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Old December 5th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #51

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I entirely agree. Evil is often an overly simplistic term that seeks to alienate oneself from the target rather than seeking to understand the target.

I would say that evil exists subjectively but all this means is "terribly inconsistent". Gengis Khan did essentially the same thing Hitler did, yet we find his behavior more excusable.
I think the primary differences is that time is far greater between the two and the proliferation of documented evidence for what Hitler had done goes way beyond the actions as recorded by spoken and written words of Gengis Khan's time.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 04:28 PM   #52

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I have saying, "There is no such thing as an evil person, just a person who does the wrong thing." Hitler is one of the only people who breaks this rule. He was evil
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:15 AM   #53
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I think the primary differences is that time is far greater between the two and the proliferation of documented evidence for what Hitler had done goes way beyond the actions as recorded by spoken and written words of Gengis Khan's time.

Is that really true? Genghis Khan massacred a lot of people, but was it genocide--meaning, killing those people just because of their race, ethnicity, or religion? Or was it because they were from places that had resisted the Mongols? If the latter, I think that while most people today would strongly condemn it, they wouldn't consider it as morally appalling as what Hitler did.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:53 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Rasta
I entirely agree. Evil is often an overly simplistic term that seeks to alienate oneself from the target rather than seeking to understand the target.

I would say that evil exists subjectively but all this means is "terribly inconsistent". Gengis Khan did essentially the same thing Hitler did, yet we find his behavior more excusable.
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I think the primary differences is that time is far greater between the two and the proliferation of documented evidence for what Hitler had done goes way beyond the actions as recorded by spoken and written words of Gengis Khan's time.
Nope, the primary difference is that Herr Hitler and Temüjin dis extremely different things.

Naturally that would have made little difference for their respective victims, or for the countless victims of imperialism or colonialism all along History.

But for the purposes of this thread the incredibly futile industrial genocide just for mere bizarre ethnic beliefs couldn't be compared at all with the utterly pragmatic systematic massive carnage of conquered population primarily intended to guarantee the subjugation of the conquered populations by sheer terror.


That said, and as previously noted, a major relevant difference between both genocidal rulers is that Temüjin actually won, and he did indeed win in the greatest conceivable historical scale, while the absolute failure of Herr Hitler under absolutely any standard couldn't have been any more absolute.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:59 AM   #55

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Ok I am going to stand alone by saying.... Hitler was a product of his society they fed into his power....Evil men exist when good men sit back and do nothing many shared into his insanity.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:19 AM   #56
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No probs.

What you've said has some validity, but if we take the moral aspects out of history, then all we have are facts.

And to me, if we can't understand why something happened, or at least try and understand the morals behind some of those actions, then we don't fully understand it.
I agree it's important to understand the underlying causes for historical events, but I believe that, more often than not, they are economic. Taking the Nazis for example, there were plans (carried out to some degree) to artificially create famine in Eastern Europe, it's considered genocidal, but it's really economics. Germany needed labourers, they would have liked to keep them for that purpose but there was another factor, food. Germany had felt the sting of starvation during the first world war, and would again during the second, there were just too many people in Europe and the population couldn't be sustained without resorting to maritime trade, which was a problem in war because of the superiority of the Royal Navy. For Germany to be truly self-sufficient and not at the mercy of the British she needed more land and less people. Racial superiority might have been the ideological argument, but the cold, hard economics of scarcity was always the underlying reality.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:25 AM   #57

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I've never really met anyone evil and if I met him I might have liked Hitler...as children and animals did apparently; besides I find it hard to dislike people. I believe if Hitler had read the OP he would have maintained that he had been sent by Providence to combat evil, behind which was world Jewry. That's the trouble with so many political and religious world shattering figures: they are convinced they are doing God or Nature's work or are on the side of scientific determinism. They are the good guys, true to their cause and not evil, and we are the problem because we simply cannot see that.
Good point, I think. Evil, when you try to pin it down to an individual, proves strangely elusive. It slips through you fingers - what you're left with are heaps of corpses and some impresssively high-minded - or endearingly ordinary individuals, who go on about how they sacrificed themselves - or at least meant no harm.

