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Hitler and Stalin, etc.

Idealist
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1/14/2015 8:02:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Why do so many people question whether dictators like these were actually effective leaders simply because they enjoyed a limited number of focused successes during their reigns? Both men were responsible for the outright slaughter of millions of people, caused long-term ruin to their nations, and yet were venerated by a large portion of their own subjects. They achieved this by managing to create a cult of personality about their persons. What I'm curious about is why so many people seem unable to see through this veil even today? Is success the greatest measure of a national leader? Is it okay for them to rob their own people to create a veneer of personal or even national ascendance? I'm asking because I've been studying this subject for a while now, and would be interested in any sincere views.
wrichcirw
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1/15/2015 4:53:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/14/2015 8:02:40 PM, Idealist wrote:
Why do so many people question whether dictators like these were actually effective leaders simply because they enjoyed a limited number of focused successes during their reigns? Both men were responsible for the outright slaughter of millions of people, caused long-term ruin to their nations, and yet were venerated by a large portion of their own subjects. They achieved this by managing to create a cult of personality about their persons.

What I'm curious about is why so many people seem unable to see through this veil even today?

Well, historically, every monarch who ever lived created a "cult of personality", so IMHO the practice is not at all abnormal.

Is success the greatest measure of a national leader?

Yes. Depends upon how you define success I guess. "Greatest good for the greatest number" sounds about right. Hitler and Stalin presided during some rather trying times for their countries. If Stalin wasn't there to defend against Hitler, would Russia be where it is today? Would Hitler even have engaged in the Holocaust (it occurred after the failure of the invasion of Russia) if not for Stalin? Would Hitler have become the leader of a united Europe, and would he have moderated his views once Germany's future was secure?

Is it okay for them to rob their own people to create a veneer of personal or even national ascendance?

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

I'm asking because I've been studying this subject for a while now, and would be interested in any sincere views.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Otokage
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1/15/2015 8:29:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/14/2015 8:02:40 PM, Idealist wrote:
Why do so many people question whether dictators like these were actually effective leaders simply because they enjoyed a limited number of focused successes during their reigns?

Because what an "effective leader" is, changes from person to person. To me, an effective leader is someone that can carry through the demands of the people he/she leads. In this sense, I believe Hitler was a poor leader, but Stalin was pretty succesful.

Both men were responsible for the outright slaughter of millions of people.

I don't think Hitler and Stalin deserve to be in the same sack. Hitler undoubtly killed millions of people. But the hypothesis that portray Stalin killing similar numbers, are simply pure spectulation.

caused long-term ruin to their nations, and yet were venerated by a large portion of their own subjects.

Again, I don't think Stalin caused long-term ruin to its nation. It is clear that Hitler did, as Germany needed sixty years to pay the economical debt left by Hitler. But I don't see such a big problem with Stalin politics (in the terms of ruining the country). Stalin industrialized Russia greatly which created wealth and became the only power comparable to United States. Problems in the URSS started long after Stalin's death, and they were a mixture of Russian leaders incompetence and USA economic attacks.

They achieved this by managing to create a cult of personality about their persons.

Honestly I think that had little to do with their success/failure.

What I'm curious about is why so many people seem unable to see through this veil even today? Is success the greatest measure of a national leader?

It is to me. Success is the greatest measure of pretty much any profession, "leader" included. But, what is considered a "success" is also something that changes from person to person.

Is it okay for them to rob their own people to create a veneer of personal or even national ascendance?

Again I think you are putting them in the same sack without evidence of them being the same.

I'm asking because I've been studying this subject for a while now, and would be interested in any sincere views.

Well that was my view. Hope it helped.
Idealist
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1/15/2015 4:33:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 4:53:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/14/2015 8:02:40 PM, Idealist wrote:
Why do so many people question whether dictators like these were actually effective leaders simply because they enjoyed a limited number of focused successes during their reigns? Both men were responsible for the outright slaughter of millions of people, caused long-term ruin to their nations, and yet were venerated by a large portion of their own subjects. They achieved this by managing to create a cult of personality about their persons.

What I'm curious about is why so many people seem unable to see through this veil even today?

Well, historically, every monarch who ever lived created a "cult of personality", so IMHO the practice is not at all abnormal.

In large part, yes, but there were many Roman emperors who achieved great success without letting their egos or lack of ethics get out of hand, know what I mean?

Is success the greatest measure of a national leader?

Yes. Depends upon how you define success I guess. "Greatest good for the greatest number" sounds about right. Hitler and Stalin presided during some rather trying times for their countries. If Stalin wasn't there to defend against Hitler, would Russia be where it is today? Would Hitler even have engaged in the Holocaust (it occurred after the failure of the invasion of Russia) if not for Stalin? Would Hitler have become the leader of a united Europe, and would he have moderated his views once Germany's future was secure?

There's always that. One man's view is seldom the same as another's. Saying "greatest good for greatest number of people" is exactly what I mean. If you kill thirty million people so that five times that number can live less strenuous lives for a generation is that the greatest good? I personally think that every person should more-or-less share the rewards as well as the costs of progress, and that a blatant lack of morality is an important factor as well. On his death-bed Lenin wrote a letter warning the Russians of Stalin's cruelty, but Stalin managed to quash it long enough to gain dictatorial control. Hindenburg hated Hitler, but Hitler managed an end-around using brutal tactics and people's own fear. I'm just wondering whether physical grandeur comes at too steep a price.

Is it okay for them to rob their own people to create a veneer of personal or even national ascendance?

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

I'm asking because I've been studying this subject for a while now, and would be interested in any sincere views.
EndarkenedRationalist
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1/15/2015 4:37:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I haven't seen anyone pretend Hitler and Stalin weren't genocidal maniacs. It's widely acknowledged that they killed (if indirectly) millions of people. Acknowledging the accomplishments they brought to their countries, such as Stalin successfully industrializing and modernizing a nation as large as Russia in a very short time, doesn't blind people to their darker actions.
wrichcirw
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1/15/2015 5:03:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 4:37:28 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:
I haven't seen anyone pretend Hitler and Stalin weren't genocidal maniacs. It's widely acknowledged that they killed (if indirectly) millions of people. Acknowledging the accomplishments they brought to their countries, such as Stalin successfully industrializing and modernizing a nation as large as Russia in a very short time, doesn't blind people to their darker actions.

Most of Stalin's alleged body count comes from successful prosecution of WWII.

Most of Hitler's alleged atrocities, especially the Final Solution, occurred AFTER the invasion of Russia failed. There's a huge difference between ghettoizing a population and exterminating it, and Hitler only crossed that line when losing the war looked inevitable. Before that, persecution of Jews resembled how blacks were lynched in America as opposed to wholesale genocide.

This is important because America ghettoized its Japanese American population. Had the war turned south for us, would we have done the same as Hitler? After all, we had taken the same initial steps. Japanese people were painted as monkeys, rats, and apes in America, too, just like how Jews were portrayed in Germany.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
Posts: 11,196
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1/15/2015 5:12:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 4:33:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 4:53:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/14/2015 8:02:40 PM, Idealist wrote:
Why do so many people question whether dictators like these were actually effective leaders simply because they enjoyed a limited number of focused successes during their reigns? Both men were responsible for the outright slaughter of millions of people, caused long-term ruin to their nations, and yet were venerated by a large portion of their own subjects. They achieved this by managing to create a cult of personality about their persons.

What I'm curious about is why so many people seem unable to see through this veil even today?

Well, historically, every monarch who ever lived created a "cult of personality", so IMHO the practice is not at all abnormal.

In large part, yes, but there were many Roman emperors who achieved great success without letting their egos or lack of ethics get out of hand, know what I mean?

Sometimes I wonder if "cult of personality" is just a label we place on rulers we dislike. I mean, I like Obama, but IMHO he most certainly has a cult of personality around him even though very few people would dare to call it such, and just about all US presidents think about their legacy before leaving office.

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

Well, the poor man is disliked because he cannot make a positive difference upon others...he lacks the means to do so. The rich man has the means, and the ones we call "eccentric" are the ones who did indeed make a positive difference...just not as much as they could have. If they didn't, we'd be calling them "cruel" or "greedy" or what not.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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1/15/2015 5:48:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 5:03:21 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 4:37:28 PM, EndarkenedRationalist wrote:

This is important because America ghettoized its Japanese American population. Had the war turned south for us, would we have done the same as Hitler? After all, we had taken the same initial steps. Japanese people were painted as monkeys, rats, and apes in America, too, just like how Jews were portrayed in Germany.

