Portrait of an American Hero

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Sculptor
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:27 pm
Sculptor wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:48 am
Immanuel Can wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:36 pm
So you say. But in that case, then, no one ever did more for the killing of man, either.
Marx killed no one ever.
Personally? No. But he gave other evil men the motive to do it,
By that rubric, Jesus is biggest mass murder in history. Now please run along now!
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Sculptor wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:55 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:27 pm
Sculptor wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:48 am
Marx killed no one ever.
Personally? No. But he gave other evil men the motive to do it,
By that rubric, Jesus is biggest mass murder in history.
Not even close. $148 million killed in the last century...more than in all the earlier wars of history combined, and yet there were no religious wars, pogroms or purges, and certainly there were never any in obedience to the teachings of Christ.

Marx, however, got all the followers he could possibly have wished in the last century...and all the corpses too.
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm
RCSaunders wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:53 pm Marx's ideas, like those of other philosophers and teachers throughout history, are only excuses for actions, not the cause of them.
That's too easy, and too simplistic an axiom, RC.

If I begin standing on a street corner, telling people to kill a particular cultural group, it is true that I'm only speaking "ideas." Even if I explain how to assemble bombs, tie them to oneself and wade into a crowd for maximum damage, I'm still only speaking "ideas." Or if I yell, "Workers, rise up and destroy the enemies of the revolution; you have nothing to lose but your chains, kill all the aristocrats, and let the guillotine sing," that's still nothing but an "idea."

Am I therefore innocent when these things come about? Or am I actually the MOST culpable, because without me, the violence would never have found the focus, the voice, the methods and the incentives-to-believe that induced the genocide come about?
Guilty of what? You might be a lunatic having no idea what the words you are saying really mean or imply (and, in fact, most radicals are little waco). As much as you'd like to judge them as evil, or guilty of some great crime, unless they actually do the crime, they are only guilty of being stupid or a politician.

It certainly cannot be guilty because, "without [him], the violence would never have found the focus." Did God make him the only person who could ever have had those ideas? He might have happened to be the one you know, but if he had never been born, certainly someone else could come up with the same ideas (especially in the case of Marx, whose ideas were not very original).

Suppose I publish that speech of the radical telling people to kill a particular cultural group, explaining how to assemble bombs, tie them to oneself and wade into a crowd for maximum damage, and yelling "Workers, rise up and destroy the enemies of the revolution; you have nothing to lose but your chains, kill all the aristocrats, and let the guillotine sing." Am I now guilty, as well? Should it be repressed? How do you decide? Perhaps it's only being reported. Perhaps its the speech of a fictional radical in a novel. Perhaps it's an article in the Daily Worker praising the speech, or a transcript of the actual speech. Same words, but words cannot be guilty of anything.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm
For the same reason the freedom of speech means free to say anything, I believe freedom of thought means freedom to think anything.

Amphiboly. Your sentence above slides "speech" into "think." And of course we have the right to "think" anything; who could stop us? But that's not at all the same thing as saying we have a right to say everything that comes into our heads.
Isn't a hate crime distinguished from a plain-old-everyday-crime on the basis of what one was thinking when they committed the crime? I know it's absurd and impossible to know, but it is the law, so the government, at least, thinks they can control what you think. (And of course, that is the whole purpose of public school.) What I said was neither amphiboly (gramatical ambiguity) or equivocation (word ambiguity, which is what you probably meant), it was a deliberate parallelism, a simile illustrating the point that the basis of freedom of speech is based on the principle that makes freedom of thought necessary. Speech is, after all, only speaking aloud what you think to yourself. Freedom of thought is not, you can think it but you cannot say it. If you believe that, you need to study Fox.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm You don't have the right to scream "fire" in a crowded movie theatre, and then laugh when people are trampled to death in the panic.
This piece of sophism has been pushed so long, it is difficult to believe anyone still believes it. Of course you can scream, "fire," in a crowded theater, especially if it's on fire. There is nothing wrong with yelling fire in a crowded theater. It has been done many times. (How others react to someone's speech is entirely their responsibility, not the speaker's.) In any case, it is, "speech," articulated ideas, not, "performance," that freedom of speech pertains to. A dance, a demonstration, a scream, a painting, rap music, or an act is not, "speech," (which unfortunately those who want to obfuscate the issue, like the cultural Marxists, have pushed). It is freedom to express thought, not freedom to act in any way one chooses.

