There’s one significant difference between Putin and Hitler: I know for a fact that the negative propaganda about Putin is bullshit. Furthermore, it looks increasingly like the image of both was created by the same people.
But imagine if America managed to provoke, start and win a nuclear war with Russia, and if our descendants were reading the history books written by the winners. What do you think would be a conclusion that a rational person would end up with after being brought up on such sources? And that’s what worries me, because history books are not the only thing that is written based on the results of wars. It’s also the international borders and the international laws. Who sits in the UN security council? The winners of the last world war. Who introduced the concept of “human rights” as basis of legal doctrine? The winners of the last world war. Who controls the world reserve currency? The winners of the last world war.
And what happens if the winners of the last world war are no longer the most powerful actors on the world stage? They aren’t relinquishing their power without another world war that would reset the fault-lines of power.
That’s what I mean as world war being a social thermodynamic phenomenon: it is an artifact of entropy. When there’s too much of a difference between nominal and actual power, a sociological equivalent of a hurricane arises in order to mix up the fluids and re-establish entropy.
The problem with humans is that victors are by definition “good”. Whoever wins a world war is “good”, and whoever loses is “evil”. I listened to an Obama’s speech once, at a D-day memorial, where he stated that there was a clear line between good and evil in that war – meaning, the Americans were on the good side, the Nazis were on the evil side. But if the Nazis happened to win, there would be a similarly clear line between good and evil drawn in the history books, only with the roles reversed.
As I said, I can’t be sure about the facts regarding Hitler. Sometimes he seems very reasonable and his moves justified, and I managed to clear up a few points of contention, where his moves appeared to be irrational until I found out the facts.
Sometimes, however, he baffles me with incompetence, egomania and self-delusion. He certainly doesn’t look like either a good guy or a role model. What he does look like, is much better and far less evil than Stalin, and much better and less evil than Churchill. In any case, Stalin killed more of his own people than Hitler killed Jews. That, in itself, makes you think. Churchill, on the other hand, seems to be the prime candidate for the historical role of the instigator of the WW2, and the direct cause of the destruction of the British Empire. Basically, he hated Hitler and the rise of Germany so much, he intentionally provoked Hitler into a military conflict, which was a Pyrrhic victory for the Brits; they never recovered from the blow they sustained and their international role diminished to that of America’s vassal state. If anything, Hitler seems to have been guilty of consistently implementing Putin’s principle of “when you see that the fight is inevitable, strike first”, which makes him seem like the instigator of all conflicts of the war in Europe. But don’t get me wrong: Hitler’s racial policies were evil. They follow the principle of collective guilt, collective punishment and reduction of individual soul to irrelevance, which is the exact opposite of a spiritually-centered attitude. What I’m asking is, how was Stalin better? No, there is no good there. If you ask Scylla, Charybdis is evil, and vice versa, but that doesn’t make either of them good.
And yet, we are supposed to believe that in WW2, good triumphed over evil, and that the very fact that something resembles Hitler or the Nazis is proof that it is evil.
Hitler advocated conservation of wildlife and nature, he advocated ecology, economic growth, employment and healthy industry, and believed in positive evolutionary criteria and a glorious future. Are those things also evil? No, something is not evil just because Hitler did it. He did many good things, advocated many healthy and rational concepts. The fact that he lost the war and committed some genuinely evil deeds doesn’t warrant using him as a measure of all evil.
Before the French revolution, if you asked a man in Europe what it means to be good, he would say “to be like Christ in virtues and deeds”. Today, the answer would probably be “to be unlike Hitler”. This is a shitty answer. I don’t buy that. You can’t define an apple by saying it’s unlike a banana. You can’t define Sun by saying it’s unlike a piece of coal. That’s why Celsius scale of temperature isn’t good – because the point of water freezing just isn’t cold enough, you need the point of atoms not moving at all, you need the Kelvin scale, and Hitler is very far from being the thermodynamic zero of mankind. Furthermore, even if we managed to identify a person that is the thermodynamic zero of morality, what then? Should we define “good” as being not similar to the worst asshole who ever lived? That’s supposed to inspire people? People need to worship heroes, they need great deeds to inspire them, they need to see great and noble examples and think, “I want to be like that one day”, not see the worst possible human and say “oh, at least I’m better than that”.
You might say that comparing oneself to Jesus might set the bar too high and induce feelings of guilt and unworthiness, but so what? Being significantly less than God is certainly less depressing than being somewhat better than the worst possible scum. Besides, every time you want to measure yourself, you get to look at God.