Just to ram this point home:

http://www.archives.gov...
One of the most stunning ironies in this episode of American civil liberties was articulated by an internee who, when told that the Japanese were put in those camps for their own protection, countered "If we were put there for our protection, why were the guns at the guard towers pointed inward, instead of outward?"
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Idealist
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1/15/2015 6:01:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 8:29:30 AM, Otokage wrote:
At 1/14/2015 8:02:40 PM, Idealist wrote:
Why do so many people question whether dictators like these were actually effective leaders simply because they enjoyed a limited number of focused successes during their reigns?

Because what an "effective leader" is, changes from person to person. To me, an effective leader is someone that can carry through the demands of the people he/she leads. In this sense, I believe Hitler was a poor leader, but Stalin was pretty succesful.

You really think he fulfilled the demands of his people? Stalin was so intent on industrialization that he ordered huge quantities of food to be exported for cash in the midst of some of the worst years of famine Russia ever experienced, leading to the deaths of tens of millions. He signed a pact with Hitler which helped increase the likelihood of WW2 because it enabled him to steal land and power. I'm not saying he didn't achieve some very notable things, such as making Russia a super-power for quite a while and putting the first person in space, but he practically broke the country in order to do it.

"Stalin continued his rise, ultimately coming to occupy the vacuum left by Lenin's death." (Despite the fact that Lenin opposed him.) "From this position, he methodically eliminated all opposition. He attacked Communist Party leftists first, and once they were all deposed, imprisoned, exiled, or killed, he turned to the right." ~The Real History of the Cold War by Alan Axelrod.

After that he turned on the rest of the country, first stealing the land of the peasant farmers and then that of the wealthier farmers, forming it all into collectives in order to raise cash. I agree that Stalin did much to engineer his nation's rise on the world scene, I just question whether the way he did it serves to make him a "great leader."

Both men were responsible for the outright slaughter of millions of people.

I don't think Hitler and Stalin deserve to be in the same sack. Hitler undoubtly killed millions of people. But the hypothesis that portray Stalin killing similar numbers, are simply pure spectulation.

If they are speculation then they are highly respected ones. Stalin exiled more people to Siberian gulags than any five czars before him. I've spoken to people who lived in Russia and the Soviet Bloc at the time, and what they describe sounds pretty grim. The only decent stores were reserved for foreigners and the elite. His own people were virtually slaves of the state.

caused long-term ruin to their nations, and yet were venerated by a large portion of their own subjects.

Again, I don't think Stalin caused long-term ruin to its nation. It is clear that Hitler did, as Germany needed sixty years to pay the economical debt left by Hitler. But I don't see such a big problem with Stalin politics (in the terms of ruining the country). Stalin industrialized Russia greatly which created wealth and became the only power comparable to United States. Problems in the URSS started long after Stalin's death, and they were a mixture of Russian leaders incompetence and USA economic attacks.

That's simply because he didn't lose a world war. The two men used much the same tactics with the same goals in mind. Lenin wrote a letter on his death-bed warning of Stalin's evils, but Stalin managed to suppress it until he had solidified his power. Had Trotsky become the General Secretary as Lenin suggested then things would almost certainly have been better for the Russian people.

Stalin helped foster the German attack against Russia by helping empower it to conquer Poland, which emboldened it to attack France and England. He instigated a cold war which broke the nation's economy. Most Russians existed on the brink of starvation under his rule if they managed to survive at all. It was his publicly-stated goal to conquer the entire world for communism. I just don't see how any of his limited accomplishments justifies all that, or endows him with personal greatness. His own cult-of-personality was a lie perpetrated against his own people. I don't see how that can be ignored.

They achieved this by managing to create a cult of personality about their persons.

Honestly I think that had little to do with their success/failure.

It had everything to do with their continued hold on the reins of power. For most challengers it was considered suicidal to oppose them. In both nations all other parties except for the national party were completely outlawed.

What I'm curious about is why so many people seem unable to see through this veil even today? Is success the greatest measure of a national leader?

It is to me. Success is the greatest measure of pretty much any profession, "leader" included. But, what is considered a "success" is also something that changes from person to person.

So then it's okay to pay slave wages and run sweat-shops as long as it makes you rich? Is "winning" really everything? And what does winning consist of; equal rights for all or the success of a selected few? There is no doubt that Stalin made Russia a more powerful entity, but he did it by enslaving his own people. They paid too great a price, and what did they really gain? Remember how the country collapsed at the end of the Cold War? That was caused by decades of Stalin-esque communism.

Is it okay for them to rob their own people to create a veneer of personal or even national ascendance?

Again I think you are putting them in the same sack without evidence of them being the same.

I'm not sure what you would consider evidence, but I've been studying generally accepted history. I was stationed in Europe during the cold war, just eleven miles from the communist border. I visited it once. I met lots of people who escaped from East Germany or lived in Berlin. What I've been studying only seems to confirm their stories.

I'm asking because I've been studying this subject for a while now, and would be interested in any sincere views.

Well that was my view. Hope it helped.

Thank you. It did help. I'm sorry if I sounded combative. I didn't mean to. I've been debating this subject with some friends of mine, so I'm probably a bit biased right now, lol. It's nice to see anyone take the time and effort to make a serious post on the history forum. :)
Idealist
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1/15/2015 6:25:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 5:12:05 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 4:33:59 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 4:53:06 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/14/2015 8:02:40 PM, Idealist wrote:
Why do so many people question whether dictators like these were actually effective leaders simply because they enjoyed a limited number of focused successes during their reigns? Both men were responsible for the outright slaughter of millions of people, caused long-term ruin to their nations, and yet were venerated by a large portion of their own subjects. They achieved this by managing to create a cult of personality about their persons.

What I'm curious about is why so many people seem unable to see through this veil even today?

Well, historically, every monarch who ever lived created a "cult of personality", so IMHO the practice is not at all abnormal.

In large part, yes, but there were many Roman emperors who achieved great success without letting their egos or lack of ethics get out of hand, know what I mean?

Sometimes I wonder if "cult of personality" is just a label we place on rulers we dislike. I mean, I like Obama, but IMHO he most certainly has a cult of personality around him even though very few people would dare to call it such, and just about all US presidents think about their legacy before leaving office.

That's definitely true. I think that a few, though, like Stalin, Hitler, Napolean, Genghis Khan, etc., tend to stand-out above the rest.

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

Well, the poor man is disliked because he cannot make a positive difference upon others...he lacks the means to do so. The rich man has the means, and the ones we call "eccentric" are the ones who did indeed make a positive difference...just not as much as they could have. If they didn't, we'd be calling them "cruel" or "greedy" or what not.

Come on, man, haven't you seen The Legend of Bagger Vance? lol It was the drifter caddy who taught the hero golfer the meaning of life.

I think we just put too much stock in the perception of power, and money is just that. A man who is rich today may be broke tomorrow, but would that make him less of a man? In our eyes it might, but it's just perception. If a man with nothing but an apple shares half of it with a hungry friend then he's sacrificed more than Bill Gates does in a year. Bill Gates may give more, but it's not really a sacrifice for him.
wrichcirw
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1/15/2015 6:58:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 6:25:47 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 5:12:05 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

Well, the poor man is disliked because he cannot make a positive difference upon others...he lacks the means to do so. The rich man has the means, and the ones we call "eccentric" are the ones who did indeed make a positive difference...just not as much as they could have. If they didn't, we'd be calling them "cruel" or "greedy" or what not.

Come on, man, haven't you seen The Legend of Bagger Vance? lol It was the drifter caddy who taught the hero golfer the meaning of life.

I think we just put too much stock in the perception of power, and money is just that. A man who is rich today may be broke tomorrow, but would that make him less of a man? In our eyes it might, but it's just perception. If a man with nothing but an apple shares half of it with a hungry friend then he's sacrificed more than Bill Gates does in a year. Bill Gates may give more, but it's not really a sacrifice for him.

lol, I know you've been frequenting the religion forums quite a bit lately, but IMHO the measure of being human is not sacrifice. I'll stick to "greatest good for the greatest number". Sometimes, but not often, a poor man can really do that...my statement above was a general statement ("generally speaking, poor people cannot make a difference") as opposed to stating something like "all poor people cannot make a difference".

Jesus Christ was poor for example. I think the ideology he created, divinely inspired or not, made a positive impact on countless lives. That ideology may be invoked by the cross more than anything else, but it's IMHO much more about loving your fellow man. It's not really about sacrifice...the sacrifice just shows how far Christ was willing to go to make his point.

