Tuesday, May 20, 2008


History holds many examples of political philosophies that have been put into practice with varying degrees of success. Many ideologies that sounded benign in concept have left bloody ruins when put into practice. Whether this is the result of a psychological quirk or cynical political expedience, many ideologies of the past several hundred years have led to slaughter.

The unfortunate fantasy of many political visionaries is to be able to eliminate people they find inconvenient. This is not limited to the underlying philosphies of the left or right, but rather seems to grow out conviction that hardens into fanaticism. Apologists often lament the death of innocents while opining that such deaths are somehow necessary to a better future. This "break some eggs to make an omelet" approach to human life afflicts the values of utopians, communists, fascists, socialists, capitalists, religionists, and nearly everyone else who thinks with sufficient conviction that he or she knows how others must live.

The concept that some people are impediments to a better life for others led to the excesses of the French revolution, the Ukranian harvest of shame, the Cultural Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia, and places in the world to this day where some people think that a political idea justifies the death of another. The true totalitarian fantasy is to eliminate innocent people with impunity because it is justified by an intellectual abstraction.

The more we are given to tolerate these homicides, the easier it is to accept that sometimes innocent people can be sacrificed, not for some debatable greater good, but simply to satisfy our subjective wants.

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