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Seriously though...


lord of flies

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Okay, this has been bothering me for a while. Venom713 posted this a while back on my thread:

Yeah, pretty much. If some people didn't think Hitler or Lenin were doing what they thought was good, those two people would have NEVER gotten as far as they did and committed their crimes against humanity. To their followers, he was good. Does that mean I agree with them? Not at all. All it means is that what someone sees as good is almost always seen as bad by someone else, and vice versa.

Then I responded with:

Those "two" people? What "crimes against humanity" did Lenin commit, exactly? Overthrowing the reactionary Provisional Government which had purposefully delayed elections and failed to end the war with Germany?
I sadly never got an answer.

 

But seriously though... What crimes against humanity did Lenin commit?

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I think some people wish he had of committed crimes against humanity so that their neat little dichotomy of "communism evil, capitalism good" would be preserved.

 

But most likely he just confused Lenin with Stalin. A pretty big confusion, true.

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I think Stalin is a far better candidate for the charge of war crimes.

 

I disagree with Lenin's policies on any number of issues, but history has not judged him particularly harshly. The communist government in the Soviet Union was merely a bad idea at the outset. It took Stalin and his successors to make it truly criminal.

 

Do you have a link to the discussion, though? I've only seen your posts in the Alpha Protocol Forum and I tend to lurk rather than post there. I mean, was the thread closed or can we revive the discussion there so we have a better frame of reference for your comments?

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The communist government in the Soviet Union was merely a bad idea at the outset. It took Stalin and his successors to make it truly criminal.
Yeah, communism was a terrible idea, and Stalin's successors pursued Stalinism, right?

 

Then explain how come Russia went from the backwater of Europe to the unquestioned number two power in the world under Soviet rule. Explain why the fall of the Soviet Union coincided with a massive spike in mortality rates in Russia. Explain why Krushchev, only a few years after taking Stalin's job, made his Secret Speech wherein he decried Stalinism. You can't.

 

Do you have a link to the discussion, though? I've only seen your posts in the Alpha Protocol Forum and I tend to lurk rather than post there. I mean, was the thread closed or can we revive the discussion there so we have a better frame of reference for your comments?

It just made a comment about moral relativism (saying some people say Lenin was bad and Hitler was good) and Venom misunderstood it. It was in the Alpha Protocol forum, in my thread.

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Why did the Soviet Union fail, then? A government must provide for its citizens on one hand and be able to withstand its neighbors on the other. Going from one bad system on one hand to another bad system doesn't mean either is good. More to the point, Soviet Communism failed because it lacked the means and methods of contending against on their own turf. If there is no argument like success, failure must certainly provide some like it in reverse.

 

I've read Krushchev's speech, in translation, of course, but it seems to me that it was more a commentary on the man than the principles of Stalinism. Yes, it was surprisingly harsh, but it didn't significantly change the political landscape in the Soviet Union. ...And Krushchev himself is not exactly the best example of great Soviet leadership, either. Yes, the Soviet Union had some successes. I have no problem with conceding that point. However, it was still flawed and flawed even worse after Lenin died.

 

As far as Russia's dominance in European affairs after World War 2, I can offer World War 2. The landscape with France and Germany essentially defeated left a lot of room for Soviet elbows. Fair enough. The Japanese having taken a vicious beating in the east certainly didn't hurt the Soviet aspirations either. In the end, the Soviet Union failed nonetheless.

 

However, I have to admit that I am ideologically opposed to communism. I am opposed to it on a number of levels but mostly I am opposed to any utopian idea that suggests that man can be made inherently good and will, with sufficient education and understanding, be able to live in perfect peace with his fellow man. That is simply not true. Better education will help a man attain personal goals and thus will ease his resentment towards his neighbors, but educated people still fight other educated people. Humanity still strives against humanity. Pusue peace, to be sure, but don't believe that man is inherently peaceful. He is not.