Why isn't Christ considered "crazy"? Because he helped people.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Idealist
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1/15/2015 10:24:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 6:58:16 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:25:47 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 5:12:05 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

Well, the poor man is disliked because he cannot make a positive difference upon others...he lacks the means to do so. The rich man has the means, and the ones we call "eccentric" are the ones who did indeed make a positive difference...just not as much as they could have. If they didn't, we'd be calling them "cruel" or "greedy" or what not.

Come on, man, haven't you seen The Legend of Bagger Vance? lol It was the drifter caddy who taught the hero golfer the meaning of life.

I think we just put too much stock in the perception of power, and money is just that. A man who is rich today may be broke tomorrow, but would that make him less of a man? In our eyes it might, but it's just perception. If a man with nothing but an apple shares half of it with a hungry friend then he's sacrificed more than Bill Gates does in a year. Bill Gates may give more, but it's not really a sacrifice for him.

lol, I know you've been frequenting the religion forums quite a bit lately, but IMHO the measure of being human is not sacrifice. I'll stick to "greatest good for the greatest number". Sometimes, but not often, a poor man can really do that...my statement above was a general statement ("generally speaking, poor people cannot make a difference") as opposed to stating something like "all poor people cannot make a difference".

Jesus Christ was poor for example. I think the ideology he created, divinely inspired or not, made a positive impact on countless lives. That ideology may be invoked by the cross more than anything else, but it's IMHO much more about loving your fellow man. It's not really about sacrifice...the sacrifice just shows how far Christ was willing to go to make his point.

Why isn't Christ considered "crazy"? Because he helped people.

Precisely. Money is just a tool, and like all tools it can be used for either good or evil. A rich man can help more people, but many rich men tend to hurt them instead, even if only in the act of becoming rich. Money could be looked at like a natural gift. A poor man with a natural gift (Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi) or who is exceptionally wise and popular can make just as much difference as a man who has money. Of course, as the saying goes, if you are great at anything then money is just an accessory.
Otokage
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1/16/2015 4:09:49 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 6:01:29 PM, Idealist wrote:
You really think he fulfilled the demands of his people? Stalin was so intent on industrialization that he ordered huge quantities of food to be exported for cash in the midst of some of the worst years of famine Russia ever experienced, leading to the deaths of tens of millions.

Again I would be glad to see a source that presents those "tens of millions" deaths without doubt. I believe Stalin is too demonized not only for being a dictator, but also for being a communist, since communists are somehow super-evil people according to mainstream propaganda, but imo this same propaganda fails to explain clearly the reasons why.

He signed a pact with Hitler which helped increase the likelihood of WW2 because it enabled him to steal land and power.

I think it should be taken into account that it was an era of crisis, and every country knew war was imminent. Also remember that Russia and Germany has treaties going on from the 20s, that included very successful trade agreements that none of both wanted to break. It was in late 30s when Stalin started to stop the agreements after Hitler anti- slavs speeches and his support to Spanish fascist dictatorship, while Stalin supported Spanish free republic. Also Stalin signed a peaceful treaty with Hitler after Europe refused to sign a treaty of similar characteristics. It is natural for countries to look for allies in war, especially among nearest countries, in order to avoid war on own's territory.

As for "stealing" land to other countries. I believe that"s what everyone does in war when conquering another country, so I don"t think this makes Stalin or Hitler particularly evil.

"Stalin continued his rise, ultimately coming to occupy the vacuum left by Lenin's death." (Despite the fact that Lenin opposed him.) "From this position, he methodically eliminated all opposition. He attacked Communist Party leftists first, and once they were all deposed, imprisoned, exiled, or killed, he turned to the right." ~The Real History of the Cold War by Alan Axelrod.

I agree he killed a lot of people, but again I think the numbers aren"t near to Hitler"s.

first stealing the land of the peasant farmers and then that of the wealthier farmers

As for stealing land of farmers, I don"t think that"s really stealing. How did the farmers get the land to begin with? Did they create the land to enjoy it themselves? Or did they or their ascendants receive the land from the government in the past? Communism is not about "stealing land" but putting land at the disposition of everyone, this includes the former owner. Of course Stalin would threat/imprison/kill any peasant that refuses to share his/her land, and that"s a horrible thing I agree, I"m not trying to justify Stalin"s brutal methods.

If they are speculation then they are highly respected ones.

I"m interested on the sources you are using. Are they really so clear on the "millions of people" Stalin killed? Do they justify this numbers with sound data? There"s a pretty big consensus on how many people Hitler killed, but somehow I fail to see that consensus on Stalin.

As for the people of URSS, my father had a friend from the communist Germany. He would often say: "Everything they told us of communism was a lie, but everything they told us of capitalism was true".

Lenin wrote a letter on his death-bed warning of Stalin's evils, but Stalin managed to suppress it until he had solidified his power. Had Trotsky become the General Secretary as Lenin suggested then things would almost certainly have been better for the Russian people.

On that I agree. Although I believe Lenin and Trotsky vision of communism was a bit naive for that era.

It was his publicly-stated goal to conquer the entire world for communism.

Actually I believe "making the whole world" a communist was something much more prevalent on Trotsky discurse than on Stalins". Stalin was very isolationist and was little concerned about economic models on the rest of the world. He believed socialism was possible even if it was on just Russia, while it was Trotsky the man who said something like "we must bring the revolution to the entire planet."

His own cult-of-personality was a lie perpetrated against his own people. I don't see how that can be ignored.

No it can not be ignored. Although governments those days did rare things like the cult to the leader. We weren"t politicaly so advanced, and we haven"t advanced so much to be honest. In Spain, I still see everyday how there"s a cult for the King, and I"m sure you have heard many times how lauded is the Queen of England by british people. I despise cults to leader, but I don"t see that as a big point against them, just something that draws much attention but at the end of the day it serves for almost nothing in the political-economic field.

But as we are comparing to leaders. I believe Hitler was much more bombastic on his public appearances and acts. Stalin was clearly more austere and supposedly had a humble personality according to his biographers, very far from Hitler"s megalomaniac personality.

It had everything to do with their continued hold on the reins of power. For most challengers it was considered suicidal to oppose them. In both nations all other parties except for the national party were completely outlawed.

Sure, as in any dictatorship. And that"s horrible. Although democracy was pretty much a lie on that era. So for todays standard"s, I believe anyone would agree Stalin regime was horrendous, but if we go to the historical context, dictatorships were not such a crazy idea on that time if the alternative was a pretended democracy that only served to put citizens on a delusion of freedom and at the same time slow government affairs.

So then it's okay to pay slave wages and run sweat-shops as long as it makes you rich? Is "winning" really everything? And what does winning consist of; equal rights for all or the success of a selected few? There is no doubt that Stalin made Russia a more powerful entity, but he did it by enslaving his own people. They paid too great a price, and what did they really gain? Remember how the country collapsed at the end of the Cold War? That was caused by decades of Stalin-esque communism.

As I have said, to me the capacity of giving the followers what they demand, is the success of a leader. Stalin instituted in Russia the universal direct suffrage, the right to secret voting, the right to work, the right to rest and have free time, public healthcare (which is something even today most countries struggle to give to citizens), public education, the right of old and sick people to be looked after, and the direct elections of all government bodies.

The URSS had, from a legislative perspective, the most advanced constitution in the world, and even today"s constitutions try to copy most of the measures mentioned above. Although I accuse Stalin of not completely applying his own constitution, since the document was clearly designed for a democracy and not a dictatorship, but I believe he tried. Did Hitler grant similar rights to citizens?

As for Stalin "breakin Russia". I don"t think that"s fair. The URSS ended in late 80s/early 90s, Stalin had died 40 years ago! If anything, it is a miracle that the URSS lasted so many years after its dictator"s death, I don"t think there"s any other case in which a dictatorship lasts so much after the death of the leader.

Thank you. It did help. I'm sorry if I sounded combative.

No you didn"t sound combative! Don"t worry about that :)
wrichcirw
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1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/15/2015 10:24:04 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:58:16 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:25:47 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 5:12:05 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

Well, the poor man is disliked because he cannot make a positive difference upon others...he lacks the means to do so. The rich man has the means, and the ones we call "eccentric" are the ones who did indeed make a positive difference...just not as much as they could have. If they didn't, we'd be calling them "cruel" or "greedy" or what not.

