February 8th, 2013

The press and propaganda—and evil

Found yesterday in the comments section of the Wall Street Journal:

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” – Joseph Goebbels

Goebbels, of course, was a genius. An evil genius, but a genius nonetheless. Here are some more of his observations. When you read them, you’ll see why I consider them so apropos these days:

“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”

“That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result. It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”

And of course there’s the quote more universally known:

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. ”

In addition to these statements about the craft and use of propaganda, which was Goebbels’ field of special expertise, he had this to say about Nazi Germany. It shows remarkable and chilling prescience:

“If the day should ever come when we must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction.”


Long-time readers may remember that many years ago I wrote a 2-part series of posts about Goebbels’ wife Magda (here and here). As part of my research, I read a biography of Magda that also had quite a bit to say about her husband. Here’s an excerpt describing Goebbels and his motivation. If you don’t know much about the man, it may surprise you, because it’s somewhat counter-intuitive:

As far as one could tell, Goebbels had no beliefs at all. People still living [the book was written in 1980], who were part of his immediate circle or his household, agree absolutely about this. To him all human existence was nothing but chaos. He considered himself one of the very few intellects capable of surveying it and mastering it.

In the post, I added:

In fact, it may be that Goebbels didn’t even particularly hate Jews, at least no more than he hated the entire human race. His interest was in power, self-promotion, and persuasion, and he was a rare genius at all three, willing to do literally anything to further those causes. A short and unattractive man with a crippled leg, he—like Hitler—was a mesmerizing speaker.

Unlike most of the other Nazi leaders, Goebbels was a highly educated man with a doctorate in philosophy and literature—and in those days, a doctorate from a German university was nothing to sneeze. He almost certainly was a sociopath, however. Virtually any photo of the man conveys an ice-cold visage that emanates almost pure evil.

And evil—well, I’ll repeat a section of a post of mine on that subject:

But one of the most fundamental errors people make when judging evil is to think we understand it, when we don’t. The fact that Hitler [or Goebbels, for that matter] was most definitely a human being leads us to think that if we knew enough facts about him, we could explain the etiology of his evil…

The other fundamental error people make when judging evil is thinking it is less evil than it actually is, and more amenable to persuasion, argument, or kindness. Because those who do evil are human, we think they are subject to the same fears and doubts, loves and anxieties, concerns and scruples, as the rest of us. Perhaps when they were children they were, although in the cases of sociopaths and psychopaths the notion is that they were born lacking something we tend to call a conscience. At any rate, by the time we know about them, something quite unusual seems to be going on in their psyches.

I think of the example of Stalin who said, on hearing that his son had tried to commit suicide but had only managed to shoot himself in the stomach and live, “He can’t even shoot straight.”

People such as Stalin or Hitler or Ahmadinejad or Saddam Hussein are about power. That is the coin of their realm, and power is their mother tongue, even though they can learn to speak secondary languages in order to give the appearance of reasonableness. Do not forget that it is a facade, and do not believe that you know them.

38 Responses to “The press and propaganda—and evil”

  1. Ann Says:

    Some love letters and school essays he wrote as a young man came up for sale just last September. Reading about them, I was struck by this:

    “It’s striking how liberal minded Goebbels was at this period in his life,” Bill Panagopulos, the president of the auction house, said. “Those who study World War II history would be amazed at the way this man thought at this time; he was shy, love-struck and as close to a Marxist as you can get.”

  2. holmes Says:

    There’s something here to the Left’s fascination, and expertise, at molding language and their admiration of power. I’m not invoking Godwin’s law, but there is still a spectrum. Writer’s, the press, media, Hollywood- all are generally bastions of the left. They love to create impressions for people. Think of the “Bush lied, kids died” propaganda and how effective it was. The Right rarely is that clever. When they respond with sterile (bourgeoisie) facts, like the Swiftboat campaign, the Left immediately turned “Swiftboating” into some sort of thing, immediately raising doubts about its authenticity merely by repeating this new word they created.

    They too stand above the chaos and think they are the only ones who can bring order. I’m sure they’re not willing to go as far though. Just sure of it.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    “one of the most fundamental errors people make when judging evil is to think we understand it, when we don’t. ”

    Some people and all evil people actually do understand evil. What they understand is that doing evil is fun. That’s not hard to understand for most people, but for most people it is hard to think it and harder still to admit to themselves and others that they think it. Why? Because it is evil to think evil is fun.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    vanderleun: that’s not the kind of understanding I’m talking about.