 

Anyhow, Soviet Communism pretty much did away with those pretenses by the time Lenin consolidated his power and became rule by oligarchy. For my part, I can hate communism and socialism but have no animosity for communists or socialists.

 

I must not have been paying attention. I don't usually read the political stuff in the AP forum, but I did see some discussion going on there.

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Why did the Soviet Union fail, then? A government must provide for its citizens on one hand and be able to withstand its neighbors on the other. Going from one bad system on one hand to another bad system doesn't mean either is good. More to the point, Soviet Communism failed because it lacked the means and methods of contending against on their own turf. If there is no argument like success, failure must certainly provide some like it in reverse.
The USSR failed because its government allowed itself to become economically reliant on other (capitalist) powers, and capitalists withdraw at the slightest show of economic instability or the tiniest drop in commodity prices. Without that, the USSR faced sudden, rapid economic collapse. Imagine if your economy relied heavily on a single export... then that export suddenly dropped in value, and refused to recover. It doesn't matter whether you're a capitalist or a communist, you're pretty much ****ed. The Soviet Union achieved its greatest growth (under Stalin) when it was seeking economic isolation.

 

As far as Russia's dominance in European affairs after World War 2, I can offer World War 2. The landscape with France and Germany essentially defeated left a lot of room for Soviet elbows. Fair enough. The Japanese having taken a vicious beating in the east certainly didn't hurt the Soviet aspirations either. In the end, the Soviet Union failed nonetheless.
Firstly, the Eastern Front of WW2 was one of its most brutal. Secondly, by 1937, the Soviet Union had become the second largest industrial nation in the world. At best, one could say that Russia's dominance was based upon the downfall of colonialism, but colonial regimes are based upon raw resources, not industrial power, and the independence of India was acheived well before then.

 

However, I have to admit that I am ideologically opposed to communism. I am opposed to it on a number of levels but mostly I am opposed to any utopian idea that suggests that man can be made inherently good and will, with sufficient education and understanding, be able to live in perfect peace with his fellow man. That is simply not true. Better education will help a man attain personal goals and thus will ease his resentment towards his neighbors, but educated people still fight other educated people. Humanity still strives against humanity. Pusue peace, to be sure, but don't believe that man is inherently peaceful. He is not.
If people are so terrible, why would you assume that the takeover of human society by the whole, rather than the individual, would somehow make things worse?

 

The failure of the USSR no more means that communism is a failed ideology than the collapse of the First French Republic means that democracy is a failed ideology.

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The French Republicans were a prime example of the flawed nature of utopian ideas. ...And they were governed by utopian philosophy as contrasted to the experienc in the United States. I would argue that the French Revolution had a lot in common with the Soviet uprising. At any rate, Society as whole does step in to run things. If you're talking about communism, that's certainly different than society.

 

As regards Stalin, his first five year plan, if I recall correctly, was a smashing success. In fact, he touted it as one of the reasons that Communism was on the rise. That was the last five year plan that met goals. You can't cite a period of five to ten years as the vindication of communism. It just doesn't work.

 

The fact that the Soviet Union could not sufficiently diversify its economy (imagine that in a communist system!) is no defense at all. It's almost as if you're saying that the Soviet Union failed because it wasn't isolationist enough by saying that Stalin had it right by actually convincing the people to put in some hard work for great gains when he first instituted his five year plans. Perhaps the reason the system deteriorated is simple. The workers realized that they, as individuals, would not reap the benefit of their labor under a communist system.

 

The eastern front was brutal, but Russia (and therefore the Soviet Union) had the population and will to take advantage of a significant power vacuum created by the fall of Germany. Argue however you want, but the Soviet planning almost ended in Russian defeat. Luckily for the Soviets, the people stepped up to the plate. I greatly admire the Russian. I don't admire the Soviet Union.

 

Ultimately, you're arguing counter-factually. Yes, something different might have happened. ...But something did happen and that one thing makes far more compelling of a case than any number of theoretical things.

