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jajdude
04-20-2011, 10:22 PM
Hope this doesn't stray into the forbidden area of the political. It's just a question I had yesterday after reading another site about all these sick men who have been and are leaders of nations. We all know at least a few, and there are no doubt a few most of don't know, or know little about, in lesser known countries. I put forth a simple idea, a theory I guess, that sociopaths can rise to high places with the charm and charisma and confidence they tend to possess. Maybe their skill in manipulating others helps too.

What do you think? Why have so many truly rotten people attained such high positions?

YesNo
04-20-2011, 10:52 PM
Why have so many truly rotten people attained such high positions?
I have no clue.

I suspect there are a lot of rotten people in low positions as well, so maybe it is just random.

Then again maybe it was all set up that way to teach us some lessons. That does imply that there is a dimension of consciousness outside the space-time dimensions in which we think we live where these lesson plans are made.

Calidore
04-20-2011, 11:26 PM
I think a lot of it is that people tend to allow bullies to win, so they become stronger and take more. It isn't just politics -- many of the most successful companies in various areas have a history of reprehensible behavior. Check the bracket for the Consumerist website's annual Worst Company in America tournament. Not a small name in the bunch, nor a company that people don't know is evil, but they rake in the money anyway.

The Atheist
04-21-2011, 01:47 PM
Ordinary old human nature, no politics involved.

Pretty much proof of evolution and the selfishness of genes transmuting itself to our personalities. To thrive, we must compete. To compete, one wants to win. As a spoiled child becomes a selfish scumbag, so does the person with absolute power - who wins all of the time - become intoxicated by their power and require greater proofs of it through greater sins. Since they can have everything legally, only moral outrages create satisfaction.

The same genetic trait runs through Imelda Marcos' shoes and stolen billions as Robert Mugabe's deliberate destruction of food production to Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler and Stalin's genocides.

As was said several centuries ago:


Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men

OrphanPip
04-21-2011, 01:55 PM
Or go back to Machiavelli, the most successful leader is not going to be the most moral. You have to be willing to do horrible things and step over the bodies of those that stand in your way to get to power. Especially in undemocratic societies, the backstabbing just happens to be more civil in liberal democracies.

JuniperWoolf
04-21-2011, 06:24 PM
Yeah, I think this topic will be okay as long as we're talking about people like Hitler and not Bush or Obama or whatever. I think it's more modern politics that fires people up which is what Admin doesn't want.

Anyway, I think it's all about fear. Someone who is willing to eat people's faces like Idi Amin isn't someone that a normal, moderate politician is going to want to mess with. Any sane, non-idealistic, normal person will back down to protect themselves and their families. On top of that, other people who desire power will rally around the nutbar because historically, nutbars don't impose that many rules on their followers. If you support someone who commits mass genocide, you can pretty much kill whoever you want. That's an enticing prospect to someone who likes killing people. What you wind up with is a powerful group of uninhibited killers who are led by a madman. That sort of thing is kind of difficult to put an end to, especially if they're killing their own people and leave out international aspirations. Before widespread international cooperation, you'd be hard pressed to find a government that would be willing to sacrifice their own soldiers and resources to stop a group that doesn't pose an immediate threat to their country.

Resources also play a large role. People with money can afford weapons, and if the rest of the country is largely impoverished and can't afford weapons, it should be easy to take over. It's often criminal activity that allows someone in an impoverished country to aquire money, and it's often people who lack good moral fiber who engage in criminal activity, so it follows that immoral people who aquire money by criminal means to buy weapons will take power. I think that's why dictatorships usually arise during times of economic strife.

Calidore
04-21-2011, 07:14 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men

There's two different kinds of weakness. The first is the weakness of the powerful in being susceptible to corruption; the second, and the bigger problem IMO, is about the weakness of the people in elevating already corrupt men to power and keeping them there despite knowing what they are.

Or to use the two parts of the quote above:

Power corrupting vs. the corrupt achieving power

Great men becoming bad men vs. bad men becoming great men

Mutatis-Mutandis
04-22-2011, 12:27 AM
The evil ones tend to stick in our minds more, also.

jajdude
04-22-2011, 04:20 AM
I was expecting the absolute power quote. I don't believe it though. I think some people are just born without compassion, but are cunning bastards, sociopaths, who have charm and all that, and that is how they attain power.