    “Evil is fun” is one tiny aspect of it. Lots of things are fun. And evil is a lot more than fun to evildoers, although it is probably also that.

  5. George Pal Says:

    One of the modern difficulties with the concept of evil and why people are disposed to taking it too lightly is that evil has something of ordinariness to it. We understand it simply as crime – murder etc. – and everyone is well acquainted with the idea of crime. Where people fail in understanding evil is in their imagination. Everyone knows of the theater or school shooting – there is not much to imagine. But how does anyone get their mind to imagine mass graves, mounds of corpses, killing fields, industrial complexes of gas chambers and ovens for assembly line mass extermination. So evil becomes a concept that is banal, mundane.

    Then too there is the appeal to idealogy that makes people see evil for less than it is. The Left does not believe in evil as an absolute and therefore will excuse and even accept it when it is necessary. They themselves being proponents of Hobsbawm’s Law* – “If it saves but one life it’s worth the death of millions” – find themselves in a position unsuited to railing against evil as an absolute concept. Any degree of esteem for the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che demonstrates the point repeatedly. “If you want to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs” is perfectly reasonable when it’s an omelette you want and not eggs.

    *After Eric Hobsbawm, dedicated British Socialist and Marxist historian who passed from the mortal coil just this past October. When asked by Michael Ignatieff whether he would have a socialist society just as would have it if the cost of having it was 20 million dead, Hobsbawm answered simply “yes”.

  6. Sharon W Says:

    This week I read an article that stated the heirs of Goebbels are worth billions…some own a large percentage of BMW International. I haven’t checked to see if this is indeed true, but if so, it is disgusting.

  7. Lizzy Says:

    What’s so striking today is how quickly one can determine another’s viewpoint through basic word choice. While we’re all debating the same topics, and witnessing the same events, the left & the right have completely different vocabularies. This is especially clear in the media and politics, such as when someone is labeled as “anti-choice” or a policy is branded as gun “safety” vs. gun “control.”

  8. T Says:


    I was astounded that, of all the photos in you link, Goebbles is smiling in only five or six of them.

    “Because those who do evil are human, we think they are subject to the same fears and doubts, loves and anxieties, concerns and scruples, as the rest of us.”

    Once again, you have focused on the salient point with emphasis put on “concerns and scruples.”. This, IMO, seems to be the crux of the progressive approach to foreign policy; if we let our enemies know that we understand them and allow them to understand us, everyone will see that we are not so different after all.

    In fact, the ability to identify evil makes it clear that those on the dark side (truly evil, not simply those who disagree) are truly different.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Sharon W: why should we care about how much money Goebbels’ heirs have? They might be exemplary people. Should the money of all Nazis have been confiscated?

    His heirs to which you refer, by the way, are not actually his heirs, nor did the money have anything to do with him. They are the heirs of a man named Quandt, Goebbel’s wife’s previous husband (she had only one child with Quandt; the others heirs were descendents of her stepchildren with Quandt). They had nothing to do with Goebbel’s; why should they be punished?

    Magda’s ex-husband Quandt (see my links in the post above for more about her life) did make money before the war (Wiemar Republic years), during it, and after it; he certainly profited from the war. Should his heirs be barred from profiting from that profit? Whatever your answer, it has little to do with Goebbels.

    In addition, just as a weird coincidence of geography, there’s this little tidbit: the article I linked states that Harald Quandt, the son of Quandt and Magda, received a last letter from his mother describing her plans to kill herself and her children with Goebbels (which had already occurred by the time he got the letter) while Harald was an allied prisoner of war (he’d been with the Luftwaffe) in Benghazi, of all places.

  10. Sharon W Says:

    Neo…thank you for clarifying. I get your point, but in a bigger picture way, it is interesting how over time things get played out. I read a history of Henry the VIII that would support the idea that “there is nothing new under the sun”. The confiscation of property (and giving it to your supporters), the devaluing of currency, the wars paid for with more and more taxes, etc. etc. Here in Los Angeles, property values soared after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was no question in my mind that all that American taxpayer money that was sent in support of this or that program, instead stored in Swiss accounts came back to drive up prices for those that created the wealth.

