machines and to hurl them against attacking evil, you have impotence and defeat coming upon the forces of goodness. When you have goodness which is not afraid to use physical force against attacking bad will, you have the securing of some sort of decency and of some sort of order in the world. Indeed, in this last case the authorities representing good will may often maintain their position by the use of potential rather than actual physical force. When the men of bad purpose know that the men of good purpose will not hesitate to use the power of a mechanized world for the forces of good and are ready to do just that, increasingly they will be brought to terms by a threat which they would ignore if they believed it merely verbal, but before which they will draw back when they know it is authentic. You cannot fight bad will with words which you are not willing to follow up with decisive acts.”

Lynn Harold Hough, The Christian Criticism of Life, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York – Nashville, 1941, pgs. 241-242

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