Come on, man, haven't you seen The Legend of Bagger Vance? lol It was the drifter caddy who taught the hero golfer the meaning of life.

I think we just put too much stock in the perception of power, and money is just that. A man who is rich today may be broke tomorrow, but would that make him less of a man? In our eyes it might, but it's just perception. If a man with nothing but an apple shares half of it with a hungry friend then he's sacrificed more than Bill Gates does in a year. Bill Gates may give more, but it's not really a sacrifice for him.

lol, I know you've been frequenting the religion forums quite a bit lately, but IMHO the measure of being human is not sacrifice. I'll stick to "greatest good for the greatest number". Sometimes, but not often, a poor man can really do that...my statement above was a general statement ("generally speaking, poor people cannot make a difference") as opposed to stating something like "all poor people cannot make a difference".

Jesus Christ was poor for example. I think the ideology he created, divinely inspired or not, made a positive impact on countless lives. That ideology may be invoked by the cross more than anything else, but it's IMHO much more about loving your fellow man. It's not really about sacrifice...the sacrifice just shows how far Christ was willing to go to make his point.

Why isn't Christ considered "crazy"? Because he helped people.

Precisely. Money is just a tool, and like all tools it can be used for either good or evil. A rich man can help more people, but many rich men tend to hurt them instead, even if only in the act of becoming rich. Money could be looked at like a natural gift. A poor man with a natural gift (Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi) or who is exceptionally wise and popular can make just as much difference as a man who has money. Of course, as the saying goes, if you are great at anything then money is just an accessory.

Well, MLKJr also received a doctorate. Gandhi and Lincoln were paid lawyers before doing what they did. They were far wealthier than their contemporaries, and utilized their wealth to make a difference. Had Gandhi and Lincoln continued to be private sector lawyers, they wouldn't have made nearly as much of a difference. Even someone like Socrates was wealthier than his contemporaries...Socrates was not a slave in a society where the majority of the population were slaves.

Had none of these people died in the ways they did, would their accomplishments be any less significant? IMHO no.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
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1/16/2015 9:49:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/16/2015 4:09:49 AM, Otokage wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:01:29 PM, Idealist wrote:
You really think he fulfilled the demands of his people? Stalin was so intent on industrialization that he ordered huge quantities of food to be exported for cash in the midst of some of the worst years of famine Russia ever experienced, leading to the deaths of tens of millions.

Again I would be glad to see a source that presents those "tens of millions" deaths without doubt. I believe Stalin is too demonized not only for being a dictator, but also for being a communist, since communists are somehow super-evil people according to mainstream propaganda, but imo this same propaganda fails to explain clearly the reasons why.

The book I mentioned is a good source. Another that's online can be found at http://historyofrussia.org... There are many others.
This is a estimate made upon documents revealed in more modern times.

He signed a pact with Hitler which helped increase the likelihood of WW2 because it enabled him to steal land and power.

I think it should be taken into account that it was an era of crisis, and every country knew war was imminent. Also remember that Russia and Germany has treaties going on from the 20s, that included very successful trade agreements that none of both wanted to break. It was in late 30s when Stalin started to stop the agreements after Hitler anti- slavs speeches and his support to Spanish fascist dictatorship, while Stalin supported Spanish free republic. Also Stalin signed a peaceful treaty with Hitler after Europe refused to sign a treaty of similar characteristics. It is natural for countries to look for allies in war, especially among nearest countries, in order to avoid war on own's territory.

But war wasn't imminent before Hitler signed the pact with Stalin, allowing him to concentrate all his forces on France and England. Don't forget that in WW1 Russia fought with the Allies against Germany. As far as treaties go, France was Germany's biggest trading partner before the war. Nether Hitler nor Stalin cared much about things like that.

As for "stealing" land to other countries. I believe that"s what everyone does in war when conquering another country, so I don"t think this makes Stalin or Hitler particularly evil.

Most don't start wars for the purpose of stealing land. Stalin's pact with Hitler explicitly divided Poland between the two of them even though Poland was no threat to either.

"Stalin continued his rise, ultimately coming to occupy the vacuum left by Lenin's death." (Despite the fact that Lenin opposed him.) "From this position, he methodically eliminated all opposition. He attacked Communist Party leftists first, and once they were all deposed, imprisoned, exiled, or killed, he turned to the right." ~The Real History of the Cold War by Alan Axelrod.

I agree he killed a lot of people, but again I think the numbers aren"t near to Hitler"s.

Again, I supplied a good link, and there are many others. I only started this thread because I've been studying this subject in my college history class.

first stealing the land of the peasant farmers and then that of the wealthier farmers

As for stealing land of farmers, I don"t think that"s really stealing. How did the farmers get the land to begin with? Did they create the land to enjoy it themselves? Or did they or their ascendants receive the land from the government in the past? Communism is not about "stealing land" but putting land at the disposition of everyone, this includes the former owner. Of course Stalin would threat/imprison/kill any peasant that refuses to share his/her land, and that"s a horrible thing I agree, I"m not trying to justify Stalin"s brutal methods.

He had a very large number of them murdered or exiled. None of the rest were compensated in any way. I would say that makes it stealing. Most Americans initially got their land from the govt. Would it be okay for the government to simply take it back today, after they have occupied and developed it for so long? I'm not putting-down communism. As intended it was actually a good system. A great many literati around the world thought it was the wave of the future. But it had an Achilles' heel in that it made it too easy to consolidate power in too few hands, which lead to abuse.

If they are speculation then they are highly respected ones.

I"m interested on the sources you are using. Are they really so clear on the "millions of people" Stalin killed? Do they justify this numbers with sound data? There"s a pretty big consensus on how many people Hitler killed, but somehow I fail to see that consensus on Stalin.

I've given you the name of my class text. The professor has supplied a number of other sources. There are scores of respectable sources to be found online. There IS a lot of debate over the exact number - from three to sixty million, but twenty million is the most generally accepted by today's Russian historians. I simply split the difference.

As for the people of URSS, my father had a friend from the communist Germany. He would often say: "Everything they told us of communism was a lie, but everything they told us of capitalism was true".

I'm not a big fan of Capitalism. I think that idealistically communism is probably a better system, but it assumes that everyone involved will display fidelity, honesty and integrity, which many people fail to do. Realistically capitalism has led to more successful economies, which is why communist China and Vietnam have turned to limited capitalism to accrue national wealth.

Lenin wrote a letter on his death-bed warning of Stalin's evils, but Stalin managed to suppress it until he had solidified his power. Had Trotsky become the General Secretary as Lenin suggested then things would almost certainly have been better for the Russian people.

On that I agree. Although I believe Lenin and Trotsky vision of communism was a bit naive for that era.

It was his publicly-stated goal to conquer the entire world for communism.

Actually I believe "making the whole world" a communist was something much more prevalent on Trotsky discurse than on Stalins". Stalin was very isolationist and was little concerned about economic models on the rest of the world. He believed socialism was possible even if it was on just Russia, while it was Trotsky the man who said something like "we must bring the revolution to the entire planet."

Trotsky believed that once Russia set the example then the working classes of the world would rise-up on their own. Stalin leaned toward military conquest. I think that is the biggest difference. I don't know why you say Stalin was isolationist. He was the architect of the entire Soviet Union and became involved in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Cuba, etc. He also worked pretty hard to gain footholds in the Middle East, Africa and South America.
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1/16/2015 10:26:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/16/2015 4:09:49 AM, Otokage wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:01:29 PM, Idealist wrote:

His own cult-of-personality was a lie perpetrated against his own people. I don't see how that can be ignored.

No it can not be ignored. Although governments those days did rare things like the cult to the leader. We weren"t politicaly so advanced, and we haven"t advanced so much to be honest. In Spain, I still see everyday how there"s a cult for the King, and I"m sure you have heard many times how lauded is the Queen of England by british people. I despise cults to leader, but I don"t see that as a big point against them, just something that draws much attention but at the end of the day it serves for almost nothing in the political-economic field.

Stalin's name has become synonymous with other tyrannical leaders like Napolean, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. I really wish you would take the time to read a decent biography of his leadership years. He purged his own armed forces, killing untold numbers, simply because of his paranoia. Lenin was one of those close to him, and he saw the beast beneath Stalin's persona. He tried to warn everyone, but did so too late.

But as we are comparing to leaders. I believe Hitler was much more bombastic on his public appearances and acts. Stalin was clearly more austere and supposedly had a humble personality according to his biographers, very far from Hitler"s megalomaniac personality.

