Ours is the innocence of the child who builds an intricate structure of blocks and squeals with delight as he sends them scattering with swing of his arm. And should a block fall and strike his shin, he blames the block for his injury and not the arc of his arm.
This is the innocence we must preserve at all costs, for our greater the innocence, the greater tour capacity for evil. Because the innocent believe their actions have no consequences, they are afforded a freedom not allowed those held back by their capacity for experiencing guilt.
The innocent remain frozen in time. So they cannot forgive a wrong or conceive of a hurt healing, because the innocent hold a child’s conviction that what is in this moment is for all of eternity.
But beneath the surface, the innocent doubt their innocence, and such a doubt threatens them because it undercuts their naiveté and must be destroyed. It is this fear that gives innocent its capacity for unbridled brutality and makes innocence the catalyst that turns ideologues into savages.
The innocent are never victims of a wrong; they are victims of a moral outrage committed by agents of pure evil. For the innocent, every problem, no matter how small, represents an apocalypse.
In his heart of hearts, the criminal believes himself justified in committing his crime. The innocent are no different.
Some said we lost our innocence on 9/11. Thank God, they were wrong, and we were able to cling to the one quality that has made us a world power—the serene barbarity of the civilized.