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I just want to pitch in that Lenin had his fair share of people butchered aswell, though nowhere near the Hitler/Stalin scale. It was the usual execution of "enemies of the revolution"/political adversaries, sending people off to 'labour' camps and so on. And there was the thing about intentionally starving a couple of thousand farmers to death.

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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I just want to pitch in that Lenin had his fair share of people butchered aswell, though nowhere near the Hitler/Stalin scale. It was the usual execution of "enemies of the revolution"/political adversaries, sending people off to 'labour' camps and so on. And there was the thing about intentionally starving a couple of thousand farmers to death.

 

It wouldn't greatly surprise me if that were true, but I find it odd that I've never heard of it before. Sources?

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I just want to pitch in that Lenin had his fair share of people butchered aswell, though nowhere near the Hitler/Stalin scale. It was the usual execution of "enemies of the revolution"/political adversaries, sending people off to 'labour' camps and so on. And there was the thing about intentionally starving a couple of thousand farmers to death.

 

It wouldn't greatly surprise me if that were true, but I find it odd that I've never heard of it before. Sources?

 

Oh, Lenin had lots of people killed just look up Red Terror. Hitler might be everyone's favorite genocidist, but Lenin isn't far behind.

 

If you don't like Wikipedia, you can also look here for a short essay. And just for lulz, I also found some numbers about the victims of the different dictatorships in the 20th Century:

 

China (PRC) 1949-87 .. 76.702 million

U.S.S.R. 1917-87 ........ 61.911 million

Colonialism ................ 50.000 million

Germany 1933-45 ....... 20.946 million (including 5.291 million Jews)

China (KMT) 1928-49 .. 10.075 million

Edited by Purkake
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China PRC numbers there are only that high because of Mao's five-year plans on agriculture... in fact, you could say the same with Stalin-era USSR. Not that that's any less devastating, but you have to consider that before directly comparing numbers against Nazi Germany and saying "that's nothing".

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China PRC numbers there are only that high because of Mao's five-year plans on agriculture... in fact, you could say the same with Stalin-era USSR. Not that that's any less devastating, but you have to consider that before directly comparing numbers against Nazi Germany and saying "that's nothing".

 

I'm not saying that's nothing, but if Nazi Germany had ~80 years, I'm sure a bunch of people would die because of starvation/not outright murder. Also, Lenin had death squads go after the farmers who didn't want to give up their stuff in the name of communism.

 

The argument here is that Lenin was also bad, not that he was better/worse than Hitler/Mao/Stalin.

Edited by Purkake
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Sorry, I didn't mean to put words in your mouth - was really speaking to the statistics.

 

You've got to wonder what Lenin might have done to 'communise' agriculture... along with difference in pay, one of the big things the soviet model really screwed up on.

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Sorry, I didn't mean to put words in your mouth - was really speaking to the statistics.

 

You've got to wonder what Lenin might have done to 'communise' agriculture... along with difference in pay, one of the big things the soviet model really screwed up on.

 

Yeah pretty much that along with old dieing leaders and stagnating technology and ideology. It was way worse in China, though.

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Lenin was a far cry from being a nice chap, like any of the communist fools that followed him. He was just overshadowed by Hitler and Stalin. I do not think that any really denies that the communist revolution brought the Soviet into the space age either. But he certainly wasn't a 'great' man, unless you hate the individual and secretly wishes for a totalitarian state to rule your ass.

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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I just want to pitch in that Lenin had his fair share of people butchered aswell, though nowhere near the Hitler/Stalin scale. It was the usual execution of "enemies of the revolution"/political adversaries, sending people off to 'labour' camps and so on. And there was the thing about intentionally starving a couple of thousand farmers to death.
Yeah, except Lenin's "political adversaries" (the Whites) had just tried to repress him and the Soviets. Of course, I'm not sure this is actually true, so...

