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Old December 7th, 2012, 04:10 PM   #101

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Originally Posted by Robespierre View Post
This might be a stupid question. Someone asked me it the other day.

Personally, I don't really believe in good and evil. Those seem like simplistic, black and white terms. But, then again, what was Hitler?
Hitler is, I think, rather easy to define. Now define evil.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:30 PM   #102

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Hitler was evil
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Old December 7th, 2012, 06:55 PM   #103

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Frankly, I find some of these posts mind-boggling. It's true that historical judgments are subject to change with the passage of time and new information. But there are limits to this. How in heavens name is it even conceivable that Hitler could ever be generally viewed in a positive light?!?! In this case, it seems like saying "well, things might look different in 500 years" is an abdication of common sense.
Not really. In fact, i think it would only be in keeping with common sense of human history that Hitler and Nazism might be somewhat progressed towards rehabilitation in time to a more mixed view then how they're viewed now. Outside of Europe and it's colonies, North America and Russia why should other areas of the world care how Hitler is viewed. Their history never had to deal with them and probably feel a lot less passionate about it.

I am not saying i want this to happen, but then this has happened all the time in human history.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:30 PM   #104
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I will state the obvious as well. You have no clue how Hitler will be viewed by historians in 1,000 years. It could very well become to be the case that in the future Hitler is not viewed as evil incarnate . . . similar to how we no longer view the Vikings as evil incarnate, hence the analogy.

I was not stating that the Vikings were actually evil incarnate . . . . I was speaking about the perception of Christian monks during the Viking era.

At the risk of overstating the obvious . . . I am not a 10th century Christian monk Sylla. Though I think you have a valid point should anyone ever invent a time machine that allows you to meet someone with such a perception so you can tell them they are wrong.
The first line couldn't indeed be any more elementarily obvious.

The differential perception of evil/good from the respective perspectives of conquerors and victims simply couldn't have been any more natural, human and timeless all along History.

Ultimately, the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist is, has always been and will predictably continue being fundamentally just in the eye of the beholder
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:41 PM   #105
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Nations inevitably act as they have been directed by their leaders. If they choose not to, they rebel.

Whilst there were undoubtedly a great number of Germans who opposed Hitler and the Nazis during their rise to power (and indeed a large number who attempted and continued to oppose him throughout his reign of terror) the German Nation; whether or not they individually or collectively knew or chose to ignore what was happening; did not rebel against the Nazis.

Using a nation to illustrate how peoples' perceptions of an 'evil' act has changed as it has become a distant memory is, I'm afraid, not a false analogy.
I'm afraid that attempting any ethical comparison between individuals and nations couldn't be any more a faulty analogy.

Strictly speaking and as rightly pointed out by the OP what is qualified by ethics as evil, good or anything in between are properly the human actions, not the human individuals, even less the human collectivities like nations.

According to your own example above, nations and other collectivities are a mixture of all kind of people performing all kind of actions; describing the Vikings, Mongols, Romans or any other nation or people ancient or modern in any ethical terms as a whole couldn't be any more blatant fallacious hasty generalization.

Fundamentally all human individuals themselves (yup, in all likelihood even Herr Hitler) are inevitably a complex mixture of actions all along the whole ethical spectrum from good to evil.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 12:31 AM   #106

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Originally Posted by Panthera tigris altaica View Post
Not really. In fact, i think it would only be in keeping with common sense of human history that Hitler and Nazism might be somewhat progressed towards rehabilitation in time to a more mixed view then how they're viewed now. Outside of Europe and it's colonies, North America and Russia why should other areas of the world care how Hitler is viewed. Their history never had to deal with them and probably feel a lot less passionate about it.

I am not saying i want this to happen, but then this has happened all the time in human history.
We don't know what will happen in the future. All we can judge is how the view on Hitler has developed in the decades since WWII. At least in the country that he led into the abyss, his already bad image has deteriorated. The more distance there is between the horror of 1933-1945 and the present, the more evil National Socialism appears. While directly after WWII the negative judgement on Hitler among Germans may have been in part due to his failure, that is: losing the war, it is now much more due to moral reasons. The main point now is the Holocaust, which today is much more present in the German public (and curiousl also in Israel) than it was in the 1950s.

A rehabilitation of Hitler and his ideas is completely unconceivable in Germany; he is considered evil incarnate. What has changed is the respect towards history; for example, Hitler can now be represented by actors also in German movies, and it is even possible to make comedies on Hitler. Another change is that people are also more and more ready to talk about crimes and morally ambiguous behavior of the Allied side during WWII.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 06:18 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
I'm afraid that attempting any ethical comparison between individuals and nations couldn't be any more a faulty analogy.

Strictly speaking and as rightly pointed out by the OP what is qualified by ethics as evil, good or anything in between are properly the human actions, not the human individuals, even less the human collectivities like nations.