The issue is not, freedom of speech, but property. It is perfectly right to say anything you want anywhere you like so long as you do not use someone else's property as your platform without their permission. If I'm in your house or in your building or in your theater, you determine what one is allowed to say on your property. Beyond that, any attempt to prevent anyone from saying anything they choose at any time is a form of oppression.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm
Just look at today's news. As terrible as racist thinking is, or antisemitic views are, or ignorant prejudices directed at ethnic backgrounds are, the desire to squelch any expression of those views has been turned into repression of any expression of reason even when it is opposed to those views--which is the whole PC, multi-cultural political atmosphere which fills the news with mob riots and so-called, "demonstrations," about which no criticism is allowed.
Absolutely. ...
As far as so-called, "right," and, "left," are concerned, I'm apolitical, and since both are political views, I do not agree with either, and do not see that much difference between them except at the extremes. That is strictly my view which I'm not arguing for. We agree on the repression of free speech, but not the political aspects, I think.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm
If I'm defending anything it is freedom to hold and express any idea, no matter how revolting or, "hateful," it is...
Well, I agree we have the freedom to hold any idea, and we should have very, very liberal policies on what you can say, invoking a term like "hate speech" only in the case of things like calls for genocide or inciting criminal violence.
Here's the problem with that. As soon as you say, "you can say anything, except..." there is never a clear definition of the exception and it will grow to ultimately include anything that is not politically acceptable to whoever holds political power. The fact is, no speech, "incites," anything, it is only ideas. Only human choice results in wrong acts. Listen to the rhetoric that comes from the Middle East radical Muslims and what they are trying to incite. It produces no action. The actual terrorists are all already radical
Islamists, not individuals busy trying to feed their families who are suddenly turned into terrorists by listening to the rhetoric.

One advantage of not attempting to silence those who would make speeches advocating genocide or terrorism is, it announces who they are and what their intentions are. Better to know what they are thinking and planning than to be surprised.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm ... So we're going to have to live with a spectrum, and debates over what is "too far" are going to remain a permanent feature of the political conversation
I disagree. There is nothing to fear from the expression of any idea, no matter how loathsome, and everything to fear from anything that would silence individual opinion. It is not a political issue, it is a matter of principle not open to political debate.

By the time I was in the second grade, my mother had taught me, "sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me." As an adult I understand the principle, "acts of force can do me harm, but no words can ever hurt me," or make me, or anyone else, do anything. [The only possible exception is a verbal threat of direct or indirect physical force, in which case, a response of defense is a right one. The first rule of defense is: wherever and whenever possible, don't be there when it happens. A rule all those injured or killed in recent demonstrations neglected to their own destruction.]
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:20 pm
Sculptor wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:55 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:27 pm
Personally? No. But he gave other evil men the motive to do it,
By that rubric, Jesus is biggest mass murder in history.
Not even close. $148 million killed in the last century...more than in all the earlier wars of history combined, and yet there were no religious wars, pogroms or purges, and certainly there were never any in obedience to the teachings of Christ.

Marx, however, got all the followers he could possibly have wished in the last century...and all the corpses too.
You are, as usual, talking complete bollocks.
You are so apoplectic you even put a dollar sign at the front of your imaginary number.
LOL
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

Post by Immanuel Can »

RCSaunders wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:34 pm Guilty of what? You might be a lunatic having no idea what the words you are saying really mean or imply (and, in fact, most radicals are little waco). As much as you'd like to judge them as evil, or guilty of some great crime, unless they actually do the crime, they are only guilty of being stupid or a politician.
I see.

Well, Stalin didn't build the gulags personally, and Hitler never ran a death camp himself...so your argument is that such men are not evil, and not guilty of anything...they're just politicians?

Just checking.
Suppose I publish that speech of the radical telling people to kill a particular cultural group, explaining how to assemble bombs, tie them to oneself and wade into a crowd for maximum damage, and yelling "Workers, rise up and destroy the enemies of the revolution; you have nothing to lose but your chains, kill all the aristocrats, and let the guillotine sing." Am I now guilty, as well?
Yes. You're at the very least guilty of incitement of violence, if not also complicit in equipping the malefactors.
Should it be repressed?
Yes.
How do you decide?

That's a matter of discernment. Sometimes it's quite obvious, as when you say, "Go and kill my wife," or "When you see the infidels, put them to the sword." At other times, it's a little more difficult than that, as when you say, "Rise up and strike down our oppressors." The rest of your rhetoric would have to be parsed for us to understand what you meant by "rise up," what actions you anticipated in "striking down," and whom you were targeting as alleged "oppressors." But if the pieces all fit, that could well be an incitement to murder too.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm
For the same reason the freedom of speech means free to say anything, I believe freedom of thought means freedom to think anything.