I've had a boss or two I'd like to strangle.

Some people are not worthy of oxygen.

However, you give (absolute?) power to a good person, and good will follow.

The Atheist
04-23-2011, 07:33 PM
Someone who is willing to eat people's faces like Idi Amin isn't someone that a normal, moderate politician is going to want to mess with.

Apparently really tasty, cheeks.


Power corrupting vs. the corrupt achieving power

Difficult to know which came first, as there is always a streak of ruthlessness required to achieve the power to start with.

Taking Napoleon as an example - it appears from historical records that he was actually a good bloke to start with. Did his megalomania cause the war or was the war a just result of the politics of the day requiring war as a uniting factor? (and to get money)


The evil ones tend to stick in our minds more, also.

Which non-evil ones have there been?


However, you give (absolute?) power to a good person, and good will follow.

Have got an example? It needs to be someone with absolute power, which removes all democratically-elected leaders.

Marshall Tito is the closest I can get and I have my doubts about whether he was good, or just not as bad as the others.

jajdude
04-24-2011, 10:19 PM
Well, I don't know. Who has absolute power?

Let's just say someone in a high position. Surely there are good and bad there.

Oniw17
04-24-2011, 10:38 PM
Ever read the 48 Laws of Power? That's the mindset people have. I don't agree that the methods in the book are the only way to get people to do what you want. Personally, I think people are more compliant when you gain their respect and admiration. You don't tend to do that by being a grimey, ruthless, fake person. Or maybe you do. It's just not my style I guess. There's a time for ruthlessness, just not all the time.

Apparently really tasty, cheeks.

Have got an example? It needs to be someone with absolute power, which removes all democratically-elected leaders.

Marshall Tito is the closest I can get and I have my doubts about whether he was good, or just not as bad as the others.

What about the dalai lamas?

Mutatis-Mutandis
04-24-2011, 11:02 PM
Which non-evil ones have there been?

Are you asking seriously, or just being facetious?

The Atheist
04-25-2011, 01:55 AM
Well, I don't know. Who has absolute power?

Let's just say someone in a high position. Surely there are good and bad there.

No, it has to be a country's ruler. Otherwise, the person will only have limited power and may be removed from office/job.


What about the dalai lamas?

Hardly a power position - he lives in exile.


Are you asking seriously, or just being facetious?

No, I'm being serious. What totalitarian ruler has been "good"?

I honestly cannot think of any, although maybe the late King of Jordan is an example. I think he was pretty reasonable - compared to all the others anyway.

Paulclem
04-25-2011, 04:24 AM
What is difficult to accept is that, unless they are already psychopaths - which is difficult to prove - as that the supposedly evil leaders weren't always so. They were ordinary, even with good qualities such as Napoleon, and things went bad when they attained power.

Hitler is seen as an icon of evil, but the image of the demonic little man with an evil plan is only part of the truth. He was apparently a charismatic leader - in the sense that he had a fantastic memory for facts, figures , troop movements etc in which he was able to impress those that mattered. He was kind to the people around him, secretaries etc, and didn't seem to have the usual excesses of vice that we usually associate with powerful people.

It's far too simple to say that leaders are just evil and that's it. Power corrupts - as has been pointed out, but the moral standards, who you will promote to pursue your own ends, (with the Nazis it was criminals), and whether the ideological framework you subscribe to is based upon humanity and compassion or power and suppression. The communist ideals pursued by Stalin and Mao - if indeed they were communist - placed an ideology above people, as did the National Socialism of the Nazis.

The difficult thing for us to accept is that they were actually not some wierd abomination, but were people just like us, who, through circumstance, were able to pursue their designs to conclusions that became evil.

I also think that to seperate these types off by labelling them as evil we are denying the possibility of our own fallibility, and the potential, given the wrong circumstances, to be a party to evil.

Banality of evil is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt and incorporated in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.[1] It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banality_of_evil

The Atheist
04-26-2011, 03:45 PM
I also think that to seperate these types off by labelling them as evil we are denying the possibility of our own fallibility, and the potential, given the wrong circumstances, to be a party to evil.

