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“If good can’t prevail”

On “No Negotiations with Terror”. By Chengde Chen.

“Good must prevail” – is wishful thinking
It has no ground in nature, nor in philosophy
The strong eating the weak can’t be justice
not to mention life is defeated by death
or cities are destroyed by earthquakes
If history is a law
the law needn’t be good
If history is contingency
nor need it be good either

Men know this only too well
so they extend the definition of “good”
Like making a cocktail –
let the blend accommodate necessary evil
Liberty is good, but democracy is not liberty –
the ballot is the majority oppressing the minority
Equality is good, but the market is not equality –
the equality of money is the inequality between people
When modern men drink to such good
the good is no longer all good
but a means to an end

Good can be outdone by evil, just as
civilisation can be subdued by barbarity
If terror is bigger than war
good may have to be negotiable
In the choice between death and compromise
it’s hard to say what “good” should be
But, at least
when a car speeds towards you
don’t insist on your right to stand there!
Compromise is the wisdom of survival
Survival is the premise of good
While “good”, is an art

© Chengde Chen 2003

Chengde Chen is the author of Five Themes of Today: Philosophical Poems, (Open Gate Press, 2001).

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