  11. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Used to work with a faith-based (presbyterian) peace and wonderfulness bunch. Mentioning evil would sometimes generate scornful laughter.

  12. artfldgr Says:

    a tweaked quote:

    First, it does not represent natural outlook of most citizens. Latter are, by and large, friendly to outside world, eager for experience of it, eager to measure against it talents they are conscious of possessing, eager above all to live in peace and enjoy fruits of their own labor.

    Party line (politically correct line of thinking) only represents thesis which official propaganda machine puts forward with great skill and persistence to a public often remarkably resistant in the stronghold of its innermost thoughts.

    But Party line is binding for outlook and conduct of people who make up apparatus of power–party, secret police and Government–and it is exclusively with these that we have to deal.

    i can count a dozen times recommending and discussing the source of that…
    it continues

    At bottom of the lefts’s neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and instinctive sense of insecurity (paranoia).


    And they have learned to seek security only in patient but deadly struggle for total destruction of rival power, never in compacts and compromises with it.


    Only in their minds could a doctrine thrive which viewed economic conflicts of society as insoluble by peaceful means.


    In this dogma, with its basic altruism of purpose, they found justification for their instinctive fear


    for the dictatorship without which they did not know how to rule, for cruelties they did not dare not to inflict, for sacrifice they felt bound to demand.

    In the name of Marxism they sacrificed every single ethical value in their methods and tactics. Today they cannot dispense with it. It is fig leaf of their moral and intellectual respectability.


    This is why liberal/progressive purposes most always be solemnly clothed in trappings of Marxism, and why no one should underrate importance of dogma in their affairs.


    Thus liberal/progressive leaders are driven by necessities of their own past and present position to put forward which paints the outside world as evil, hostile and menacing, but as bearing within itself germs of creeping disease and destined to be wracked with growing internal convulsions until it is given final Coup de grace by rising power of socialism and yields to new and better world.

    none of this is new
    last quote from that source…

    In general, all liberal/progressive efforts on unofficial international plane will be negative and destructive in character, designed to tear down sources of strength beyond reach of liberal/progressive control.

    This is only in line with basic liberal/progressive instinct that there can be no compromise with rival power and that constructive work can start only when power is doming

    But behind all this will be applied insistent, unceasing pressure for penetration and command of key positions in administration and especially in police apparatus.

    The liberal/progressive regime is a police regime par excellence, reared in the dim half world of intrigue, accustomed to think primarily in terms of power.

    This should never be lost sight of in ganging liberal/progressive motives.

    to the next set of similar..

    because Goebbels was not the genius he is made out to be
    smart yes, genius no, as most of what he says was said prior
    and if you dont know the prior speakers, you think he said it
    this is a common old academic trick of those in a world where only a few even had access to such writings, or as today, so few are even interested!!!!

    so they assume that he said it…
    because they dont know he didnt…

    Dodd describes Communism as “a strange secret cult” whose goal is the destruction of Western (i.e. Christian) Civilization.

    Millions of naïve idealists (“innocents”) are tricked by its talk of helping the poor, but it cares only for power. For example, Dodd found there was no social research at party headquarters. “We are a revolutionary party, not a reform party,” she was told. (163)

    Dodd was head of the teachers union and the communist party USA.

  13. southpaw Says:

    History is filled with people like Goebbels, who have an unlimited capacity to do evil, and we are mankind is no closer to comprehending it now than we ever were. Those of us with a conscience, struggle to understand those who have none, but I don’t believe it’s possible for normal people to fully grasp the capacity to feel nothing, in the same way a person born with all their senses could imagine having none at all.
    Maybe this explains to some extent why they are invisible to the rest of us until it’s too late.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: again, I think it’s a misunderstanding of why I call him a “genius.”

    I don’t mean in the absolute literal sense, like Einstein or whomever is usually thought of as a genius for thinking of something quite new. Goebbels was a genius, not at original thought, but at synthesizing and applying the art of propaganda, and using it to further an evil regime in the modern day. He was indeed an evil genius, just as Hitler was, as the term is commonly used.