Banality of evil is a phrase coined by Hannah Arendt and incorporated in the title of her 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.[1] It describes the thesis that the great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banality_of_evil

Yep, that's pretty much it, because an obvious sociopath isn't going to ever be able to have the charisma to attain leadership at the start.

jajdude
04-27-2011, 09:30 AM
An obvious sociopath? I wonder about that phrase. Aren't most of them slick enough to hide it from others, at least for a while, perhaps believing they're perfectly functioning and even superior people? Seems to me that sort has the ability to rise to high places, fooling most along the way.

Paulclem
04-27-2011, 11:48 AM
An obvious sociopath? I wonder about that phrase. Aren't most of them slick enough to hide it from others, at least for a while, perhaps believing they're perfectly functioning and even superior people? Seems to me that sort has the ability to rise to high places, fooling most along the way.

Sociopath
From Dictionary.com
a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

A person like this would find it difficult to hide their feelings and intentions for very long. They don't like anyone, but the dictators we've been talking about weren't sociopaths in that sense. They were racist politicos and prepared to subject certain sections of the population to horrible cruelty, but Hitler wanted the success of the German Reich, not its destruction. In Stalinist Russia, Georgians always got preferential treatment because Stalin was from Georgia.

qimissung
04-27-2011, 12:49 PM
I think Hitler was a sociopath. Core characteristics of a sociopath:


•Glibness/superficial charm
•Grandiose/Egocentric
•Lack of remorse/guilt
•Callous/lack of empathy
•Deceitful
•Manipulative
•Emotionally shallow
•Impulsive/Poor behavior control
•Need for excitement
•Lack of responsibility
•Early behavior problems
•Parasitic/Antisocial lifestyle

I don't know how many of these you'd have to have to be considered a sociopath, but I suspect that many totalitarian rulers are.

The Atheist
04-27-2011, 04:00 PM
I think Hitler was a sociopath. Core characteristics of a sociopath:

Those traits could apply to most of the human race at some stage. Lie, cheat, lack of responsibility, etc?

The characteristics in your post are widely-spread across the internet, but I can't find them on site that would be considered authoritive. I do note that Wikipedia, which isn't necessarily an authority, has a much longer list of traits, which include the following left off your list:

Many short-term relationships
Pathological liar
Promiscuous
Irresponsible
Prone to boredom

Along with those, you've listed these traits:

Emotionally shallow
Lack of empathy
Grandiose
Poor behaviour control

In terms of the young Adolf, I don't think those traits fit him all that well. Later on, sure, but in the early years he was a thinker & planner.

jajdude
04-27-2011, 08:26 PM
I agree with the "banality of evil" concept too. Such a thing was demonstrated in that famous prisoner/guard experiment.

As for sociopaths, I believe many of them are good actors. They don't care about anyone but they can pretend they do. So I'd say they can fool people, sometimes for a long time. Sometimes normal people are unfortunate enough to have relationships with them and end up in a bad way.

Gladys
04-27-2011, 09:12 PM
I think Hitler was a sociopath. Core characteristics of a sociopath...

Hitler, and his ilk, are hardly affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behaviour. Their behaviour is almost the opposite: ingratiating, charismatic, endearing and inspiring. They may act, for years, in a way that impresses many. Hitler was popular, even loved, in Germany in the decade prior to WWII.

The same endearing characteristics are found in our more narcissistic and bullying managers, CEOs and political leaders. Unless we are their victims, we see them as strong, fearless and decisive. Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychopathy#Psychopathy_vs._sociopathy) includes the following definitions, among many:



David T. Lykken proposes psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believes psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, he claims sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence.

Both personality disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.

Evil leaders with superb acting abilities, in politics and business, fit well with that definition of psychopathy. Additionally, they are highly attuned to acting in their own interests: maintaining popularity and respect, a circle of loyal (but not too close) friends and supporters, and side-lining dissenters. They are politically astute - exceptionally so, having their own interest so front and centre. The question arises: can one reach positions of the highest power and influence without it?

Narcissism is a common human trait, and many a high-level narcissist is capable of psychopathic behaviour, but few get the opportunities of a Hitler or a Stalin, especially in democracies. But when they do...