 

The French Republicans were a prime example of the flawed nature of utopian ideas. ...And they were governed by utopian philosophy as contrasted to the experienc in the United States. I would argue that the French Revolution had a lot in common with the Soviet uprising. At any rate, Society as whole does step in to run things. If you're talking about communism, that's certainly different than society.
Hmm, yet it seemed to take two quite undeveloped and underdeveloped nations and turned them into global superpowers.

 

The fact that the Soviet Union could not sufficiently diversify its economy (imagine that in a communist system!) is no defense at all. It's almost as if you're saying that the Soviet Union failed because it wasn't isolationist enough by saying that Stalin had it right by actually convincing the people to put in some hard work for great gains when he first instituted his five year plans. Perhaps the reason the system deteriorated is simple. The workers realized that they, as individuals, would not reap the benefit of their labor under a communist system.
This is an inane idea. They would have realized that decades prior. I mean, Stalin ended paying farmers for a surplus.

 

The eastern front was brutal, but Russia (and therefore the Soviet Union) had the population and will to take advantage of a significant power vacuum created by the fall of Germany. Argue however you want, but the Soviet planning almost ended in Russian defeat. Luckily for the Soviets, the people stepped up to the plate. I greatly admire the Russian. I don't admire the Soviet Union.
Sure, Soviet planning almost ended in Russian defeat. But French planning actually ended in French defeat, but no one uses that as an argument against republicanism.

 

Lenin was a far cry from being a nice chap, like any of the communist fools that followed him. He was just overshadowed by Hitler and Stalin. I do not think that any really denies that the communist revolution brought the Soviet into the space age either. But he certainly wasn't a 'great' man, unless you hate the individual and secretly wishes for a totalitarian state to rule your ass.
Perhaps the same could be said... of all leaders? Shall I speak of Woodrow Wilson's reign of terror, his brutal suppression of anti-war elements, and his entrance into a pointless, brutal colonialist ****-waving contest? Shall I talk, instead, of FDR's decision to put ethnic Japanese in camps? Andrew Jackson's institution of the gag rule, silencing opposition to slavery? Or perhaps of Jimmy Carter's funding of Indonesian suppression in East Timor? Ronald Reagan's entire presidency? Edited by lord of flies
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As I said before, read up on Red Terror and see if it measures up to the things that the American presidents you listed did.
Hmm, a revolutionary government does some somewhat questionable things to remain in power? Perhaps you have heard of the lynching of Tories in revolutionary America, or the Reign of Terror in revolutionary France? And a few thousand civilians dead doesn't even match up to about the Mexican-American War (committed more than half a century prior, when there were much fewer people), much less the mass slaughter of civilians under US-backed dictatorships.
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As I said before, read up on Red Terror and see if it measures up to the things that the American presidents you listed did.
Hmm, a revolutionary government does some somewhat questionable things to remain in power? Perhaps you have heard of the lynching of Tories in revolutionary America, or the Reign of Terror in revolutionary France? And a few thousand civilians dead doesn't even match up to about the Mexican-American War (committed more than half a century prior, when there were much fewer people), much less the mass slaughter of civilians under US-backed dictatorships.

 

A few thousand?

 

* Executed: 50-200,000

* Died in prison or killed in revolts: 400,000

 

Some even mark the number of deaths under Lenin at 4 million.

 

From here

 

Also, this sounds interesting: (from Wikipedia)

 

At these times, there were numerous reports that Cheka interrogators employed tortures of "scarcely believable barbarity". People were tied to planks and slowly fed into furnaces; the skin was peeled off victims' hands to produce "gloves"; naked people were rolled around in barrels studded with nails; "in Kiev, cages of rats were fixed to prisoners' bodies and heated until the rats gnawed their way into the victims' intestines."

 

What are you trying to say? That Lenin was no worse than the western leaders?

Edited by Purkake
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The eastern front was brutal, but Russia (and therefore the Soviet Union) had the population and will to take advantage of a significant power vacuum created by the fall of Germany. Argue however you want, but the Soviet planning almost ended in Russian defeat. Luckily for the Soviets, the people stepped up to the plate. I greatly admire the Russian. I don't admire the Soviet Union.
Sure, Soviet planning almost ended in Russian defeat. But French planning actually ended in French defeat, but no one uses that as an argument against republicanism.

