Despite attempts to improve the world around us, evil continues to exist. What may come off as incredulous to someone wants to do no harm, may be reasonable to the people doing immoral actions.

Take for example, a criminal organization that coordinates closely with a state government. The criminal organization kills, steals, and is completely corrupt. Ironically, the criminal organization also provides order in conjunction with the government in that there is little chance for political opposition. In addition, the criminal organization provides basic foods and services to the neighboring population given that they pay a fee.

Under this context, is it possible to eradicate evil? Do evil and good have to coexist? What would happen if good were to completely prevail over evil?

  • 1
    Your last example is weird. Cops are necessary (because there are burglars), but unproductive (they don't produce any goods or service, except catching burglars). If there were no burglars cops would just find a productive job, like building houses or cook meals. It would be a net benefit for everyone, including the cops. Concerning how some jobs can be useful or even necessary yet constitute a net loss for the economy, refer to the broken window paradox
    – armand
    Jun 5, 2022 at 7:28
  • @armand Thank you for the feedback. How would you improve the counter terrorism example in this case? Besides employment, criminal organizations would force counter terrorist units to improve their methods. Improved methods may be translatable to other fields, where the idea is that direct conflict generates the best solutions.
    – DdogBoss
    Jun 5, 2022 at 7:39
  • 2
    Do you have any example of such a contribution from the counter terrorism field to civilian society? I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who, when asked "we can get rid of terrorism for good, but then you would miss on all the collateral benefits counter terrorism can bring us", would choose not to get rid of terrorism. Just like war is sometimes said to accelerate innovation, like aviation: any sane person would choose to avoid a war in exchange for slightly less good planes. Imho you should get rid of the whole example. The wiki link explains why better than I could here.
    – armand
    Jun 5, 2022 at 7:56
  • @armand I have hypotheticals. Intelligence gathering would have to be kept up to date. Agricultural farmers could use similar methods to identify bad crops before they become a problem. I guess the mainstream book, "Never Split the Difference", was based off a hostage negotiator and is marketed towards business people.
    – DdogBoss
    Jun 5, 2022 at 8:06
  • It's like saying, "If we just had the school of hard knocks, we wouldn't need to waste all that money on colleges!" Well, we tried that before.
    – Scott Rowe
    Jun 5, 2022 at 12:39

2 Answers 2


There's no objective/absolute good and bad/evil (that is, there is no rule for all the universe that states that destroying a living object is "bad", independently of the existence of human reason), there is only subjective good and bad.

If the subjective rules (religion, morals, or just subjective logic) do not conflict with murder, then, killing is not evil. That's the exact equivalence of the reason by which a fox will kill a sheep. It's just that, it is evil from the perspective of the sheep, and good from the perspective of the fox.

The same equivalence exists between two soldiers in a war (including political/religious/cultural/etc. wars).

Your question is if such subjective idea of "evil" is necessary. This is like asking if gravity is necessary.

Anyway, necessary for what? If your question is "is evil necessary for existence?", then you are assuming or trying to determine a dependency from evil of existence. Quite naive, hah?


You see, "Good" and "Evil" are really subjective. Though evil is not necessary for large societies, it is inevitable. Someone might do some act to reach some "good" objective, but for some people it may come out as evil as for personal perspective. Some things may be evil for some, but for others it may be just another act done as situation forces to.

The society works on laws, laws work on logic, and logic is harsh to emotions, on which the subjective definitions of good and bad are based on. As long as such a society exists, people will break the law to reach whatever objective they must. But Society cannot be based on emotions either as it's too unstable and differs person to person.

As such as long as you have emotions, in someone else's eyes you might be evil. If you don't have emotions, you're not a human any more. And if a society is created purely of logical beings with a synchronised (objective) sense of good and evil, there might be possibility of eradication of evil. But that society would just become a group of billions of bodies with shared minds. They would just be beings with no objective in life. And such society is bound to collapse.

P.S. I'm just a high schooler and am not a person related to philosophy(?) and this is my first ever response on this forum, so my answer may seem uneducated. Sorry for that :). Oh and I found this and this which states on similar logic though in a different way.

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