JuniperWoolf
04-27-2011, 10:12 PM
Tagging someone with a personality disorder actually isn't an exact science (not by a long shot, that's why the DSM-IV is a brick and gets longer and longer with every revision). Whether this or that long-dead person was a "sociopath" is close to subjective. Saying that Hitler was "antisocial" is redundant (durp, really? Wanting to murder the majority of society is considered antisocial behaviour?). The term "psychopath" is even more pointless and outdated, psychologists haven't used that word since the late seventies I believe.

Look, you're not going to taxonomize and understand people like Adolf Hitler by slapping them with a catagory (the traits mentioned above are witnessed in almost every person, look at the list posted by The Atheist). Human psychology and behaviour isn't that simple, and no one knew or studied Hitler to any great extent, so any catagory that you place him under is invalid. You might as well call him "evil," such an observation would be equally valid. People who do weird, gross things to other people have brains that are messy, compicated and (I maintain) impossible to place in an easily-accesed and understood catagory (if you disagree, scroll through the most modern DSM - yeah, that's real cut-and-dry). That's why the rest of us are so intrigued/put off.

There's no point in even trying to catagorize and lable people like Hitler, Bundy, Amin, Gein, Gaddafi, ect. All you can do is read about them and wonder at the things that they've done. People have been trying (and failing) to make them predictable and easily understood and linked to one another for almost a hundred years.

*edit* By "predictable," I mean that they've been trying to find a key list of features that you can witness that would be able to tell you if that person is going to be a killer, like the traits that have been mentioned above. It'd be nice if you could because then you could prevent a lot of weird, gross things from happening, but you can't because all "insane" people are pretty different from not only "normal" people but also each other.

MystyrMystyry
04-27-2011, 10:30 PM
The U.S, government commissioned a psychological analysis of Hitler in 1940 to figure how he ticked - iforation was gathered from general behavior, childhood friends and family (those who'd fled) and the ramblings in Mein Kamf

The report described various facets from psycho-sexual to his messianic complex, which correctly predicted that upon being proved to be not infallible would destroy himself

Gladys
04-27-2011, 10:41 PM
The term "psychopath" is even more pointless and outdated

Psychological terms are certainly imprecise and ambiguous, and psychology itself a primitive science. Nevertheless, deceptively enchanting behaviour, sustained for years, combined with an appalling lack of empathy for minorities is clear cut indeed. Extreme narcissism is a harsh reality in many spheres of life.

OrphanPip
04-28-2011, 09:10 AM
The U.S, government commissioned a psychological analysis of Hitler in 1940 to figure how he ticked - iforation was gathered from general behavior, childhood friends and family (those who'd fled) and the ramblings in Mein Kamf

The report described various facets from psycho-sexual to his messianic complex, which correctly predicted that upon being proved to be not infallible would destroy himself

Ya, but psychiatry in the 1940s was about as scientific as voodoo.

Paulclem
04-28-2011, 02:57 PM
There's no point in even trying to catagorize and lable people like Hitler, Bundy, Amin, Gein, Gaddafi, ect. All you can do is read about them and wonder at the things that they've done. People have been trying (and failing) to make them predictable and easily understood and linked to one another for almost a hundred years.



The difference between Hitler and serial killers is that he wasn't one. The structure of nazism was such that psychopaths were able to profit from the needs of the Reich, and he, along withthe other Nazis facilitated that. That doesn't mean he wasn't as culpable, or that his actions didn't end up being evil, but he wasn't known for his cruelty and murderous traits - as Amin was.

The point is that if you categorise such people together with the obvious socio/psychopaths, then you're creating a "special" category of evil people who aren't like the rest of us. Mao, Stalin and Hitler didn't personally murder people, and they were just like the rest of us, but perhaps with charisma, vision, luck and the environmental factors that helped them get on. That could be any of us, or our leaders.

The Nazi state facilitated murder of millions, but these also weren't carried out by millions of psychopaths. They were carried out, in most cases, by ordinary people who had been indoctrinated with racism, were motivated by fear and whose moral judgement had been marred by the state propaganda.

jajdude
04-28-2011, 07:51 PM
Good points have been raised, thanks, and maybe I have a clearer understanding regarding the question atop this thread. A mass scale of, um, brainwashing (?) sounds plausible. Entire societies can be sick. Racism, for one thing, can be accepted as normal, as it was in America not so long ago.

