There Are No Words
At least, no singular words. I’m sure I could manage a diatribe of sufficient length and vitriol to describe the actions and ideas of certain people given a down hill run and a following wind.
See, I’m getting a bit tired of the automatic assumption that those who do not agree completely with someone’s ideas, beliefs, or whatever must automatically be evil and enemies. It makes for crappy fiction and crappier reality.
This is one of the many reasons I despise the “evil for evil’s sake” villain types. I can completely accept “inimical to human” or even “inimical to life as we know it” but existential evil? That I have difficulty with.
Of course, I tend to take the perspective that inimical to human or inimical to life as we know it is going to appear evil from a human perspective anyway – but that kind of being is, in my opinion, better kept as a shadowy force of nature than dragged out into view. Not least because whoever is writing it doesn’t have the imagination or ability to do so properly.
Anything so different from us that its very nature will destabilize us in some fashion (whether by corruption, dissolution, or some other means is immaterial) is going to be utterly alien to us, and probably equally terrifying as well. We might not even be able to recognize it as life.
I’ve seen this concept handled well in some of the older short stories. Life that takes the form of concentrated energy and can’t understand why these peculiar squishy things vibrate and explode when it tries to communicate with them, and other such concepts can work very well indeed in a short piece, as long as the author refrains from excessive moralization.
Which is a rant for another day: suffice to say that if I have to choose between my species and any other, it’s humans all the way.
So, yeah, disagreeing with someone doesn’t make them evil. Nor does it make you – or me – good. Most humans, unless they’re damaged in ways that go beyond recovery (and sometimes not even then) fall somewhere in a moral spectrum that tends not to have absolutes.
We, being human, tend to prefer the absolutes because we use them as shortcuts. If we can class something as this then we can definitively say it isn’t that. It’s a big part of why we tend to demonize someone who’s done something we disapprove of (especially if we really majorly disapprove of it). The same thing applies to not wanting to hear anything bad about those we admire.
I suspect it’s a way to push someone who endangers the safety of the group outside the boundaries that mark them as being “of us” – if they are all bad, then they’re not really real people, so they can be eliminated without breaking the rules about not killing people and we don’t need to feel bad about hurting them.
Unfortunately that particular quirk of humanity leads to two equally bad results: those who push too hard to avoid falling for it and race headlong into the bleeding hearts of all perspectives being equally valid; and those who don’t try to push at all and happily lead the witch hunts against all who differ from whatever the current standard of good happens to be.
Neither view works well in fiction, I might add. The former tends to generate wishy-washy utopias with bland, unconvincing antagonists (or, on rare occasions, existential evils), where the latter leads to caricatures of evil for the sake of evil, complete with gleeful metaphorical mustache twirling and cackling.
Somewhere in between is the target. Precisely where depends on how sympathetic the antagonist needs to be for the story (never forget that every “being abused/growing up poor/whatever cause made me evil” is an insult to the many thousands of others in similar circumstances who didn’t grow up evil) and how likeable the protagonist is (remember, protagonists need to protag, and antagonists need to do more than prance about and plot evil deeds). The balance is right when people devour your story and don’t notice any plot holes or other technical issues until they’ve finished it and had a bit of time to let the story settle.
If, after that, your readers still want more, you found the words.