 

I'm answering this argument because I think it's your best one. :lol:

 

The problem with this thinking is that republican governments existed prior to the French Revolution and have existed afterwards. We have one example of Soviet style communism. It failed. We have tons of examples of republicanism. On the other hand, I see the French Republicans as being by and large utopian. The republican aspect of the French Revolution was not the problem. As evidence, I hold up other republics which have survived and thrived.

 

Hell, along side the US, I also hold up the United Kingdom of the time, which I count as a representative government with a monarchy as head of state. The argument regarding the United Kingdom is a trickier discussion, but that still leaves the United States. ...And the United States had a number of republicans of the French variety who were unable to take control of the government. After the Constitution was on solid ground, the utopian elements were shunted aside in favor of pragmatists. Even statesmen with utopian leanings, such as Jefferson, were pragmatists in office.

 

I would no more advocate strict democracy in which every citizen votes on every issue than I would communism or socialism. I certainly don't want monarchy, aristocracy, or warlordism either. And there are many examples of successful monarchies and oligarchies throughout history.

 

As for the rise of Russian and Chinese power, it's not like they were remote mountain villages before the 20 century. Both China and Russia have long histories as powerful entities. They have suffered humiliation and defeat as well, but they have essentially been world players for a long, long time.

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Lenin was a far cry from being a nice chap, like any of the communist fools that followed him. He was just overshadowed by Hitler and Stalin. I do not think that any really denies that the communist revolution brought the Soviet into the space age either. But he certainly wasn't a 'great' man, unless you hate the individual and secretly wishes for a totalitarian state to rule your ass.
Perhaps the same could be said... of all leaders? Shall I speak of Woodrow Wilson's reign of terror, his brutal suppression of anti-war elements, and his entrance into a pointless, brutal colonialist ****-waving contest? Shall I talk, instead, of FDR's decision to put ethnic Japanese in camps? Andrew Jackson's institution of the gag rule, silencing opposition to slavery? Or perhaps of Jimmy Carter's funding of Indonesian suppression in East Timor? Ronald Reagan's entire presidency?

 

Not really, unless you fail at numbers and in understanding the difference in accountability for abuse of power in a open society with democratic institutions, compared to a totalitarian one, where atrocities like these were instutionalized.

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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Not really, unless you fail at numbers and in understanding the difference in accountability for abuse of power in a open society with democratic institutions, compared to a totalitarian one, where atrocities like these were instutionalized.
Yes, because when a democratic society, when its leaders engage in suppression of dissent, support for vile regimes and neo-colonialism, it is much more acceptable that when it happens in a totalitarian one, right? Wrong. These were not outliers.

 

Name me a United States President, and I will tell you his crimes. Ronald Reagan? Afghanistan, the Mujahideen; Iran-Contra; supporting the terrorist Contras against the democratically-elected Sandinistas; "trickle down economics;" "Ronald Reagan speaks out against socialized medicine." George Washington passively sat by while innocent dissenters were lynched, he used the militia to put down protestors (and, of course, Indian Removal). Andrew Jackson overrode the Supreme Court, slaughtered thousands of American Indians with his Trail of Tears, and put the abolitionist cause back by a decade.

 

It is the natural course of American "democracy" (which of course never considers the opinions of its imperialized, terrorized targets) to slaughter civilians, to murder children, to torture her supposed enemies, and to suppress dissent. From her birth till her death, she shall continue these things.

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Not really, unless you fail at numbers and in understanding the difference in accountability for abuse of power in a open society with democratic institutions, compared to a totalitarian one, where atrocities like these were instutionalized.
Yes, because when a democratic society, when its leaders engage in suppression of dissent, support for vile regimes and neo-colonialism, it is much more acceptable that when it happens in a totalitarian one, right? Wrong. These were not outliers.