A leader need not be (deeply) pathological to influence millions to acts of brutality. On the surface it may seem that way though. Still, the actions of some lead one to wonder just how depraved ordinary people can become. Many of us like to believe we'd never do such awful things. It's a bit like the 'bystander effect' I suppose. Many say, 'Why didn't anyone help?' and 'I would've done something!' Yet, unless you are actually in such a situation, how do you know for certain?

Paulclem
04-29-2011, 04:30 AM
A climate of political fear with prominant leaders disappearing, sections of the community being victimised with constant propaganda, but work and wealth increasing due to increased production and building, and the feeling that the country is regaining strength despite the internal and external threats of communism. New laws which remove civil rights being passed It must have been very difficult to understand what was going on in those times unless you understood that the government's agenda was different to it's stated one.

jajdude
04-29-2011, 08:40 PM
Another thing that may be odd is, with the higher numbers of educated and sophisticated people these days, why have we seen little improvement? It just seems bizarre to me that a country such as North Korea should even exist, though from what I gather, that land is quite alien to most of the world's thinking.

(Used to live in South Korea, now in China)

Gladys
04-29-2011, 10:44 PM
The point is that if you categorise such people together with the obvious socio/psychopaths, then you're creating a "special" category of evil people who aren't like the rest of us. Mao, Stalin and Hitler didn't personally murder people, and they were just like the rest of us, but perhaps with charisma, vision, luck and the environmental factors that helped them get on. That could be any of us, or our leaders.

A fascinating insight, Paulchem.

Mao, Stalin and Hitler simply had more opportunity, just as your average, Hutu, next door neighbour had in 1994. There but for the grace of God go I!

JuniperWoolf
04-29-2011, 11:29 PM
Mao, Stalin and Hitler didn't personally murder people, and they were just like the rest of us, but perhaps with charisma, vision, luck and the environmental factors that helped them get on. That could be any of us, or our leaders.

Say what? You think that Stephen Harper could just walk through a place like Auchwitz, under his governmental athority, and be like "yep, everything's good here. Nothing out of the ordinary happening." Hitler personally called for the order for Jews, blacks, homosexuals, ect. to be gassed, burned alive and shot (including children and babies). I have copies of the documents that prove it in a textbook upstairs in my room, he totally knew what was going on under his reign and I strongly maintain that the vast majority of people if put in his position wouldn't be okay with that. That's not just a "normal person" with the singularity of posessing "charisma, vision and luck."

Sorry, I know that's off topic, I just deal with a lot of dumb redneck kids in my area who have a habbit of glorifying Hitler (without actually knowing what the nazi state was about or what happened, they just know a lot of jews died, think that the symbol looks cool and they respect the fear associated with it) and it really cheeses me off.


The point is that if you categorise such people together with the obvious socio/psychopaths, then you're creating a "special" category of evil people who aren't like the rest of us.

That wasn't my point. I was trying to say that the neat little catagories that had been mentioned in this thread so far are erroneous and indeed, decades out of date (like I said, psychologists don't use the word "psychopath" and haven't for over twenty-five years). There is no "the rest of us" because what we're capable of varies signifigantly from one person to the next, but there are a lot of studies that prove that most people do have a fairly high degree empathy and compassion for others (unfortunately, this can often be overridden and sometimes takes the form of after-the-fact regret). That's why there has been so much money, time and effort poured into trying to find the line between "people who would do weird, gross things to other people" and "people who wouldn't," but the entire thing has been pretty fruitless. Trying to find solid lines between, for example, "will and won't" or "normal and abnormal" (basically any solid border or catagory regarding human brain) has proven to be impossible. Diagnostic psychologists are left with stupid little cliches, like "doesn't play well with others" or "prone to anger when status is threatened."


The Nazi state facilitated murder of millions, but these also weren't carried out by millions of psychopaths.

I didn't say that they were. There are a ton of books written on why and how the nazis did what they did. People have literally dedicated their lives to figuring it out. We could make a 1000 page thread talking about it. There's more to it than indoctrination and propaganda though.

jajdude
04-30-2011, 01:27 AM
Good post Juniper, and thanks for confusing me even further, haha.

I don't know. I asked the question in sincerity. Why are they evil?

Is it circumstances or just that they are rotten humans, or both?

