There was a moment this week that convinced me everything will eventually be OK. It was when Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko got on TV and spilled the entire battle plan for the invasion of Ukraine.
This moment brought all the tropes of cheesy action movies to real life. The bumbling minion combined with the stock villain’s monologue where he spills his evil plan and gives the hero enough time to figure out how to get out of the easily escapable trap. If Lukashenko stroked a cat and cackled maniacally, it would have been perfect.
Why did this reassure me? It shows good will triumph over evil because evil is stupid.
Evil is arrogant, so it concocts grandiose schemes it can never accomplish. Evil is egotistical, so it refuses to listen to wiser and more experienced people. Evil is greedy, so no gain will ever satisfy it, and they spin flimsier and more dangerous plots to grab more. Evil is prideful, so it won’t admit setbacks, even when they are right in front of it. Evil is destructive, so it destroys everything around it—including allies, friends, family, and themselves.
Eventually, evil fails. Tyrants fall. Serial killers get caught. Con artists get thrown in jail. Justice is served. Unfortunately, it’s not before evil has caused untold suffering and destruction upon the innocent.
Unlike a cheesy action movie, there won’t be a happily ever after in Ukraine. The world won’t be the same after this—certainly not for the millions in Ukraine, Russia, and elsewhere affected by this war. Conditions can—and probably will—get much worse. And there’s a possibility that we may wind up with the nuclear war we’ve all been fearing.
But I believe good will prevail. Evil may gain the upper hand for a while, but it will collapse from its own hubris and stupidity. I think about the speech Charlie Chaplin’s character made in The Great Dictator, a parody of another stupid tyrant, and how the core of our humanity is decency, compassion, and love. These values enabled humanity to survive a hostile environment, form societies, create architecture and art, and stayed the hand of self-destruction. When we get through these destructive acts of evil, these values will inspire us to rebuild—and create a better and more just society.
Good will triumph over evil because evil is stupid. And good offers everyone so much more.