According to your own example above, nations and other collectivities are a mixture of all kind of people performing all kind of actions; describing the Vikings, Mongols, Romans or any other nation or people ancient or modern in any ethical terms as a whole couldn't be any more blatant fallacious hasty generalization.

Fundamentally all human individuals themselves (yup, in all likelihood even Herr Hitler) are inevitably a complex mixture of actions all along the whole ethical spectrum from good to evil.
You're actually failing to identify the point of the analogy in your attempt to make it sound fallacious.

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e·vil /ˈēvəl/

Adjective - Profoundly immoral and malevolent.

Noun - Profound immorality, wickedness, and depravity, esp. when regarded as a supernatural force.
Evil is, as far as I understand it, a religious concept that is used to simplify a range of human emotions and acts which are considered abhorrent.

Common sense says that to say that the German people were all evil during the Nazi reign would be inherently wrong. There were, after all, people who opposed the Nazis within Germany before and during the period they grabbed and held onto the reins of power.

Now, take a poll straw of people in the street and ask the question Were the Nazis evil? I would guess that the vast majority of people would answer yes.

Ask another question, Was Germany a Nazi Nation during the Second World War? Again, I would guess that the vast majority of people would answer yes.

It is not a great stretch of the imagination, nor indeed is it fallacious to draw an analogy between a state and a person, as in this case, the nation was run by people who were considered evil.

Quote:
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” Martin Luther King Jr
Using historical nations as an analogy, is no more fallacious than using the Nazis. As has been pointed out to you by Rasta, you cannot answer for 10th Century monks anymore than I can answer for 2nd Century Britons.

However, since the concept of evil has religious connotations and roots, and since it is known that both the Romans and Vikings actively attacked the religious elements of their enemies, an educated guess can be made that both the 10th Century monks and 2nd Century Britons would have considered their oppressors evil.

Over time as more historical and archaeological evidence has become available and our view on the past has been expanded, our views of both the Romans and Vikings have changed. I would suggest significantly.

The problem we have now as custodians of the Nazi legacy, is to figure out how we can stop it becoming less horrific in the eyes of our descendants.

In reality, and has been pointed out by Grimald, we do not know what future generations will think, we can only hope to influence them by ensuring that the atrocities the Nazis carried out are not forgotten.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 06:40 AM   #108
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You're actually failing to identify the point of the analogy in your attempt to make it sound fallacious.



Evil is, as far as I understand it, a religious concept that is used to simplify a range of human emotions and acts which are considered abhorrent.
...
The point that makes it fallacious (hardly just "sound") couldn't have been explained in any more detail; basically apples, oranges and bananas are being compared here, a textbook fallacious faulty analogy (and hasty generalization too, BTW)

BTW, you have misunderstood the concept of "evil" here; this is not the religious Forum.
This term has been explicitly used here just on its strict ethical non-religious meaning, aside of a couple of mentions on Mr Satan.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 06:47 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
The point that makes it fallacious (hardly just "sound") couldn't have been explained in any more detail; basically apples, oranges and bananas are being compared here, a textbook fallacious faulty analogy (and hasty generalization too, BTW)

BTW, you have misunderstood the concept of "evil" here; this is not the religious Forum.
This term has been explicitly used here just on its strict ethical non-religious meaning, aside of a couple of mentions on Mr Satan.
We're going to have to agree to disagree on the validity of the analogy, and of course, your view is the correct one.

As to this being the Religious forum, you're correct.

However, the OP asked if Hitler was evil. If we are unable to bring our opinions on the concept of the word evil into the discussion, then every post would have said simply 'Yes'.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 06:49 AM   #110
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Nations inevitably act as they have been directed by their leaders. If they choose not to, they rebel.

Whilst there were undoubtedly a great number of Germans who opposed Hitler and the Nazis during their rise to power (and indeed a large number who attempted and continued to oppose him throughout his reign of terror) the German Nation; whether or not they individually or collectively knew or chose to ignore what was happening; did not rebel against the Nazis.

Using a nation to illustrate how peoples' perceptions of an 'evil' act has changed as it has become a distant memory is, I'm afraid, not a false analogy.
I'm afraid no valid justification on why should such a blatant fallacy not be considered as fallacious has been advanced here.

From your own example above:
- the actions of some Germans were evil.
- That couldn't imply that absolutely all the actions of any such German would have been equally evil too; such implication would naturally be a paradigmatic fallacious hasty generalization.
- Even less could it imply that the actions of all the Germans would have been equally evil too; that would be an additional fallacious hasty generalization.

So in a nutshell, to begin with it's an exponential fallacious hasty generalization; apples are trying to be fallaciously compared with oranges and then in turn both of them with bananas.
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