    Scroll down on this page to see definition #4 (you are using definition #1, but I’m more inclined towards #4 in my use of the word for Goebbels):

    — n , pl ( for senses 5, 6 ) -uses , genii
    1. a person with exceptional ability, esp of a highly original kind
    2. such ability or capacity: Mozart’s musical genius
    3. the distinctive spirit or creative nature of a nation, era, language, etc
    4. a person considered as exerting great influence of a certain sort: an evil genius

  15. artfldgr Says:

    dodd is very interesting if your going to study goebbles and all that propaganda stuff

    “What now became clear to me was the collusion of these two forces: the Communists with their timetable for world control, and certain mercenary forces in the free world bent on making profits from blood.” (229) School of Darkness, Dodd

    Communism is essentially a deceitful system of international elite control. It was not suppressed during the McCarthy era. Rather it morphed into the New Left, Counter Culture, Civil Rights, Anti War and Woman’s Liberation Movements, and later into a plethora of elite-sponsored NGO’s, and media, Democratic and Republican party factions, Liberal, Zionist, Labor, and Gay Rights groups. Like the CPUSA itself, these groups are controlled from the top so their memberships are unaware of being used. H Makow…

    “Rape is a violent expression of a pattern of male supremacy, an outgrowth of age-old economic, political and cultural exploitation of women by men.” from a pamphlet entitled “Woman Against Myth,” by Betty Millard published in 1948 by CPUSA

    “ideas, activists and traditions that emanated from the Communist movement of the forties and fifties continued to shape the direction of the new women’s movement of the 1960s and later.” feminist historian Kate Weigand / Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women’s Liberation

    “second-wave feminism stands as an excellent example of a 1960’s movement that blossomed from the seeds that Communist women germinated thirty years earlier.” feminist historian Kate Weigand / Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women’s Liberation

    if you take time to read the old press of the weatherman, and things like The Daily Worker… you can read about the advice on how to move forward on these things.

    ie. PROPAGANDA..

    The caption of a photo of a man with a young child read, “Families are stronger and happier if the father knows how to fix the cereal, tie the bibs and take care of the youngsters.” (127) Kate Weigand / Red Feminism: American Communism and the Making of Women’s Liberation [50 years later, a study was done and now its in the papers recenly pointing out that men who do that, get less sex, so doing that, lowers family fertility]

    In 1954 the Los Angeles branch disciplined men for “hogging discussion at club meetings, bypassing women comrades in leadership and making sex jokes degrading to women.” (94) Kate Weigand

    so as not too long, i will put up propaganda stuff
    but KEY stuff, the stuff that brought us to where we are, and that 95% dont have any idea of.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr: please see my comment above yours.

  17. artfldgr Says:

    ok… the propaganda that molded our society till we are in the place we are in… it starts after the 40s, when the cpusa was not liked due to the war, and stalin, and the spies that were caught whose name we forgot (Which is what got the public to make the cold war happen – i put his name up the other day, but new stuff was posted so i dont think people read it)

    Salt of the Earth / Pauline Kael called “Communist propaganda”, portrayed women taking a decisive role in their husbands’ labor strike. // “Against her husband’s wishes, Esperanza became a leader in the strike and for the first time forged a role for herself outside of her household… [her] political successes persuaded Ramon to accept a new model of family life.” (132 -Weigand) Portrayals of strong assertive successful women became as common in the Communist press and schools, as they are in the mass media today.

    Communist women intellectuals formalized a sophisticated Marxist analysis of the “woman question.”

    In Women’s Defense (1940) by Mary Inman
    Century of Struggle (1954) by Eleanor Flexner
    The Unfinished Revolution (1962) by Eve Merriam

    all created the man has hated women since they forced women to be women line…

    The Feminine Mystique (1963) written by naomi goldstein, a very wealthy lady who wrote for the Communist party… in fact to day you can read the details written by a leftist who wanted to tell her story, and of which she didnt want it told…

    [this is similar to the highlander school MLK, rosa parks, and lots and lots of things. like the russian fomenting of the elders of zion propaganda]

    IF you know this stuff in detail, it would explain a lot of things that most find confusing and in their confusion, do not act, but try to figure it out.

    here are some questions from makow…

    Why the ” woman’s movement” hates femininity and is obsessed with imposing a political concept like “equality” on a personal, sexual and mystical relationship.

    Why the “women’s movement” also embraces equality of race and class.

    Why they want revolution (“transformation”) and have a messianic vision of a gender-less utopia.

    Why they believe human nature is infinitely malleable and can be shaped by indoctrination (“education”) and coercion.

