May 05, 2004

Teleological Ideas

Scott writes:

Uh, David, how can you distinguish between 3 [Evil for a good cause – DB] and 4 [Evil intent – DB]? Have you read Mein Kampf, or even selected quotes from it? Hitler (ym"sh) thought he was doing the world a favor. And how could you say that communism is a "good" cause? Have you read any Marx? You didn't put quotes around the word "good," so are you implying that communism has some redeeming value in any way?! Communism, and it's (very) close cousin Nazism (National SOCIALIST German WORKER'S Party) are both intrinsically evil. There is not one redeeming feature of either (very similar) ideology.

My intent was not to compare Hitler and Marx, but to compare the movements they created, and especially the mindset of their followers. I know a lot of good people who were taken in by Marxist rhetoric precisely because they felt that people shouldn’t suffer poverty, and some people shouldn’t be richer than others. I cannot condemn these ideals as evil, and in a certain sense I share them myself. It becomes evil (and absurd) when you think that killing people is a legitimate method for achieving these goals.

Good people were taken in by communism because they couldn’t give up their teleological ideas (as Steven Den Beste would say) – it should be true therefore it must be true.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at May 5, 2004 11:22 PM
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I think you misunderstand. Remaking Hitler and the Nazis into right-wing extremists is one of the greatest (perhaps THE greatest) single propaganda achievements of the 20th century. Hitler and his Nazi movement shared the idealism of communism because they were kissing cousins. I capitalized "SOCIALIST" and "WORKER'S" to emphasize this shared heritage in the Nazi party with communism. The mindset you believe you know is a myth. The protesting, rioting youth of today share very much in outlook AND action with their Nazi forbears.

Think it's a stretch? Read this article recasting Hitler as a modern Democratic candidate (http://www.techcentralstation.com/010804A.html). Okay, I gave away the shock value of the article, but my point stands. You can't separate certain opinions or positions from the odious ideology they spring from. Besides that, they are demonstrably false, because whenever a (communist OR Nazi) leftist is given a choice to help people or further their beliefs, they will choose the latter. DDT saved MILLIONS of lives before it was banned, and reintroducing it today in a controlled, responsible fashion would do the same. But every single time, a leftist will choose (falsely, if you look into it) the environment (which DDT never really damaged as horrifically as the anti-DDT activists insisted) over improving people's lives and well-being. The same goes for policies that reduce poverty. In case after case, leftists will choose the policy that prolongs poverty because to do otherwise, would be to admit that they are wrong.

Posted by: Scott at May 9, 2004 12:47 PM Permalink

Scott, I don't misunderstand your point, I am making a different point of my own. That's okay, it's one of the advantages of this medium.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at May 10, 2004 11:31 AM Permalink

David, perhaps *I* am misunderstanding your point.

It seems like you are saying that something like Nazism is inherently evil but that something like Communism, while evil, has some "good" points worthy of distinguishing it from Nazism. I tried to point out that Nazism had many, if not most, of the same "good" points (read the article I linked to for an in depth analysis).

I then pointed out that what leftists (and here I include Nazis and Communists) believe (the examples you provided dealt with poverty and the "rich-poor gap") is irrelevant because when given the option to choose between ideology and helping people, they'll choose ideology every time. So both are inherently and irredemably evil ideologies regardless of any subjective good points they possess.

I also say subjective, because the two examples you selected violate two tenets of Judaism (there will always be poor people and prohibition against coveting other's property, regardless of how "rich" they are). If you meant that we have a personal obligation to help those less fortunate than us, and that very wealthy people have a greater (also personal) obligation, I'm with you 100%. Beliefs such as "people shouldn?t suffer poverty" or "people shouldn?t be richer than others" have been used to justify murdering millions of people. I know you didn't say you shared these beliefs, but you did say you cannot condem them, and even sympathized with them.

If you want to try to come up with different examples for your points, feel free, but as they stand, the examples you provide are distinctions without a difference.

If I misunderstand your please, please clarify.

Posted by: Scott at May 10, 2004 12:46 PM Permalink

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