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So, the actor Will Smith tells a British newspaper that “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’” Whereupon he is pilloried for praising Hitler.

Roger Kimball has a solid roundup of the supposed scandal. Will Smith is, at the moment, the most successful and bankable star in Hollywood, and that’s not usually a postion of authority for philosophical rumination. Still, don’t you have to push pretty hard to make this into anything like praise for Hitler? It looks like a straightforward Aristotelian proposition that human beings have to think the intentions of their actions good, or they wouldn’t do them. And Hitler, in Smith’s line, is clearly chosen as the example because we know that he did evil.



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