On this I more or less agree.

It had everything to do with their continued hold on the reins of power. For most challengers it was considered suicidal to oppose them. In both nations all other parties except for the national party were completely outlawed.

Sure, as in any dictatorship. And that"s horrible. Although democracy was pretty much a lie on that era. So for todays standard"s, I believe anyone would agree Stalin regime was horrendous, but if we go to the historical context, dictatorships were not such a crazy idea on that time if the alternative was a pretended democracy that only served to put citizens on a delusion of freedom and at the same time slow government affairs.

Much of our study has been based upon writings of the era, in which lengthy discussions of world events and politics were much more popular in newspapers and magazines. A lot more were based on the writing of Russian immigrants, escapees, etc. Even Russians have pretty-much disowned Stalin. The city of Stalingrad, named in his honor, has now been renamed Volgograd.

So then it's okay to pay slave wages and run sweat-shops as long as it makes you rich? Is "winning" really everything? And what does winning consist of; equal rights for all or the success of a selected few? There is no doubt that Stalin made Russia a more powerful entity, but he did it by enslaving his own people. They paid too great a price, and what did they really gain? Remember how the country collapsed at the end of the Cold War? That was caused by decades of Stalin-esque communism.

As I have said, to me the capacity of giving the followers what they demand, is the success of a leader. Stalin instituted in Russia the universal direct suffrage, the right to secret voting, the right to work, the right to rest and have free time, public healthcare (which is something even today most countries struggle to give to citizens), public education, the right of old and sick people to be looked after, and the direct elections of all government bodies.

That was almost exclusively propaganda. In reality life in the Soviet Union was very harsh, which was why the Wall of Steel was built to keep people in. Tens of thousands were killed trying to escape, not to get inside. Russia at this time was a total police state, and the very mention of the KGB or the GRU was enough strike fear in even those of higher rank or position. Communism proposed universal suffrage, but in reality it was the members of the Communist Party (a fairly small minority) who gained all the perks and power. Healthcare was touted, but virtually unobtainable unless you were a ranking party member. Education was equally exclusive. Those who were seen to be advantageous to the State were given fine educations. Those who weren't were doomed to lives as very poor and ignorant peasants. All the news was state-controlled, like practically everything. The Guardian ran an article in which the author stated, "It is lucky for many - for the world - that Stalin did not live as long as Mao. His death in Moscow 50 years ago, in circumstances that are still dubious, proved a direct and immediate benefit to large numbers of people . . . Stalin's last year, 1952, had been particularly brutal and even now the appearance of new material is shedding further light on the extremes of his regime." http://www.theguardian.com...

The URSS had, from a legislative perspective, the most advanced constitution in the world, and even today"s constitutions try to copy most of the measures mentioned above. Although I accuse Stalin of not completely applying his own constitution, since the document was clearly designed for a democracy and not a dictatorship, but I believe he tried. Did Hitler grant similar rights to citizens?

There is a big difference between words and deeds. As I said earlier, in an idealistic world communism might have been a great system. But Stalin himself was narcissistic and that caused him to brutalize a lot of people. I'm not saying Stalin was worse than Hitler. I think they were both very similar in their personalities. What I'm saying is that neither man should ever thought-of as a great leader. They both paid for their own gain with the blood and suffering of other people.

As for Stalin "breakin Russia". I don"t think that"s fair. The URSS ended in late 80s/early 90s, Stalin had died 40 years ago! If anything, it is a miracle that the URSS lasted so many years after its dictator"s death, I don"t think there"s any other case in which a dictatorship lasts so much after the death of the leader.

Stalin died in 1952. The overwhelming cult of personality he put into place certainly continue to influence other Russian leader for at least a few decades. Look how long George Washington affected US politics. Stalin's greatest "success" was that he brought Russia from a country that was mostly agricultural to one that was highly industrial, but as I said, he paid for this unimaginable death, blood and suffering. Maybe some part of him was a "necessary evil," but I think such things are best quickly buried in the past, not given a lasting status of false greatness.

Thank you. It did help. I'm sorry if I sounded combative.

No you didn"t sound combative! Don"t worry about that :)

Thanks. You've really helped me with a paper I'm working on. :)
Idealist
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1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 10:24:04 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:58:16 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:25:47 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 5:12:05 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

Well, the poor man is disliked because he cannot make a positive difference upon others...he lacks the means to do so. The rich man has the means, and the ones we call "eccentric" are the ones who did indeed make a positive difference...just not as much as they could have. If they didn't, we'd be calling them "cruel" or "greedy" or what not.

Come on, man, haven't you seen The Legend of Bagger Vance? lol It was the drifter caddy who taught the hero golfer the meaning of life.

I think we just put too much stock in the perception of power, and money is just that. A man who is rich today may be broke tomorrow, but would that make him less of a man? In our eyes it might, but it's just perception. If a man with nothing but an apple shares half of it with a hungry friend then he's sacrificed more than Bill Gates does in a year. Bill Gates may give more, but it's not really a sacrifice for him.

lol, I know you've been frequenting the religion forums quite a bit lately, but IMHO the measure of being human is not sacrifice. I'll stick to "greatest good for the greatest number". Sometimes, but not often, a poor man can really do that...my statement above was a general statement ("generally speaking, poor people cannot make a difference") as opposed to stating something like "all poor people cannot make a difference".

Jesus Christ was poor for example. I think the ideology he created, divinely inspired or not, made a positive impact on countless lives. That ideology may be invoked by the cross more than anything else, but it's IMHO much more about loving your fellow man. It's not really about sacrifice...the sacrifice just shows how far Christ was willing to go to make his point.

Why isn't Christ considered "crazy"? Because he helped people.

Precisely. Money is just a tool, and like all tools it can be used for either good or evil. A rich man can help more people, but many rich men tend to hurt them instead, even if only in the act of becoming rich. Money could be looked at like a natural gift. A poor man with a natural gift (Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi) or who is exceptionally wise and popular can make just as much difference as a man who has money. Of course, as the saying goes, if you are great at anything then money is just an accessory.

Well, MLKJr also received a doctorate. Gandhi and Lincoln were paid lawyers before doing what they did. They were far wealthier than their contemporaries, and utilized their wealth to make a difference. Had Gandhi and Lincoln continued to be private sector lawyers, they wouldn't have made nearly as much of a difference. Even someone like Socrates was wealthier than his contemporaries...Socrates was not a slave in a society where the majority of the population were slaves.

Had none of these people died in the ways they did, would their accomplishments be any less significant? IMHO no.

Ah, come on, now! What made these men great was their gifts of wisdom and oratory. Lincoln was a lawyer, yes, but in an age when being a lawyer didn't count for much. He was considered little more than a peasant by the upper class. And yes, he made huge differences before his death. Of course being assassinated is always sort of like an exclamation point for anyone who is known for his oratory. Was John F. Kennedy any better than Lincoln because the Kennedy family had money? Did he achieve any more?

Gandhi? "Gandhi preached rebellion, launched mass civil disobedience and was repeatedly jailed. When arrested, he pleaded guilty and asked for the severest punishment. In South Africa, the charge against him and his co-workers was proved by witnesses furnished by him . . . He was jailed eleven times . . . At the age of 39, he first entered a jail. He came out of the prison gates for the last time when he was 75." ~ http://www.mkgandhi.org...

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P
wrichcirw
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1/17/2015 2:16:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 10:24:04 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:58:16 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/15/2015 6:25:47 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/15/2015 5:12:05 PM, wrichcirw wrote:

This succinctly describes a monarchy, something that has been with us throughout most of human history. I'm not saying it's right, just that there is a gigantic amount of precedence.

True, but what I'm questioning is people's perception of those monarchistic leaders, not the inevitability of their periodic existence. Why is the rich man eccentric while the poor man is just plain crazy?

Well, the poor man is disliked because he cannot make a positive difference upon others...he lacks the means to do so. The rich man has the means, and the ones we call "eccentric" are the ones who did indeed make a positive difference...just not as much as they could have. If they didn't, we'd be calling them "cruel" or "greedy" or what not.

Come on, man, haven't you seen The Legend of Bagger Vance? lol It was the drifter caddy who taught the hero golfer the meaning of life.