Amphiboly. Your sentence above slides "speech" into "think." And of course we have the right to "think" anything; who could stop us? But that's not at all the same thing as saying we have a right to say everything that comes into our heads.
Isn't a hate crime distinguished from a plain-old-everyday-crime on the basis of what one was thinking when they committed the crime?
That's the "motive" element of "motive, means and opportunity." But I don't argue we should have a category called "hate crime," because "hate" is too vague a thing to identify empirically. I think that if you beat a person of colour to death on the street you should be locked up for beating a person to death...the colour of his skin being utterly irrelevant.
Freedom of thought is not, you can think it but you cannot say it.
Actually, it literally is. There is an inalienable right to think anything, but none to say everything. Words can create or induce harm to others. Thoughts cannot.
As far as so-called, "right," and, "left," are concerned, I'm apolitical, and since both are political views, I do not agree with either, and do not see that much difference between them except at the extremes.
I agree. They're actually variations of the same essential mindset.
As soon as you say, "you can say anything, except..." there is never a clear definition of the exception and it will grow to ultimately include anything that is not politically acceptable to whoever holds political power.

That is true. But it is also the tightrope we walk. Because speech acts are capable of creating evil, since they have impact on the cognitions of others.
One advantage of not attempting to silence those who would make speeches advocating genocide or terrorism is, it announces who they are and what their intentions are. Better to know what they are thinking and planning than to be surprised.
That is true. But so is the fact that vulnerable sectors of the populace can fall for propaganda. You already mentioned one such sector: children. Another is those of limited mental acumen. Another is the emotionally and psychologically unbalanced. Another is a mob in motion, which often suppresses the moral and intellectual judgments of its participants. To allow propaganda free reign is to allow them free access to those sectors. And we've seen where that leads, on the streets of cities in the US and UK lately.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:01 pm ... So we're going to have to live with a spectrum, and debates over what is "too far" are going to remain a permanent feature of the political conversation
I disagree. There is nothing to fear from the expression of any idea, no matter how loathsome, and everything to fear from anything that would silence individual opinion. It is not a political issue, it is a matter of principle not open to political debate.
Good thing nobody can close the political debate off here. It can still be debated.
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Sculptor wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:59 pm imaginary number.
Do the count yourself. It's not an imaginary number, but a conservative estimate. Very likely, the number you settle on will be higher, if you do the count honestly.

It's not hard to check. Get an encyclopedia listing the death count from the various wars and regimes of the 20th Century. The Encycolpedia of Wars is a good source.

Just total the numbers.
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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That the 20th century would have had the greatest number of causalities not only in war but also its aftermath is obvious but not because of anyone's philosophy, Marx, Nietzsche, etc., or even because of Mao, Stalin, Hitler. People weren't any more bloody-minded then or now than they were in the past. The main reason death was so rampant is because the technology of wholesale destruction was advancing rapidly in sophistication. Compare the weaponry of WW1 - already massively destructive compared to all previous wars - to that used in WW2. It would be naive to think if these technologies had been available to Romans or Greeks they wouldn't have used.

To judge the death rate of the 20th century purely in terms of numbers thereby judging it more evil than all prior periods is not only a fallacy but a complete distortion.
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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lies, damn lies, statistics...

play the percentages

-Imp
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:20 pm
RCSaunders wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:34 pm Guilty of what? You might be a lunatic having no idea what the words you are saying really mean or imply (and, in fact, most radicals are little waco). As much as you'd like to judge them as evil, or guilty of some great crime, unless they actually do the crime, they are only guilty of being stupid or a politician.
Well, Stalin didn't build the gulags personally, and Hitler never ran a death camp himself...so your argument is that such men are not evil, and not guilty of anything...they're just politicians?
No, they were rulers with all the resources of force at their command. The discussion was bout political philosopher, not political rulers. You know the difference.

I am including the following only to illustrate you really do believe in repressing the a free press and free speech.:
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:20 pm
Suppose I publish that speech of the radical telling people to kill a particular cultural group, explaining how to assemble bombs, tie them to oneself and wade into a crowd for maximum damage, and yelling "Workers, rise up and destroy the enemies of the revolution; you have nothing to lose but your chains, kill all the aristocrats, and let the guillotine sing." Am I now guilty, as well?
Yes. You're at the very least guilty of incitement of violence, if not also complicit in equipping the malefactors.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:20 pm
Should it be repressed?
Yes.
So much for freedom!
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:20 pm ... Words can create or induce harm to others. Thoughts cannot.
With the exception of using words as a means of deception (to cheat someone, for example) or as a means of slander, no words can harm anyone else in any way. Just because someone does no like what someone else says and feels bad when they hear it, it is not the words that cause the harm, but the hearer's own psychological problems. If no one is allowed to say anything that someone else might be, "hurt," by, no one is going to be able to say anything. There is always someone that will be offended by anything someone might say, and be, "hurt."

