Monday, July 16, 2007

The Road To Hell

Eric Falkenstein on Mahalanobis:
It's good to know what evil really is: good intentions, enthusiastically applied, on a bad theory. These people are creating utopias or protecting some principle, and the mere sadists are just opportunists. The idea that killing a politician who won two democratic elections, because one disagrees (strongly!) with them is based on the premise that Bush actually stole the election, or that he is in fact cynically trying to favor big business knowing this merely sucks the life out of average people, or some other caricature. [British historian Eric] Hobsbawm thinks we should give him credit for his intentions, which as applied rationalized both terror and an unimaginable bureaucracy. As Nietzsche said, no one lies like the indignant, and they lie to promote a greater good. It is facts that matter, because facts constrain theories, and if you assume the wrong facts, your theory that explains those facts is wrong, and an extreme application of that theory is evil.
Everyone thinks they're a hero. Everyone thinks their intentions will whitewash their actions. More terror has been inflicted on the world in the Twentieth Century in the name of "at least I'm doing something!" than was probably inflicted in the five centuries prior.

Every time someone insists to us that the evil of Josef Stalin or Chairman Mao is not indicative of communism's failures as a whole, we ask them this: if Stalin had been elected President of the United States in 1918, how many U.S. citizens could he have killed? Would every state governor have cooperated as he confiscated food en masse? Would no citizen have risen up in arms as his neighbors were herded off into slave labor camps? What's the most that President Stalin could have killed in the U.S.? One million? Five million, at the outside? But not twenty million? Okay.


Post a Comment

<< Home