I think we just put too much stock in the perception of power, and money is just that. A man who is rich today may be broke tomorrow, but would that make him less of a man? In our eyes it might, but it's just perception. If a man with nothing but an apple shares half of it with a hungry friend then he's sacrificed more than Bill Gates does in a year. Bill Gates may give more, but it's not really a sacrifice for him.

lol, I know you've been frequenting the religion forums quite a bit lately, but IMHO the measure of being human is not sacrifice. I'll stick to "greatest good for the greatest number". Sometimes, but not often, a poor man can really do that...my statement above was a general statement ("generally speaking, poor people cannot make a difference") as opposed to stating something like "all poor people cannot make a difference".

Jesus Christ was poor for example. I think the ideology he created, divinely inspired or not, made a positive impact on countless lives. That ideology may be invoked by the cross more than anything else, but it's IMHO much more about loving your fellow man. It's not really about sacrifice...the sacrifice just shows how far Christ was willing to go to make his point.

Why isn't Christ considered "crazy"? Because he helped people.

Precisely. Money is just a tool, and like all tools it can be used for either good or evil. A rich man can help more people, but many rich men tend to hurt them instead, even if only in the act of becoming rich. Money could be looked at like a natural gift. A poor man with a natural gift (Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi) or who is exceptionally wise and popular can make just as much difference as a man who has money. Of course, as the saying goes, if you are great at anything then money is just an accessory.

Well, MLKJr also received a doctorate. Gandhi and Lincoln were paid lawyers before doing what they did. They were far wealthier than their contemporaries, and utilized their wealth to make a difference. Had Gandhi and Lincoln continued to be private sector lawyers, they wouldn't have made nearly as much of a difference. Even someone like Socrates was wealthier than his contemporaries...Socrates was not a slave in a society where the majority of the population were slaves.

Had none of these people died in the ways they did, would their accomplishments be any less significant? IMHO no.

Ah, come on, now! What made these men great was their gifts of wisdom and oratory. Lincoln was a lawyer, yes, but in an age when being a lawyer didn't count for much. He was considered little more than a peasant by the upper class.

lol, that depends upon your definition of "upper class". There are multi-millionaires today that the 1% would similarly scoff at. That doesn't mean that those multi-millionaires lack means...it just means they don't earn half a million dollars a year.

And yes, he made huge differences before his death. Of course being assassinated is always sort of like an exclamation point for anyone who is known for his oratory. Was John F. Kennedy any better than Lincoln because the Kennedy family had money? Did he achieve any more?

That's the thing...I wouldn't say he achieved more or less. Lincoln was a war time president who won his war. People will always give him more deference because of that simple fact. What did Kennedy do with his fortune? To my knowledge, next to nothing. This puts Kennedy and Lincoln's accomplishments on more equal footing. Kennedy had means well beyond what Lincoln had but didn't care to use them to make a difference.

Gandhi? "Gandhi preached rebellion, launched mass civil disobedience and was repeatedly jailed. When arrested, he pleaded guilty and asked for the severest punishment. In South Africa, the charge against him and his co-workers was proved by witnesses furnished by him . . . He was jailed eleven times . . . At the age of 39, he first entered a jail. He came out of the prison gates for the last time when he was 75." ~ http://www.mkgandhi.org...

...which does not discount that he was wealthier than 99% of normal Indians before he did.

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

None of which discounts the fact that these philosophers were Athenian citizens and not slaves. They had means that most people did not have.

---

Anyway, this is departing from what I was hoping to talk about, Hitler and Stalin being a product of their times and not "evil". IMHO America easily could have walked the same path had circumstances been dire enough. All of the same elements were there.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
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1/17/2015 3:51:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

Oh, and BTW, Plato wrote about Socrates, his teacher, which is why Socrates is so famous even though he didn't even write anything. Plato was apparently wealthy enough to create an academy dedicated to the teachings of Socrates as recorded by Plato...without those means, it's questionable how famous Socrates would have ever become. Aristotle was Plato's pupil.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
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1/18/2015 7:25:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/17/2015 2:16:09 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:

Ah, come on, now! What made these men great was their gifts of wisdom and oratory. Lincoln was a lawyer, yes, but in an age when being a lawyer didn't count for much. He was considered little more than a peasant by the upper class.

lol, that depends upon your definition of "upper class". There are multi-millionaires today that the 1% would similarly scoff at. That doesn't mean that those multi-millionaires lack means...it just means they don't earn half a million dollars a year.

I mean even his own cabinet and many who were middle-class at best. They thought him a country bumpkin with crude manners and odd ways. He was treated a lot like the Beverly Hillbillies.

And yes, he made huge differences before his death. Of course being assassinated is always sort of like an exclamation point for anyone who is known for his oratory. Was John F. Kennedy any better than Lincoln because the Kennedy family had money? Did he achieve any more?

That's the thing...I wouldn't say he achieved more or less. Lincoln was a war time president who won his war. People will always give him more deference because of that simple fact. What did Kennedy do with his fortune? To my knowledge, next to nothing. This puts Kennedy and Lincoln's accomplishments on more equal footing. Kennedy had means well beyond what Lincoln had but didn't care to use them to make a difference.

George Bush, Sr. was a wartime president who won his war, and he led a large coalition of countries in that war, yet he wasn't re-elected. The Saudis and Kuwaitis revere him, but not Americans. Kennedy didn't use his fortune. That's my point. It was his aura and oratory which were more important than his money, which shows that money isn't necessary to being a great man or effecting great change.

Gandhi? "Gandhi preached rebellion, launched mass civil disobedience and was repeatedly jailed. When arrested, he pleaded guilty and asked for the severest punishment. In South Africa, the charge against him and his co-workers was proved by witnesses furnished by him . . . He was jailed eleven times . . . At the age of 39, he first entered a jail. He came out of the prison gates for the last time when he was 75." ~ http://www.mkgandhi.org...

...which does not discount that he was wealthier than 99% of normal Indians before he did.

Gandhi's efforts were spent "working diligently to both remove British rule from India as well as to better the lives of India's poorest classes . . .In addition to learning to live a very simple and frugal lifestyle, Gandhi discovered his life-long passion for vegetarianism." ~ http://history1900s.about.com...

He spent his first twenty years as a lawyer battling the govt on behalf of the peasants. There is no doubt he was rich, but as you just noted about Kennedy, it wasn't his wealth that made him a great man.

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

None of which discounts the fact that these philosophers were Athenian citizens and not slaves. They had means that most people did not have.

I'm a middle-class American citizen. I was offered an education at West Point because of my military entrance scores and my physical performance during training. Yet I certainly am not a great man. I will freely concede that in some instances becoming "great" is dependent on almost sheer luck, but the point I'm making is that it doesn't take money. Money can help you buy a reputation, but it's less likely to help you earn one.

Anyway, this is departing from what I was hoping to talk about, Hitler and Stalin being a product of their times and not "evil". IMHO America easily could have walked the same path had circumstances been dire enough. All of the same elements were there.

That's what I was more interested in, too, but I do think they were bad men, if not outright evil. Most of those who knew them considered them evil. They lived within a cult of fear where everyone was afraid to oppose them. One pretty good way to judge a man's character is to deduce whether his power was based on fear or whether it was based on respect.
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1/18/2015 7:42:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/17/2015 3:51:14 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

Oh, and BTW, Plato wrote about Socrates, his teacher, which is why Socrates is so famous even though he didn't even write anything. Plato was apparently wealthy enough to create an academy dedicated to the teachings of Socrates as recorded by Plato...without those means, it's questionable how famous Socrates would have ever become. Aristotle was Plato's pupil.

"Plato was about twenty-five when Socrates was tried and executed. It does not follow, however, that Plato represented the views and methods of Socrates (or anyone, for that matter) as he recalled them, much less as they were originally uttered. The truly great philosophers, and Plato was one of them, are still capable of becoming our companions in philosophical conversation, our dialectical partners. " ~ http://plato.stanford.edu...

It is true that Plato wrote a lot about Socrates, which is fortunate for us because no one else was willing to take the risk after the way Socrates died, but he also contributed he own wealth of philosophy and developed into a constructive philosopher in his own right. :)
wrichcirw
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1/18/2015 7:44:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:42:33 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/17/2015 3:51:14 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

Oh, and BTW, Plato wrote about Socrates, his teacher, which is why Socrates is so famous even though he didn't even write anything. Plato was apparently wealthy enough to create an academy dedicated to the teachings of Socrates as recorded by Plato...without those means, it's questionable how famous Socrates would have ever become. Aristotle was Plato's pupil.