So, if someone is offended and, "hurt," by the expression of your religious views, do you think you ought to be prevented from expressing them? Of course you don't, because you know their hurt is not caused by your words, but by their views and reaction to your words.
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:20 pm
I disagree. There is nothing to fear from the expression of any idea, no matter how loathsome, and everything to fear from anything that would silence individual opinion. It is not a political issue, it is a matter of principle not open to political debate.
Good thing nobody can close the political debate off here. It can still be debated.
By, "not open to debate," I do not mean no one can debate it, I mean to debate it is self contradictory. To deny the right to say anything means some views cannot be discussed or, "debated," which is what I'm rejecting. Your the one who would repress some views thus excluding them from debate.
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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A little bit of a tangent; but I still recall Marx winning the BBC Radio 4 listener poll for the show In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg back in 2005. He won by a large margin, being voted the greatest philosopher of all time. I seem to recall voting for Socrates myself at the time. The shortlist of top contestants is at the bottom of the article. It seems that Marx's philosophy is very much alive and well in the 21st century, like it or not.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressr ... dio4.shtml
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Gary Childress wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:46 am A little bit of a tangent; but I still recall Marx winning the BBC Radio 4 listener poll for the show In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg back in 2005. He won by a large margin, being voted the greatest philosopher of all time. I seem to recall voting for Socrates myself at the time. The shortlist of top contestants is at the bottom of the article. It seems that Marx's philosophy is very much alive and well in the 21st century, like it or not.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressr ... dio4.shtml
What? No John Locke? No Thomas Reid?

Outrageous!
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Dubious wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:51 pm That the 20th century would have had the greatest number of causalities not only in war but also its aftermath is obvious but not because of anyone's philosophy, Marx, Nietzsche, etc., or even because of Mao, Stalin, Hitler. People weren't any more bloody-minded then or now than they were in the past. The main reason death was so rampant is because the technology of wholesale destruction was advancing rapidly in sophistication. Compare the weaponry of WW1 - already massively destructive compared to all previous wars - to that used in WW2. It would be naive to think if these technologies had been available to Romans or Greeks they wouldn't have used.

To judge the death rate of the 20th century purely in terms of numbers thereby judging it more evil than all prior periods is not only a fallacy but a complete distortion.
The twentieth century was the bloodiest in history, not because of death by war, as terrible as it was, but because of those that were murdered by their own governments. Between 1917 and 1987 communist regimes killed 148 million of their own citizens. The death toll of individuals murdered by all governments for the same period was 262 million. These deaths of innocent citizens had nothing to do with the 41 million killed in combat in twentieth century domestic and foreign wars, and in no way could be attribute to more sophisticated war technology. Six times as many people died at the hands of their own governments by means of systematic starvation, outright slaughter, or in prisons and forced labor camps than died as a result of battle.

The countries most involved in these government murders were: Soviet Russia, Communist China, Nazis Germany; Nationalist China, Japan, Cambodia, Turkey, Vietnam, Poland, Pakistan, North Korea, Mexico, and Yugoslavia.

All these deaths have been rigorously document. Perhaps the best source is Rudolph Rummel's exhaustive study, Death By Government. (It's a big technical book, but worth the effort. There are free online versions as well.)

No matter what your political views are, the history is factual. You owe it to yourself to find out what really happened in the twentieth century, then make your own assessment of the reasons for it.
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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RCSaunders wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:18 am
Dubious wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:51 pm That the 20th century would have had the greatest number of causalities not only in war but also its aftermath is obvious but not because of anyone's philosophy, Marx, Nietzsche, etc., or even because of Mao, Stalin, Hitler. People weren't any more bloody-minded then or now than they were in the past. The main reason death was so rampant is because the technology of wholesale destruction was advancing rapidly in sophistication. Compare the weaponry of WW1 - already massively destructive compared to all previous wars - to that used in WW2. It would be naive to think if these technologies had been available to Romans or Greeks they wouldn't have used.