 

Name me a United States President, and I will tell you his crimes. Ronald Reagan? Afghanistan, the Mujahideen; Iran-Contra; supporting the terrorist Contras against the democratically-elected Sandinistas; "trickle down economics;" "Ronald Reagan speaks out against socialized medicine." George Washington passively sat by while innocent dissenters were lynched, he used the militia to put down protestors (and, of course, Indian Removal). Andrew Jackson overrode the Supreme Court, slaughtered thousands of American Indians with his Trail of Tears, and put the abolitionist cause back by a decade.

 

It is the natural course of American "democracy" (which of course never considers the opinions of its imperialized, terrorized targets) to slaughter civilians, to murder children, to torture her supposed enemies, and to suppress dissent. From her birth till her death, she shall continue these things.

 

You completely missed my point. In a democratic state, the leaders are accountable to check-and-balances(look at the possible trial of Clinton) and foremost, they are gone after their mandate period. Even still, the democratic process makes it possible for population to change the level of authority of their leader. That's why you cannot even start to compare Lenin to Reagan in any form.

 

No one is denying the Iran-contra debacle under the Reagan administration (his trickle-down economics was the reason he was elected in a democratic process, whether you agree with it or not, it shouldn't even be in the same spot as genocide) Afterall, several people under his administration were put to court and found guilty, this would've been impossible in an totalitarian state.

 

The cases of Washington and Jackson are well documented and these acts are not celebrated in any way, even or seen as a good and sound decision by anyone. However, the atrocities of Stalin and Lenin were considered as necessary evil or completely forgiven by supporters (namely marxist-leninists and stalinists), and ofcourse they were never accounted for their decisions by any court or referendum, since it was not even possible due to the system that they installed themselves.

Edited by Meshugger

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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I would like to add, that the leaders in their own eyes, did what they thought was just, which fits to the moral relavistic POW. The problem comes when they try to impose their rightoussness upon others. In one system, it is possible for the victims to seek justice for the leaders wrongdoings. In an other, there is no such thing.

 

I recommend reading Adam Smith's "The wealth of nations". He describes it better than anyone.

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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You completely missed my point. In a democratic state, the leaders are accountable to check-and-balances(look at the possible trial of Clinton) and foremost, they are gone after their mandate period. Even still, the democratic process makes it possible for population to change the level of authority of their leader. That's why you cannot even start to compare Lenin to Reagan in any form.

 

No one is denying the Iran-contra debacle under the Reagan administration (his trickle-down economics was the reason he was elected in a democratic process, whether you agree with it or not, it shouldn't even be in the same spot as genocide) Afterall, several people under his administration were put to court and found guilty, this would've been impossible in an totalitarian state.

Fall guys never exist in a totalitarian state? Anyway, you seem to be implying here that acts of genocide are somehow better if they're performed "democratically." How does that make the least bit of sense? As the old quote goes, "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."

 

Trickle-down economics is a disgusting and terrible theory that has hurt the lower class in America. It is a vicious attack on their sovereignty, and on their ability to survive and protect their children, with the sole purpose of lining the rich's pockets. Americans in the bottom 7/10th in 1992 were making less money than they were in 1979. How does that work? Trickle-down economics is how.

 

PS: Clinton? Come the **** on. A completely politicized attack is equivalent actual risk of justice? Name a president who was ever actually arrested for actual ****ing crimes. (Hint: You can't.)

 

The cases of Washington and Jackson are well documented and these acts are not celebrated in any way, even or seen as a good and sound decision by anyone. However, the atrocities of Stalin and Lenin were considered as necessary evil or completely forgiven by supporters (namely marxist-leninists and stalinists), and ofcourse they were never accounted for their decisions by any court or referendum, since it was not even possible due to the system that they installed themselves.
The crimes of US presidents are excused and pushed under the rug. How is historical revisionism better than considering an act a "necessary evil"? Both attempt to excuse terror and violence, just in different ways.
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