    Why they engage in endless, mind-numbing theorizing, doctrinal disputes and factionalism

    Why truth for them is a “social construct” defined by whomever has power, and appearances are more important than reality

    Why they reject God, nature and scientific evidence in favor of their political agenda.

    Why they don’t believe in free speech, refuse to debate, and suppress dissenting views

    Why they behave like a quasi-religious cult, or like the Red Guard.

    (anyone remember the red guard?)

    The term “politically correct” originated in the Communist Party in Russia in the 1920’s

    we even have the show confessions… where someone who was exercising their free speech gets pilloried by feminists and the left, then comes out with a confession as to their insensitivity and how they now have learned and think better…

    “rituals of denunciation and recantation”

    GOEBBELS learned from RUSSIAN communists…
    actually, the line on the big lie is in mein kampf

    The broad mass of a nation .. .will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.

    Only constant repitition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on the memory of the crowd.

    The gretaer the lie, the greater the chance that it will be believed.

    and Lenin said it before mein kampf

    “A lie told often enough becomes truth.”
    ~ Lenin, Marxist revolutionary (1870-1924)

    “Tell a lie a hundred times and it becomes the truth.”
    ~ Goebbels, 1939

    now… let me point something out
    is there feminism in russia? if you think so, ask pussy riot

    In 1980, three women in Leningrad produced ten typewritten copies of a feminist magazine called Almanach. The KGB shut down the magazine and the women were deported to West Germany.

    oh. and now that the gay movement is migrating to around the world, russia just shut down that happening in russia

    to quote kate weigand again
    “book provides evidence to support the belief that at least some Communists regarded the subversion of the gender system [in America] as an integral part of the larger fight to overturn capitalism.”(6)

    from NAtional Defense University
    Deception, Disinformation, and Strategic
    Communications: How One Interagency Group
    Made a Major Difference

    the institue of world politics
    ACTIVE MEASURES / Spring 2012· Volume I, Number 1

    woodrow wilson international center for scholars
    A Romanian INTERKIT?
    Soviet Active Measures and the Warsaw Pact “Maverick”

    library of congress

    active measures are when you create propaganda in another country purposefully.

  18. DNW Says:

    ” If you don’t know much about the man, it may surprise you, because it’s somewhat counter-intuitive …”

    It’s not counter-intuitive at all … if you have spent time, real time, trying to tease out what collectivists really believe; i.e., the particular predicates or the lack thereof, which lead them to take such an uninhibited approach to meddling with others’ lives.

    Goebbels thought the universe was ultimately chaos? All modern totalizers-in-principle have thought that. It’s their supposedly non-metaphysical metaphysics. Marx to Freud to Alex Rosenberg. Reality as it supposedly is: chaos, sprung from nothing. Reality as we experience it: as composed of fundamentally meaningless patterns reiterating and reflexively reacting until such time as they do not. Our reality a temporary and partially experienced slice of a greater unintelligible something which finally resolves to nothing.

    Consciousness an epiphenomenon; teleology a delusion; reason an instrument of appetite and appetite driven will, not an arbiter; and finally logic itself, groundless.

    I have wasted a great deal of time trying to get to the”bottom” of the collectivist mentality, to understand the deep premises which one assumes both underlie their arguments, and inform and condition that blithe conviction they have that you are theirs to manage and utilize.

    And I have found that if you talk to them long enough you find that they believe that ultimately – all their talk of community and solidarity and justice and fulfillment aside – that reality is, fundamentally, profoundly, and intrinsically meaningless.

    So what’s it matter what they paint their canvas on or what the subject matter? Reality, or the illusion of it, is theirs to create.

    Conservatives persist in using the word “evil” as if it has an agreed upon meaning. For a collectivist it’s just a word to describe a pattern that works against the grain of their will. For them, the conservative’s idea of evil is a metaphysical bankruptcy: A labeling based on the delusion that man and reason and life stand in a special relation to the universe.

    The longer I live the more profoundly impressed I am at the fact that it is a nihilistic cackle that emanates from and forms the the core of the progressive’s, or collectivists’ or totalitarian’s “being”.

    What’s odd is that it’s a discovery that you realize that you knew to be true all along, all the time you were averting your eyes politely, or maybe fearfully.

    The sight of what’s really there, or not, is both banal and profoundly disturbing.