"Plato was about twenty-five when Socrates was tried and executed. It does not follow, however, that Plato represented the views and methods of Socrates (or anyone, for that matter) as he recalled them, much less as they were originally uttered. The truly great philosophers, and Plato was one of them, are still capable of becoming our companions in philosophical conversation, our dialectical partners. " ~ http://plato.stanford.edu...

It is true that Plato wrote a lot about Socrates, which is fortunate for us because no one else was willing to take the risk after the way Socrates died, but he also contributed he own wealth of philosophy and developed into a constructive philosopher in his own right. :)

Well, the point is that Socrates was a man of means compared to most Athenians. Athens during his time had a majority slave population.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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1/18/2015 7:44:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:25:51 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/17/2015 2:16:09 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:

Ah, come on, now! What made these men great was their gifts of wisdom and oratory. Lincoln was a lawyer, yes, but in an age when being a lawyer didn't count for much. He was considered little more than a peasant by the upper class.

lol, that depends upon your definition of "upper class". There are multi-millionaires today that the 1% would similarly scoff at. That doesn't mean that those multi-millionaires lack means...it just means they don't earn half a million dollars a year.

I mean even his own cabinet and many who were middle-class at best. They thought him a country bumpkin with crude manners and odd ways. He was treated a lot like the Beverly Hillbillies.

Lincoln was quite the exception, I'll give you that.

And yes, he made huge differences before his death. Of course being assassinated is always sort of like an exclamation point for anyone who is known for his oratory. Was John F. Kennedy any better than Lincoln because the Kennedy family had money? Did he achieve any more?

That's the thing...I wouldn't say he achieved more or less. Lincoln was a war time president who won his war. People will always give him more deference because of that simple fact. What did Kennedy do with his fortune? To my knowledge, next to nothing. This puts Kennedy and Lincoln's accomplishments on more equal footing. Kennedy had means well beyond what Lincoln had but didn't care to use them to make a difference.

George Bush, Sr. was a wartime president who won his war, and he led a large coalition of countries in that war, yet he wasn't re-elected. The Saudis and Kuwaitis revere him, but not Americans. Kennedy didn't use his fortune. That's my point. It was his aura and oratory which were more important than his money, which shows that money isn't necessary to being a great man or effecting great change.

Ok, the point here is that none of these POTUSs used their wealth to make a difference, so whether or not a POTUS was wealthy or not didn't contribute to whether or not they have a higher standing.

Basically, did they set up a foundation? Fund a cure for cancer? etc... You can't do that if you're poor.

Gandhi's efforts were spent "working diligently to both remove British rule from India as well as to better the lives of India's poorest classes . . .In addition to learning to live a very simple and frugal lifestyle, Gandhi discovered his life-long passion for vegetarianism." ~ http://history1900s.about.com...

He spent his first twenty years as a lawyer battling the govt on behalf of the peasants. There is no doubt he was rich, but as you just noted about Kennedy, it wasn't his wealth that made him a great man.

Well yes, but it was his wealth that gave him a perspective on how to be great. He had the education and the means to educate himself on the overarching aspects of Indian self-rule.

None of which discounts the fact that these philosophers were Athenian citizens and not slaves. They had means that most people did not have.

I'm a middle-class American citizen. I was offered an education at West Point because of my military entrance scores and my physical performance during training. Yet I certainly am not a great man. I will freely concede that in some instances becoming "great" is dependent on almost sheer luck, but the point I'm making is that it doesn't take money. Money can help you buy a reputation, but it's less likely to help you earn one.

Sure, we can agree on this. Just that if you had the money, it would make things a lot easier, wouldn't it? You'd have the means to get that reputation even if you didn't work for it.

Anyway, this is departing from what I was hoping to talk about, Hitler and Stalin being a product of their times and not "evil". IMHO America easily could have walked the same path had circumstances been dire enough. All of the same elements were there.

That's what I was more interested in, too, but I do think they were bad men, if not outright evil. Most of those who knew them considered them evil. They lived within a cult of fear where everyone was afraid to oppose them. One pretty good way to judge a man's character is to deduce whether his power was based on fear or whether it was based on respect.

I really think this inclination is a product of circumstance that stems from security provision. I mean, we're very lucky that we have two oceans that have protected us from the worst of Eurasian wars...but for the old country, no such luck.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
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1/18/2015 7:48:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:44:04 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:42:33 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/17/2015 3:51:14 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

Oh, and BTW, Plato wrote about Socrates, his teacher, which is why Socrates is so famous even though he didn't even write anything. Plato was apparently wealthy enough to create an academy dedicated to the teachings of Socrates as recorded by Plato...without those means, it's questionable how famous Socrates would have ever become. Aristotle was Plato's pupil.

"Plato was about twenty-five when Socrates was tried and executed. It does not follow, however, that Plato represented the views and methods of Socrates (or anyone, for that matter) as he recalled them, much less as they were originally uttered. The truly great philosophers, and Plato was one of them, are still capable of becoming our companions in philosophical conversation, our dialectical partners. " ~ http://plato.stanford.edu...

It is true that Plato wrote a lot about Socrates, which is fortunate for us because no one else was willing to take the risk after the way Socrates died, but he also contributed he own wealth of philosophy and developed into a constructive philosopher in his own right. :)

Well, the point is that Socrates was a man of means compared to most Athenians. Athens during his time had a majority slave population.

I will gladly concede that point. I just don't think it was his wealth that made him great.
wrichcirw
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1/18/2015 7:52:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:48:27 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:44:04 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:42:33 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/17/2015 3:51:14 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

Oh, and BTW, Plato wrote about Socrates, his teacher, which is why Socrates is so famous even though he didn't even write anything. Plato was apparently wealthy enough to create an academy dedicated to the teachings of Socrates as recorded by Plato...without those means, it's questionable how famous Socrates would have ever become. Aristotle was Plato's pupil.

"Plato was about twenty-five when Socrates was tried and executed. It does not follow, however, that Plato represented the views and methods of Socrates (or anyone, for that matter) as he recalled them, much less as they were originally uttered. The truly great philosophers, and Plato was one of them, are still capable of becoming our companions in philosophical conversation, our dialectical partners. " ~ http://plato.stanford.edu...

It is true that Plato wrote a lot about Socrates, which is fortunate for us because no one else was willing to take the risk after the way Socrates died, but he also contributed he own wealth of philosophy and developed into a constructive philosopher in his own right. :)

Well, the point is that Socrates was a man of means compared to most Athenians. Athens during his time had a majority slave population.

I will gladly concede that point. I just don't think it was his wealth that made him great.

But what if he didn't have it? That's the point I'm making. You have to have the means to make a difference, and someone that couldn't afford a basic education, for example, will only be able to make a very limited difference.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Idealist
Posts: 2,520
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1/18/2015 8:00:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:44:32 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:25:51 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/17/2015 2:16:09 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:

Ah, come on, now! What made these men great was their gifts of wisdom and oratory. Lincoln was a lawyer, yes, but in an age when being a lawyer didn't count for much. He was considered little more than a peasant by the upper class.

lol, that depends upon your definition of "upper class". There are multi-millionaires today that the 1% would similarly scoff at. That doesn't mean that those multi-millionaires lack means...it just means they don't earn half a million dollars a year.

I mean even his own cabinet and many who were middle-class at best. They thought him a country bumpkin with crude manners and odd ways. He was treated a lot like the Beverly Hillbillies.

Lincoln was quite the exception, I'll give you that.

And yes, he made huge differences before his death. Of course being assassinated is always sort of like an exclamation point for anyone who is known for his oratory. Was John F. Kennedy any better than Lincoln because the Kennedy family had money? Did he achieve any more?

That's the thing...I wouldn't say he achieved more or less. Lincoln was a war time president who won his war. People will always give him more deference because of that simple fact. What did Kennedy do with his fortune? To my knowledge, next to nothing. This puts Kennedy and Lincoln's accomplishments on more equal footing. Kennedy had means well beyond what Lincoln had but didn't care to use them to make a difference.

George Bush, Sr. was a wartime president who won his war, and he led a large coalition of countries in that war, yet he wasn't re-elected. The Saudis and Kuwaitis revere him, but not Americans. Kennedy didn't use his fortune. That's my point. It was his aura and oratory which were more important than his money, which shows that money isn't necessary to being a great man or effecting great change.

Ok, the point here is that none of these POTUSs used their wealth to make a difference, so whether or not a POTUS was wealthy or not didn't contribute to whether or not they have a higher standing.

I think we may be a step apart here. My point was that each contained a physical characteristic which one could refer to as great, and not weren't merely blessed by wealth.