I'm deeply dismayed ( a light word, 'troubled' sounded too strong, but may fit better here) to believe most people could ever act like a Josef Mengele (sp) or whoever. I'd like to think, I'd prefer to off myself above hurting innocent kids.

It's a tough question.

MystyrMystyry
04-30-2011, 01:30 AM
Ya, but psychiatry in the 1940s was about as scientific as voodoo.

Right, and the inexact science of psychology met the inexact science of Nazi Dictator to give a result that basically read 'complete noong - shouldn't be too hard.'

He was surrounded by yesmen who supported his nonsense because a lot of his nonsense had been around since long before he was born, and there was an undercurrent of hatred for all people 'not like us' since, well, throughout history

Paulclem
04-30-2011, 04:21 AM
Say what? You think that Stephen Harper could just walk through a place like Auchwitz, under his governmental athority, and be like "yep, everything's good here. Nothing out of the ordinary happening." Hitler personally called for the order for Jews, blacks, homosexuals, ect. to be gassed, burned alive and shot (including children and babies). I have copies of the documents that prove it in a textbook upstairs in my room, he totally knew what was going on under his reign and I strongly maintain that the vast majority of people if put in his position wouldn't be okay with that. That's not just a "normal person" with the singularity of posessing "charisma, vision and luck."


There's a difference between signing the paper and pulling the trigger etc. Of course he and all the Nazis, and a good number of citizens knew what was going on, and, as I said, he and they are responsible.

It would be difficult to imagine it happening in the same way today - i think it was a particular set of circumstances at that time - as we are much more aware of rights, and much less tolerant of intolerance. So I don't mean that we could all suddenly become Nazis. All that was on the back of a brutal WW1, poverty caused by war reparations, starvation, terrible economic conditions, a feeling of injustice against politicians and a democratic government, and the wish to re-assert German pride and power. It also took 10 years of the same message, disinformation etc etc. They didn't then come up with The Final Solution until they had already had substantial military success and were riding high - ie they thought they could get away with it. Of course the victors - Russia - did get away with mass murder and the Gulag system, and they killed even more people.

Paulclem
04-30-2011, 04:23 AM
Sorry, I know that's off topic, I just deal with a lot of dumb redneck kids in my area who have a habbit of glorifying Hitler (without actually knowing what the nazi state was about or what happened, they just know a lot of jews died, think that the symbol looks cool and they respect the fear associated with it) and it really cheeses me off.


It would p*ss me off too.

Paulclem
04-30-2011, 04:25 AM
That wasn't my point. I was trying to say that the neat little catagories that had been mentioned in this thread so far are erroneous and indeed, decades out of date (like I said, psychologists don't use the word "psychopath" and haven't for over twenty-five years). There is no "the rest of us" because what we're capable of varies signifigantly from one person to the next, but there are a lot of studies that prove that most people do have a fairly high degree empathy and compassion for others (unfortunately, this can often be overridden and sometimes takes the form of after-the-fact regret). That's why there has been so much money, time and effort poured into trying to find the line between "people who would do weird, gross things to other people" and "people who wouldn't," but the entire thing has been pretty fruitless. Trying to find solid lines between, for example, "will and won't" or "normal and abnormal" (basically any solid border or catagory regarding human brain) has proven to be impossible. Diagnostic psychologists are left with stupid little cliches, like "doesn't play well with others" or "prone to anger when status is threatened."



Yes I agree with this - I wasn't addressing that - and I should have said so. I just used psychopath for want of a better word in my ignorence.

Paulclem
04-30-2011, 04:28 AM
I didn't say that they were. There are a ton of books written on why and how the nazis did what they did. People have literally dedicated their lives to figuring it out. We could make a 1000 page thread talking about it. There's more to it than indoctrination and propaganda though.

I know. I think that particular episode is time specific. Yet the possibility remains of the generation of hate against some people in certain circumstances such as Bosnia and Rwanda. We're lucky not to live in police states where moraslity is mitigated by fear and survival.

JuniperWoolf
05-01-2011, 02:24 AM
It would be difficult to imagine it happening in the same way today - i think it was a particular set of circumstances at that time - as we are much more aware of rights, and much less tolerant of intolerance. So I don't mean that we could all suddenly become Nazis. All that was on the back of a brutal WW1, poverty caused by war reparations, starvation, terrible economic conditions, a feeling of injustice against politicians and a democratic government, and the wish to re-assert German pride and power.