  19. Ann Says:

    Don’t know if I have the stomach for it, but this 2004 documentary based on his diaries,The Goebbels Experiment, looks interesing.

    The full film is available on YouTube here.

  20. roc scssrs Says:

    I don’t think it’s a great idea to characterise evil people as a special set. I think it’s more a slippery slope kind of thing. They get away with one thing, it works, and they go for more. And ideologies have mass appeal– they speak to something in all of us. Lots of people became Nazis.

    I once read an interesting factoid–don’t know if its true, but: in World War I, German soldiers were automatically issued a New Testament, and a copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. One philosophy eventually won out.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    roc scssrs: boy, do I disagree with you. You might say that evildoing is a slippery slope. But there are people who are so evil they indeed are a special set, and they are very different from “normal” people who do some evil things, or who join a mass movement that does evil, such as rank and file Nazis.

    Very very VERY different, and ordinarily that difference begins with the necessary (but not sufficient) condition of being a sociopath or psychopath. But not all sociopaths go the route of evil, either.

  22. parker Says:

    I can’t define evil, but I know evil when I see it. 😉

    Actually, I can define evil very simply. Evil is any ideology that sees individuals as members of a group, not as an individual, and promotes the idea that each of us, all 6 billion, is not sovereign.

    http://tinyurl.com/bdeub9j I am the sovereign of my life and my resources, I decide what is right and what is wrong. I decide what is ethical and what is unethical. Do not tread on me. I don’t need no stinking badge.

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    “The Left does not believe in evil as an absolute and therefore will excuse and even accept it when it is necessary.”

    That’s not totally correct. The Left believes you all are evil. Their definition of who is evil, though is very different from the philosophies mainstream Americans believe in.

    The Left only looks like they are relative from other people’s viewpoint. To them, they are fighting a righteous holy war and all those who are in their path, are preventing them from achieving a utopia where everybody is great.

    Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che, and the Islamo terrorists are their allies, idols, and philosophy teachers. People might get a sense that the Left attempts to withhold judgment on these matters, because they don’t attack these people or their ideas. The thing is, what they are really doing is hiding their support for these people because they are allies of the Left. But they don’t want everyone to know about it.

    “When asked by Michael Ignatieff whether he would have a socialist society just as would have it if the cost of having it was 20 million dead, Hobsbawm answered simply “yes”

    The price that would be acceptable for a just society would be a lot more than that. While the Left are on their doomsday man made machine god marathon, there are several factions just in the US alone that believe in the total opposite, but are just as willing to pay the price necessary for their goals. Currently, people leave them alone so they just toodle around in their own life, doing what they think is best. Evil must be destroyed, no matter how many billions die in the process. The question really is, are you on the side of good or are you on the side of evil telling everyone you are good.

    “Richard Aubrey”

    Speaking privately to various Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness missionaries, they definitely do believe in the existence of evil, and Satan specifically. The Witnesses just don’t believe human power can bring about a just society, which tempers their beliefs and actions.

    “Goebbels was a genius, not at original thought, but at synthesizing and applying the art of propaganda, and using it to further an evil regime in the modern day. He was indeed an evil genius, just as Hitler was, as the term is commonly used.”

    The Japanese use the term “tensei” in much the same fashion. Not specifically restrained to Academic subjects, but to any kind of supreme talent or ability to learn things quickly, such as a musical prodigy, a martial arts genius, etc. The Western world is too enamored of intellectual capabilities, since human power comes from not merely the mind but also the imagination, the heart, the soul, and the spirit.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    Instead of defining evil, which is somewhat un productive from my pov, I instead look at patterns of behavior. People who have a choice between getting six and seeing you get six, will sometimes choose the other choice where they see you getting zero, while they get five.

    Evil, thus, is often times seen when people would have benefited more had they gone with the Good, but they went with the Evil not because it benefited them more, but it hurt you more. That was the all important criteria. That you get knocked down to ground level.

    What the Left and the Islamic culture has in common is that they often can justify human atrocities committed in the now, with future rewards in paradise. While the Left’s paradise is secular and the Islamic one is holy, it’s not particularly dissimilar in practice.

    The only reason why the Leftist alliance is still here, albeit in a morphed hierarchy, is because they are tolerated by Americans. America itself didn’t go out and crush them, the way the Left tends to crush counter revolutionaries once the Left got in power. Or the way in which Islamics crushed counter revolutionaries once the Islamics got in power.

