Outside of the 7th Avenue F Train stop in Brooklyn yesterday, I witnessed a funny New York moment. An Amnesty International sidewalk solicitor startled a passerby. "Huh?" he stammered, "Do you care about human rights?" the Amnesty lady repeated, more loudly. "NO!" the guy barked, annoyed at the interruption, and barrelled down the subway steps. I laughed to myself, and felt a moment of solidarity for authentic rude New Yorkers.

I should have pitied the Amnesty International worker. She was out in the cold, doing poorly paid work, to benefit the world's most vulnerable people. I mean that I am the kind of person who should sympathize with her. I support humanity, dignity, decency, the list goes on. I give money to public radio. I recently enjoyed a six part documentary produced by Laura Poitras, The New Yorker, and the Intercept. I would be called liberal by anyone who cares to label people that way. So why did I feel good seeing a fellow lib treated like shit?

Fuck your feelings! That was the guy's message. Screw compassion. Why did it feel good to see this message aired out? The incident in Brooklyn made me wonder, though it isn't the first time that I wondered this... The most obvious answer, is that it feels good to wreck things, when you're immature. Toddlers love breaking stuff, right? But I am having my first baby in a month. I very consciously want to build a future, not wreck it. So why do I still sympathize with the asshole?

There is something undeniably authentic about spitting in the face of compassion, maybe because it comes from a good place, based in a sense of justice, i.e. the justice inherent in exposing hypocrisy. The Amnesty worker gave the passerby an ultimatum: Either talk to me or you don't care about human rights. There was a third option: The asshole might have been headed to an emergency or a human crisis. Wasn't it rude for the Amnesty lady to ignore his humanity? But no, justice doesn't work either... If dude really was in a bind, he could have just said so. Instead he chose to humiliate a stranger. And I liked it.

If being an asshole is good because it is honest, what is it honest about? To explore this topic, we need look no further than the current political landscape. Being an deplorable asshole is in fashion like never before. And the left, as the stewards of compassion, is at its lowest point in decades. It's worth reflection as to why compassion is a weak message, when half of the county considers it a universal moral imperative, but seemingly lacks the conviction to actually defend the imperative.

Newsy college-educated types are long atwitter re: the forlorn working class, bemoaning how it "votes against its own best interests." A lot of earnest (and expensive) thought goes into writing about the working class being duped or deluded. But nobody questions whether our billionaire overlords make decisions contrary to their own interests. Why is that? Why is it a given that capitalist overlords make decisions with their best interest in mind, or their greed in mind at very least?

Since Marx, academic white knights rode in to save the day, armed with data to endear us to our overlords. In rode the leftist economists like Thomas Picketty and Robert Reich armed with charts that demonstrate exactly how capitalism is destroying itself. More recently, rich neoliberal NGO-peddling politicians waxed thrilled to proclaim, "It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics... We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth," to roaring applause.

Kindness probably is better economics than cruelty. Kindness even takes more courage, more cohones than assholity, especially in the face of assholity. So why doesn't it look cooler to be a good? Is it just a feature of evil that it looks hot? The devil isn't going to tempt people with paltry shit, or it wouldn't really be tempting, right? But doesn't evil shrivel in the face of true love? Doesn't every good movie teach us that the villain is lonely and sad? Doesn't every decent religion teach us that vanity is ultimately hollow and cheap?

If kindness is both good economics and more beautiful and courageous than assholity, there must be some other reason that assholity remains fashionable today. Instead of assuming that billionaire overlords always act in their own self interest, let's assume the opposite is true, in light of what we know about economics. If overlords are motivated by bottomless greed, growth is what they want. Endless growth. If sustainable growth requires constant wealth redistribution, to counteract the contradictions inherent in capitalism, then greedy people should support wealth redistribution. We should be able to model how greed is a force for good, with Nobel prize precision.

If the data show that progressive policies actually increase growth, why would the overlords ever pay politicians to vote against them? Just for the tax cuts of now? Let's take Obamacare for example: The average tax cut from its repeal is 7 million dollars for the 400 richest households. That may sound like a lot of money, but I assure you that for the 400 richest households, it is not. Consider that the richest households disproportionately own financial assets, and they may actually lose more than $7 million in the value of their stocks, from collateral damage to the economy alone. The billionaires and their advisors know this.