*nod* Yeah, it's true that most people today in modern developed countries would have reactions of disgust and horror if they had to see some of the things that people under autocratic governments have had to commit, but it's also sort of been seen throughout history that if we weren't as well off as we are now, if we were more like post-WWI, pre-WWII Germany, we might be more inclined to commit brutal acts.

I don't think that it will ever get as bad as the Nazis though. Everyone was pretty shaken by that. I think that one thing adding to the unlikelyhood of a holocaust-situation ever happening again is actually because the halocaust did happen. Like, if one group of people started to think about rounding up another group into concentration camps and mass exterminations, it would obviously remind them of the Jewish holocaust and everyone knows that didn't end well for anybody.

The Atheist
05-01-2011, 03:34 PM
I don't think that it will ever get as bad as the Nazis though. Everyone was pretty shaken by that. I think that one thing adding to the unlikelyhood of a holocaust-situation ever happening again is actually because the halocaust did happen. Like, if one group of people started to think about rounding up another group into concentration camps and mass exterminations, it would obviously remind them of the Jewish holocaust and everyone knows that didn't end well for anybody.

Didn't seem to bother Pol Pot, the Hutus in Rwanda, or Serbians in Bosnia.

Genocide is always popular.

Emil Miller
05-02-2011, 06:18 PM
There's a difference between signing the paper and pulling the trigger etc. Of course he and all the Nazis, and a good number of citizens knew what was going on, and, as I said, he and they are responsible.

It would be difficult to imagine it happening in the same way today - i think it was a particular set of circumstances at that time - as we are much more aware of rights, and much less tolerant of intolerance. So I don't mean that we could all suddenly become Nazis. All that was on the back of a brutal WW1, poverty caused by war reparations, starvation, terrible economic conditions, a feeling of injustice against politicians and a democratic government, and the wish to re-assert German pride and power. It also took 10 years of the same message, disinformation etc etc. They didn't then come up with The Final Solution until they had already had substantial military success and were riding high - ie they thought they could get away with it. Of course the victors - Russia - did get away with mass murder and the Gulag system, and they killed even more people.

As Paul Clem says, it would be difficult to imagine it happening in the same way today, but how many present day armchair anti-nazis would have been prepared to speak out or not be swayed into supporting their propaganda machine? The following newsreel underlines what I mean:

http://youtu.be/SkV1ZbU7eqs

Delta40
05-02-2011, 06:22 PM
Can Osama Bin Laden dwell safely here? I mean he's dead now, he was evil and people died at his hands. What other criteria does he need to enter?

Paulclem
05-02-2011, 06:51 PM
Can Osama Bin Laden dwell safely here? I mean he's dead now, he was evil and people died at his hands. What other criteria does he need to enter?

It is an emotive subject at the moment, and perhaps not the time to discuss the question of evil regarding Bin Laden.

Have you looked through the thread?

JuniperWoolf
05-02-2011, 08:45 PM
I think the rules are like, thirty years or something. I read something about the "no modern politics" rule a bunch of months ago, but I can't remember...

Scheherazade
05-03-2011, 07:41 AM
It is not a question of various personalities or names but whether the issue or the person is current.

As it is clearly stated in here (http://www.online-literature.com/forums/announcement.php?f=9), discussion of current politics is not allowed.

tonywalt
05-18-2011, 06:42 PM
Buddhism teaches non resistance. You know any full blown buddhist countries(not japan, that's more of a notional feature) that have not been overrun and overrun. I can name a few, Tibet being the most buddhist in the world and we all know what happened there. You may not like the 48 laws of power, but your boss and certainly his bosses- they like, know, and practice them more than you can ever imagine.

There is soom room for meritocracy, but at the top, it's Machivellian.

Paulclem
05-18-2011, 06:51 PM
In Buddhism there are laid down certain conditions necessary for a practitioner to be able to practice Buddhism. These include, leisure, religious tolerance, wealth, the prescence of teachers and should probably include benevolent leaders. (HH The Dalai Lama was named by Altan Khan- A descendant of Ghengis Khan).