    The question I particularly have is, at what point will the Left begin crushing the enemy (which is you and other people here), and at what point will that enemy become too weak to fight back effectively.

  25. carl in atlanta Says:

    I’ve been pondering this and asking myself whether any of the people I’ve personally encountered is/was actually “evil” in the sense being discussed here.

    So far, I think not, though I have certainly seen many people do evil things and have certainly known my share of plu-perfect a-h*les. Not in the same league at all with Goebbels and that’s a good thing because God knows the world is full of a-h*les.

    Just full of ’em.

  26. parker Says:

    There can be no doubt that the left labels all who oppose their agenda as evil. Isn’t that the essence of Goebbels’ propaganda? Are we not collectively tossed into the bag labeled bitter clinger, bible thumping, racist, sexist, Islamophobes?

  27. Mike Says:

    Hitler, Stalin, Goebbels….Obama, Democrats…..

    The difference is what, the idea that “it can’t happen here” – even when everyday and for years now we see it exactly happening here?

    Those who fail to learn their history damn the rest of us to repeating its horrible errors.

    The main function of the press as far as Obama and Democrats (both the politicians the the party faithful who vote them into office year after year) are concerned is to amass power in two general ways: 1) Achieving a group solidarity and senses of meaning, purpose and cause on the one side; and 2) a scapegoating, dehumanizing, vilification of those on the other side – so as to make it morally more palatable when they inflict whatever harm they are sure to inflict on them – they had it coming! they will say.

    So there is the evil “Tea Party”. It is never out of season to Goldstein them on TV or in the very Halls of Congress or in the Rose Garden.

    So there are the likes of Sarah Palin – the Wicked Witch of the North.

    So therefore cause after cause, champiioned by the Left as moral crusaders, while they vilify crusading. It is structurally impossible for the Left to allow Goldstein to champion the same cause. The cause does not matter the slightest iota. What matters is that the Left’s cause is righteous and the other side is sub-human.

    Our Politicians and Media are doing this and they are doing it today.

    Worse. Our very neighbors are doing this. They are doing it today.

    “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”. It has ever been thus, and so today. We are in mortal danger.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    Most people are followers, not leaders. They do as they are told. They want someone to be in charge and tell them what to do.

    You will often see this play out in small group dynamics when everyone has an idea about something that needs to be done, but will refuse to start doing it, start organizing it, start leading it. They want someone else to front for them, because it would be too bothersome to organize an event.

    Human civilization is built upon this form of social hierarchy, where 4 people form a clique, and there is a natural leader, who then commits the loyalty of his group to a greater leader that commands 100 leaders of 4. And so on and so forth, up the totem pole.

    The LEft tends to take advantage of this little issue in human affairs. It doesn’t matter if all the people doing the evil deeds aren’t evil, since it is not the tools that matter, but the brain and the leadership. The head of the dragon and serpent matters, not the tail.

  29. parker Says:

    “They want someone to be in charge and tell them what to do.”

    This is the heart and soul of the left, they do not want to be independent of the herd. The herd is everything to them. As long as they are surrounded by the herd they know they are ‘right’ with Gaia. They are incapable of independent thought. They are the ones who mindlessly, via the barrel of a gun, herd the ‘others” into the cattle cars destined to the ovens.

  30. M J R Says:

    parker, 6:53 pm — “Actually, I can define evil very simply. Evil is any ideology that sees individuals as members of a group, not as an individual, and promotes the idea that each of us, all 6 billion, is not sovereign.”

    Sez M J R, what you describe is an ^attribute^ of evil (there are others, no?) rather than a ^definition^ of evil. But who’s counting? [smile]

    parker, 8:24 pm — “This is the heart and soul of the left, they do not want to be independent of the herd. The herd is everything to them. As long as they are surrounded by the herd they know they are ‘right’ with Gaia. They are incapable of independent thought.”

    I just hope and pray that nothing analogous applies to my (our) side. ‘Cause I’ve known right-leaning people who never struck me as people who ^really^ thought for themselves, but who did have a favored world-view (rightie) and needed emotional support from other righties. Not that that’s evil [so to speak — see above [smile]], but I do not see that righties are uniformly given to independent thought.