What you say here (committing atrocities in the name of a bright future of mankind/your nation/progress/science/God etc. - in short with "good intentions") applies to plenty of historical figures, just to mention Robespierre or Felix Dzierzhinsky (inventor of the progressive brand of mass extermination - Hitler just walked in his footsteps) Often quite intriguing socially and full of noble ideals.

In my private opinion there's a personalized and direct source of Evil, who manifests himself throughout human history - never as clearly as in the 20th century, perhaps (though the past ages also provide ample evidence). Unfortunate individuals like the said Adolph, are nothing but pawns and puppets. Human history's way too surreal to be properly understood without metaphysics.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 08:51 AM   #58
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"Unfortunate" would hardly be an adjective that could be applied to the lucky bastard that the said Adolph was.

Blaming an unfavorable ecology for the own criminal activities has always tended to be a poor excuse, but hardly ever to such extreme as regarding the case of the said Adolph.

It would be hard to imagine which of his unique genocidal activities could be attributed to any unfriendly social environment inevitably shared by myriad other humans.

The hardly amazing fact that each and any human individual must be to some extent the product of the own society couldn't be any more elementary obviousness, and is not particularly helpful here.

And as rightly pointed out by the OP, what is inherently bad or good is the action itself, not the complex humans.

The actions of Herr Hitler were certainly not explained by any "good men sitting back and doing nothing"; the said Adolph simply wisely profited from the realpolitik blunders of his enemies, e.g. the widespread panic for Communism.

Such Manichean apology is just the cheapest version of Godwin's Law, a poor but comfortable rationalization that may be used to justify any interventionism, as in practice any enemy in turn might be conveniently depicted an embrionary "Hitler".
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Old December 6th, 2012, 09:13 AM   #59

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Evil is a relative term. Adolph Hitler is a perfect example of ego carried to the height of unlimited power and used to manifest viewpoints that turn out to be judged morally faulty. Especially when viewed as an afterthought.
At one time Adolph Hitler was highly admired by many people across this planet. Of course, Hitler might have had an entirely different "spin" placed upon him, if he had won WW2 instead of losing it. And millions of deaths would have gone forgotten. Victorious German history writers would have created an entirely different version of this man than currently exists. However, since he lost, the victors got to paint whatever picture of him they chose to. Hopefully, the future leaders of the world may learn from Hitler's very bad example. However, with contemporary leaders such as Assad, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, one has to wonder if there is any learning process here.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 09:23 AM   #60

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
"Unfortunate" would hardly be an adjective that could be applied to the lucky bastard that the said Adolph was.

Blaming an unfavorable ecology for the own criminal activities has always tended to be a poor excuse, but hardly ever to such extreme as regarding the case of the said Adolph.

It would be hard to imagine which of his unique genocidal activities could be attributed to any unfriendly social environment inevitably shared by myriad other humans.

The hardly amazing fact that each and any human individual must be to some extent the product of the own society couldn't be any more elementary obviousness, and is not particularly helpful here.

And as rightly pointed out by the OP, what is inherently bad or good is the action itself, not the complex humans.

The actions of Herr Hitler were certainly not explained by any "good men sitting back and doing nothing"; the said Adolph simply wisely profited from the realpolitik blunders of his enemies, e.g. the widespread panic for Communism.

Such Manichean apology is just the cheapest version of Godwin's Law, a poor but comfortable rationalization that may be used to justify any interventionism, as in practice any enemy in turn might be conveniently depicted an embrionary "Hitler".
I don't blame ecology, I blame the Devil. Not very nice company, idem, Adolph was and is most unfortunate.

PS Manicheans - definitely not, the Devil's nothing and God Everything.
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