“Only one thing could have stopped our movement – if our adversaries had understood its principle and from the first day smashed with the utmost brutality the nucleus of our new movement.” allegedly Adolf Hitler
Potentially bad situations can arise at any time for any number of reasons. Usually, when people see really bad things like Nazi parades or a military invasion, they say: “Oh no, this is so very bad, someone should do something!” That is, if people even recognize something bad as bad… Which is always easier in hindsight.
But even if people do in fact understand that something is bad, and that they themselves should do something about it, not some imaginary cavalry, often is this very, very late. If you know that I can see the future and I tell you that your mother will be hit by a truck tomorrow at 5 pm at a particular place, you will immediately ensure that she cannot possibly be there at 5 pm – you’ll maybe even leave town, leave the country even, just to ensure that that particular path through future simply cannot happen. You will kill it at the earliest possible point of intervention and you most definitely will not wait until it is already half past 4 and you don’t know where your mother is.
What we don’t do, however, is apply the same reasoning to everyday life and everyday problems. Evil babies – bad things during their beginning – are not always as dire as national socialism in 1939 Germany. They are not always as dangerous as Al Qaeda. Evil babies can be relations with neighbors, or bad behavior from your dog, and so on. For example, if your dog exhibits somewhat-kinda-maybe bad behavior, and you, out of uncertainty or for other reasons, don’t do anything about it, by the time you realize it’s bad behavior which needs correction, it will already be much more difficult to do.
In essence, when you see something bad and you know with reasonable certainty that it really is bad, don’t wait for it to grow! Kill the baby! History books would be much more different had Hitler’s opponents attacked the baby of national socialism with the same brutality the Allies attacked it with when it was grown and mature. People say “a stitch in time saves nine”, but often it does not occur to us to apply this wisdom to sabotage/undermine/destroy bad things that are going to grow. So, if you’re a teacher and you see a flicker of disrespect in one of your students, don’t wait for it to grow to an all-out insult. Kill the evil baby. Do what you would have done if you had actually seen all-out insults. If you see your dog exhibit like a little, but just very little aggressive behavior, deal with it like it was a lot of aggressive behavior. Don’t wait for it to settle to a habit and grow. If you see a presidential candidate strangely reminiscent of populist nationalist leaders in history books, don’t give him the opportunity to do what they had done. Kill the evil baby! The list goes on and on, but the principle is clear: think about what is happening around you and, when you realize something could go wrong, suppose it will, and then “smash with utmost brutality” the bad thing while it’s still a baby. Kill the evil baby.