To judge the death rate of the 20th century purely in terms of numbers thereby judging it more evil than all prior periods is not only a fallacy but a complete distortion.
The twentieth century was the bloodiest in history, not because of death by war, as terrible as it was, but because of those that were murdered by their own governments. Between 1917 and 1987 communist regimes killed 148 million of their own citizens. The death toll of individuals murdered by all governments for the same period was 262 million. These deaths of innocent citizens had nothing to do with the 41 million killed in combat in twentieth century domestic and foreign wars, and in no way could be attribute to more sophisticated war technology. Six times as many people died at the hands of their own governments by means of systematic starvation, outright slaughter, or in prisons and forced labor camps than died as a result of battle.

The countries most involved in these government murders were: Soviet Russia, Communist China, Nazis Germany; Nationalist China, Japan, Cambodia, Turkey, Vietnam, Poland, Pakistan, North Korea, Mexico, and Yugoslavia.

All these deaths have been rigorously document. Perhaps the best source is Rudolph Rummel's exhaustive study, Death By Government. (It's a big technical book, but worth the effort. There are free online versions as well.)

No matter what your political views are, the history is factual. You owe it to yourself to find out what really happened in the twentieth century, then make your own assessment of the reasons for it.
Yes that could be true. That thought actually did occur to me after I wrote my post though I didn't know who Rummel was. But equally true, no one really knows within a reasonable plus or minus figure the death total due to famine, disease, ethnic cleansing which took its toll as a result of war which must be added to its casualty list or the intentional starvation and mistreatment of their own populations by the communists. There are researchers who disagree with Rummel on the numbers involved but obviously they can’t be sure either. The figures mentioned by him and others are too far apart to claim anything definitive in terms of accuracy. These are all estimates which vary widely so nothing anyone says regarding these numbers can claim to have the last word.

Nevertheless, you make a good point and it could all be true even if it may not be within the numbers mentioned. One can’t forget that the mass destruction of infrastructure and the vast movement of populations have caused many more to die even after the war officially ended adding to the war dead.

I admit my post was badly expressed because it didn’t get to the point I wanted to make. So to summarize. It’s so common to want to blame Nietzsche as cause for Hitler’s action and the same with Marx regarding communist regimes. Yet neither would have allowed their philosophies to be used as justification for those crimes. Stalin didn’t need Marx and Hitler didn’t need Nietzsche to do what they did. Though I haven’t heard of Rummel before you mentioned him (thank you!), from what I’ve read he seems much too intelligent to want to blame Marx as cause for the crimes of others. It's more likely that both Nietzsche and Marx would have been executed under those regimes.
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Immanuel Can wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:23 pm
Sculptor wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:59 pm imaginary number.
Do the count yourself.
Yes, of course...

Jesus was responsible for:

1. All the wars committed by Constantine and his inheritors in the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire.
2. All mutilations and persecutions of people of other religions, by Christians. This includes witch hunts.
3. All religious wars instigated in the name of God from 100AD to the present.
4. All wars of any kind as a result of the believe in the divine right of kings.
5. All feudal disputes and claims to the thrones of Europe.
6. All deaths caused by missionary nations, either directly or by the spreading of European diseases.
7. The persecutions and the millions of military deaths in the Reformation.
8 The Crusades.
9. WW One.
10. Deaths caused by Hitler and his compact with the Vatican, including the transport and reporting of Jews.
11. ALL deaths and persecutions due to ANTISEMITISM.
12. Shall I go on....
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Re: Portrait of an American Hero

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Dubious wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:45 am It’s so common to want to blame Nietzsche as cause for Hitler’s action and the same with Marx regarding communist regimes. Yet neither would have allowed their philosophies to be used as justification for those crimes.
The problem is ideas become associated with those who teach or propagate them. You are, of course, correct that Marx, Nietzsche, Engels, and other proponents of socialist or collectivist ideas were not personally responsible for the acts of those who used those ideologies to justify their actions. I think it is just as mistaken to blame the ideas themselves for the consequence of their implementation, because I certainly understand those ideas (so have them in my head) even though I disagree with them. Just knowing an idea, or even agreeing with it causes nothing until someone chooses to use those idea to act on them or justify wrong actions.

Unfortunately, much of the worst human behavior, and the vilest of mudering tyrants have themselves claimed Marx, for example, as the basis of their ideologies, and still do to this day. Those who want to blame Marx for the horrors of totalitarian socialism, from China to Venezuela are right if they are only using, "Marx," to mean the economic and social views he taught, but wrong if they mean his actual person. It is the views he taught that are used to justify those regimes and their consequences.
Last edited by RCSaunders on Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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