  31. Rose Says:

    Stalin, Goebbels, Ahmadinejad…

    Ahmadinejad hasn’t yet earned his deserved place in pantheon of evil. Not for lack of trying though.A procession of Islamic leaders before him, have frankly admitted desire to wipe Israel off the map.Ahmadinejad is only the latest, but not the last of them.

    A qualified Muslim jurist,Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who doubled as president and armed forces boss of the IRI, in a patrimonial comment aimed at global Muslim community once intoned:fulfill your destiny! actively reach for the know how, the manufacture, and the means of delivering the A-Bomb.

    The Ayatollah then gave a surreal calculus reminiscent of one delivered by George C Scott’s SAC general Buck Turgidson in the movie Dr. Strangelove:

    “If Israel should attack the Muslim community using her nuclear arsenal, she may kill 50 million Muslim, 75 million tops!. The numbers favor Muslim community which will survive the trauma. But if we Muslims successfully nuke Israel only once, Israel and the Jews cannot survive the outcome, Allah Be Praised.”

    The movie and the general were fantasy. Rafsanjani then and Ahmadinejad now are reality.

    Many Americans would protest with an Awwwww, Come on!. If you are one of those Americans who chooses to laugh off the absurd scenario of a similar “Islamic bomb” attack on the great Satan USA, here is food for thought. True, we Americans can, in a blink of an eye, turn Iranian plateau into a sea of radioactive glass and true, the Mullahs are well aware of what we can do to them.But keep this in mind: The Messianic Muslim preachers would welcome that possibility.Mutual death and destruction for Muslim preachers are incentives not deterrents.


  32. thomass Says:

    I had an extended conversation, on another forum, with a student in the UK. He had been raised with idea that socialism was just social services. Something I considered a warped redefinition leaving out all the bad parts. But the funny thing, with the joke being on revisionists, even though he thought of himself of a socialist (by the doctored definition) he was still just a normal person from the UK… ‘They’ changed only the meaning of the word; not the people…

    If they teach people to call a circle something else; it didn’t change much. The problem is if people no longer see a circle (ah la 2+2=?)…

  33. Jim Kearney Says:

    It is the banal evil that can live next door looking like everyone else at the supermarket. “The People Of The Lie” as M Scott Peck called them. The Texas Cheerleader Mom who killed off her daughter’s competition so she could make the squad. And as in the book, the parents of the boy who committed suicide with a rifle, who gave their next son, as a Christmas present the very next year, the very gun that his brother used. Under a Pol Pot, or a Hitler, these “People of The Lie” are the ones who fuel the engine. The Sociopath next door. We have one of these in Office as President. And very few recognize him for who he is.

  34. parker Says:

    M J R,

    I can only speak for me, not anyone else ‘right or left’. I stand with me and mine; brothers, sister, my children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, and my close friends and a few of my neighbors. I do not look beyond this ‘clan’ for affirmation. I care not for anything that issues forth from DC, Des Moines, Sacramento, Albany, Tehran, London, Berlin, Moscow or elsewhere.

    We are islands attempting to communicate, successfully or not with other islands. Over the last 5 years it is obvious that we are no longer a republic. RIP Ben Franklin.

  35. rickl Says:

    Jim Kearney Says:
    February 8th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    It is the banal evil that can live next door looking like everyone else at the supermarket.

    As I’ve said before, it’s a sobering thought that 52% of the people I see at the supermarket would just as soon kill me and confiscate my property, and think nothing of it. It’s only fair, since I have more then they do.

  36. M J R Says:

    parker, 11:12 pm —

    I never intended that what I wrote should apply to you personally. You strike me very much as one who does his own thinking and could not care less about the herd.

    By the way, referring to “Over the last 5 years it is obvious that we are no longer a republic,” I (reluctantly) agree!

  37. Don Carlos Says:

    Jim K finally said it and added BHO to the list. I agree.

  38. Tamquam Says:

    DNW: “conviction they have that you are theirs to manage and utilize.”

    This theological insight gets to the root of it. It is the very antithesis of the “I-thou” relationship in which individuals cherish their own and each other’s uniqueness as bearers of the imago Dei.

    Demonic possession is the condition in which individuals gives themselves entirely over to being completely managed and utilized by an outside entity. Totalitarian ideologies aim for this end on an industrial scale.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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