, Research Paper
The Issue between Bennett and Hallie
In Jonathan Bennett s The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn, he chooses 3 people one fictional the other two real, and analyzes how they handle the conflict between their own sympathies and the morals of their society at that place in time. He chose Huckleberry Finn, Nazi S.S. leader Heinrich Himmler, and Calvinist Jonathan Edwards.
Bennett goes on in his article stating that one is wrong or bad if they let their morals over run their sympathies when they feel conflict between sympathy and morality or bad morality. Bennett considers bad morality when a morality whose principles I deeply disapprove of.
Throughout his article he goes to state examples to what he feels is the conflict, Huck for example should have questioned his morals when he felt the conflict between them and his sympathies experiences evoke feelings, and feelings force one to modify principles. Himmler is said to have felt sympathies for the millions of Jew s he was ordering to be murdered, but because he took no action when he felt the conflict between his sympathies and moral principles. He continued to murder, as he failed to succumb to his sympathies. Bennett believes Edwards on the other hand is different and worse from the previous two because he felt no sympathy to the people he preached about. According to Edwards, God condemns some men .though he arbitrarily spares other arbitrarily because none deserve to be spared. In the end Bennett feels that Huck came the closest to what Bennett feels was correct, then Himmler and last was Edwards.
Philip Hallie writes The Evil That Men Think-And Do which is another view on what evil is and how it is classified. He feels particularly objected to the view of Jonathan Bennett s The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn. Hallie has the biggest problem with Bennett s piece where he feels Edwards is worse the Himmler. He wonders how one can be worse than someone who killed 6 million Jew s and millions of others when the other has never killed anyone. Hallie feels that the victim must be the thing that is considered most of all when judging evil. He uses an example from Lewis Carroll s Alice s Adventures in Wonderland about Tweedledee and Tweedledum telling Alice a story. Hallie goes on to say victims are as essential in morality as the presence or absence of sympathy inside the head of the moral agent.
I would have to agree with Philip Hallie on the point of where the victim plays the role but I also feel that even though Edwards didn t spill blood he was maiming the dignity of the people who he preached against. He may not have directly killed anyone but his substantial cruelty toward the sinners of who he preached. It shows his lack of sympathies which is very evil almost as evil as killing, in Vise and Virtue s preview to Bennett s article it states Bennett finds Edwards s solution to be as bad as Himmler s if not worse.