What if the overlords are more like the working class than not? In other words, what if capitalists are not seeking their own benefit? What if they are voting against their own interests? What if they are in fact, suicidal? Is there any other possible conclusion? If hoarding all the wealth isn't about greed or even short term thinking, and if it ultimately destroys the wealth-creating machine itself, then it is in fact suicidal for the machine operators to hoard wealth. It's a slow death, but suicide nonetheless.

How does one persuade a suicidal opponent? Therein lies the rub... If your opponent is suicidal, feeding her facts will not help. She rejects being itself, so kindness is impotent too. And on further reflection, doesn't it make total sense that this is the nature of evil? If evil were just greed, it could easily be absolved. Greed at least is logical, and it can be a force of good. Evil, on the other hand, is not logical, and is the absolute opposite of good. Evil wants to destroy everything good for no reason, and for nobodies benefit, and therein lies its awesome chaotic power.

The problem with compassion is that it fails to stand up to evil. Why would anyone supplicate to a monster? David didn't offer Goliath a hug. He fashioned a crude weapon. Only an idiot would approach the devil and ask to be friends. This, I think, is why the asshole looks wiser than the saint. The asshole seems to recognize that his dick boss isn't just misguided. He is honest about his position of relative powerlessness. He is honest about his own appetite for risk. Going up against a suicidal opponent requires risking suicide, and "compassion" soldiers aren't willing to do that; they don't even know that they must, because they underestimate their opponent.

Take the Obamacare example: Healthcare which isn't tied to an employer obviously frees people to become entrepreneurs. This point has been tweeted, published, charted ad nauseum. People who care about economic growth should support nationalized healthcare. It is more efficient, it makes people more productive, and it is a pro-growth policy. But think about what it does to the power of billionaire overlords. Pro-growth policies create abundant opportunity, which in turn liberates people from one particular job. Workers can feel confident about quitting and trying something new. For power-obsessed evil, this liberty is the greatest annoyance possible.

In hindsight, it is pretty obvious that power rules everything around us, and does so against everyone's interest, and for no good reason. Old school evil is well documented, by every world religion and almost every good story ever told. Why do liberals, with their fancy educations, fall into the trap of being "too nice"? Why do they trick themselves into thinking about people as fundamentally innocent, merely in need of better information or a hug? The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, in fact, was convincing the world that he doesn't exist.

I know that in my case, I grew up thinking that most grotesque failures of humanity, at least since the 1980's, were merely failures of the imagination, rather than pure evil. I knew that crazy evil had happened in the past: the Holocaust, Trail of Tears, Vietnam, chattel slavery, etc. I knew that certain godforsaken places on earth still had problems. Incidentally, I was born in the eighties. It never occurred to me that my worldview was probably a fiction, created by well-intentioned parents, who wanted to raise an optimistic child.

I thought that grotesque injustice was just bad design, which would be worked out time, as the arch of history bent towards justice. Depression, obesity, inequality, alienation, climate change, antibiotic overuse, refugees healthcare reform... all of these issues could be solved with better ideas. Even war was just a mistake. If only the people in power knew about equal and opposite reactions, they would surely adopt an "ecosystem" approach to problem solving, rather than the current "carpet bomb" approach, which results in exponential blowback, which dwarfs the original problem.

For years I worked in grueling corporate environments, and set up countless mentorship meetings, in which I would expound on the benefits of empowering employees. We will be more creative, more productive, happier, more existent if you empower us, I would say. Most managers would agree with me, or vacillate between agreeing with me and masking their contempt. Now I see that my mistake was so obvious and stupid, I am tempted to conclude that few others would make such a mistake, but my Twitter feed says otherwise. The left still believes, in the tradition of Jesus or MLK, that love conquers hate.

It bears repeating: Love does not conquer hate. The optics of hate blindly stupidly raging against love, which disgusts everyone with a shred of goodness left in them, arouses indignation, which conquers hate. Standing on a sidewalk pestering overworked and powerless people is not going to help the world's slaves. Reiterating what we are up against, quitting your job working for the overlords, telling your kids to give up their taste for worthless trinkets, these are the things that stand a chance of defeating evil. But they are also hard. Never forget that.