Basically, did they set up a foundation? Fund a cure for cancer? etc... You can't do that if you're poor.

Plenty of poor people start foundations. Remember the show "America's Most Wanted"? It has resulted in the capture of countless dangerous criminals, and was begun by a foundation that was started by one of the victims. Now the way he has acted since then leaves a bit to be desired, but anyone with the ability to promote a worthy cause can bring-in money. Donations in America alone fund thousands of different foundations.

Gandhi's efforts were spent "working diligently to both remove British rule from India as well as to better the lives of India's poorest classes . . .In addition to learning to live a very simple and frugal lifestyle, Gandhi discovered his life-long passion for vegetarianism." ~ http://history1900s.about.com...

He spent his first twenty years as a lawyer battling the govt on behalf of the peasants. There is no doubt he was rich, but as you just noted about Kennedy, it wasn't his wealth that made him a great man.

Well yes, but it was his wealth that gave him a perspective on how to be great. He had the education and the means to educate himself on the overarching aspects of Indian self-rule.

Why didn't he just enjoy his wealth instead of spending all those decades in prison and becoming an outcast from his own social class? To me that's what made him great, his ability to see that all humans have value.

None of which discounts the fact that these philosophers were Athenian citizens and not slaves. They had means that most people did not have.

I'm a middle-class American citizen. I was offered an education at West Point because of my military entrance scores and my physical performance during training. Yet I certainly am not a great man. I will freely concede that in some instances becoming "great" is dependent on almost sheer luck, but the point I'm making is that it doesn't take money. Money can help you buy a reputation, but it's less likely to help you earn one.

Sure, we can agree on this. Just that if you had the money, it would make things a lot easier, wouldn't it? You'd have the means to get that reputation even if you didn't work for it.

Oh, of course money can make things easier if you are already inclined to promote something great. It's just that money alone doesn't seem to sway many people in that direction. If it did then we'd have a lot fewer problems in the world. I think the dream is more valuable than the assets.

Anyway, this is departing from what I was hoping to talk about, Hitler and Stalin being a product of their times and not "evil". IMHO America easily could have walked the same path had circumstances been dire enough. All of the same elements were there.

That's what I was more interested in, too, but I do think they were bad men, if not outright evil. Most of those who knew them considered them evil. They lived within a cult of fear where everyone was afraid to oppose them. One pretty good way to judge a man's character is to deduce whether his power was based on fear or whether it was based on respect.

I really think this inclination is a product of circumstance that stems from security provision. I mean, we're very lucky that we have two oceans that have protected us from the worst of Eurasian wars...but for the old country, no such luck.

I can agree with that to some extent, but to build a wall fencing people in instead of out? That says a lot all by itself.
Idealist
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1/18/2015 8:04:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 7:52:50 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:48:27 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:44:04 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:42:33 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/17/2015 3:51:14 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/16/2015 4:21:02 AM, wrichcirw wrote:

Aristotle? He was forced to drink poison and died in public humility. What about his student, Plato? Is he less known or appreciated because that didn't happen to him? :P

Oh, and BTW, Plato wrote about Socrates, his teacher, which is why Socrates is so famous even though he didn't even write anything. Plato was apparently wealthy enough to create an academy dedicated to the teachings of Socrates as recorded by Plato...without those means, it's questionable how famous Socrates would have ever become. Aristotle was Plato's pupil.

"Plato was about twenty-five when Socrates was tried and executed. It does not follow, however, that Plato represented the views and methods of Socrates (or anyone, for that matter) as he recalled them, much less as they were originally uttered. The truly great philosophers, and Plato was one of them, are still capable of becoming our companions in philosophical conversation, our dialectical partners. " ~ http://plato.stanford.edu...

It is true that Plato wrote a lot about Socrates, which is fortunate for us because no one else was willing to take the risk after the way Socrates died, but he also contributed he own wealth of philosophy and developed into a constructive philosopher in his own right. :)

Well, the point is that Socrates was a man of means compared to most Athenians. Athens during his time had a majority slave population.

I will gladly concede that point. I just don't think it was his wealth that made him great.

But what if he didn't have it? That's the point I'm making. You have to have the means to make a difference, and someone that couldn't afford a basic education, for example, will only be able to make a very limited difference.

Lincoln began as a very poor man. His family wasn't wealthy, and he didn't earn any scholarships. Even Aristotle didn't have great wealth. Maybe we're both arguing too much to opposite extremes? I just really believe that greatness is something which comes from inside. Even to be a great parent or a great friend is a wonderful thing. :)
wrichcirw
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1/18/2015 8:09:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 8:00:10 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:44:32 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 7:25:51 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 1/17/2015 2:16:09 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/16/2015 10:37:14 PM, Idealist wrote:

Ah, come on, now! What made these men great was their gifts of wisdom and oratory. Lincoln was a lawyer, yes, but in an age when being a lawyer didn't count for much. He was considered little more than a peasant by the upper class.

lol, that depends upon your definition of "upper class". There are multi-millionaires today that the 1% would similarly scoff at. That doesn't mean that those multi-millionaires lack means...it just means they don't earn half a million dollars a year.

I mean even his own cabinet and many who were middle-class at best. They thought him a country bumpkin with crude manners and odd ways. He was treated a lot like the Beverly Hillbillies.

Lincoln was quite the exception, I'll give you that.

And yes, he made huge differences before his death. Of course being assassinated is always sort of like an exclamation point for anyone who is known for his oratory. Was John F. Kennedy any better than Lincoln because the Kennedy family had money? Did he achieve any more?

That's the thing...I wouldn't say he achieved more or less. Lincoln was a war time president who won his war. People will always give him more deference because of that simple fact. What did Kennedy do with his fortune? To my knowledge, next to nothing. This puts Kennedy and Lincoln's accomplishments on more equal footing. Kennedy had means well beyond what Lincoln had but didn't care to use them to make a difference.

George Bush, Sr. was a wartime president who won his war, and he led a large coalition of countries in that war, yet he wasn't re-elected. The Saudis and Kuwaitis revere him, but not Americans. Kennedy didn't use his fortune. That's my point. It was his aura and oratory which were more important than his money, which shows that money isn't necessary to being a great man or effecting great change.

Ok, the point here is that none of these POTUSs used their wealth to make a difference, so whether or not a POTUS was wealthy or not didn't contribute to whether or not they have a higher standing.

I think we may be a step apart here. My point was that each contained a physical characteristic which one could refer to as great, and not weren't merely blessed by wealth.

Basically, did they set up a foundation? Fund a cure for cancer? etc... You can't do that if you're poor.

Plenty of poor people start foundations. Remember the show "America's Most Wanted"? It has resulted in the capture of countless dangerous criminals, and was begun by a foundation that was started by one of the victims. Now the way he has acted since then leaves a bit to be desired, but anyone with the ability to promote a worthy cause can bring-in money. Donations in America alone fund thousands of different foundations.

lol, what I meant was "did they set up a foundation with their own wealth". nice catch. =)

Gandhi's efforts were spent "working diligently to both remove British rule from India as well as to better the lives of India's poorest classes . . .In addition to learning to live a very simple and frugal lifestyle, Gandhi discovered his life-long passion for vegetarianism." ~ http://history1900s.about.com...

He spent his first twenty years as a lawyer battling the govt on behalf of the peasants. There is no doubt he was rich, but as you just noted about Kennedy, it wasn't his wealth that made him a great man.

Well yes, but it was his wealth that gave him a perspective on how to be great. He had the education and the means to educate himself on the overarching aspects of Indian self-rule.

Why didn't he just enjoy his wealth instead of spending all those decades in prison and becoming an outcast from his own social class? To me that's what made him great, his ability to see that all humans have value.

Yes, but he had to have the means first to acquire that perspective...

Now, the example of Christ yes, a poor man made a huge difference, although according to the biblical account he was already quite educated at a young age. There are exceptions to what I'm asserting, but it's much, much more common for rich people who use their wealth in a populist fashion to get far more credit than poor people without such means.

None of which discounts the fact that these philosophers were Athenian citizens and not slaves. They had means that most people did not have.

I'm a middle-class American citizen. I was offered an education at West Point because of my military entrance scores and my physical performance during training. Yet I certainly am not a great man. I will freely concede that in some instances becoming "great" is dependent on almost sheer luck, but the point I'm making is that it doesn't take money. Money can help you buy a reputation, but it's less likely to help you earn one.

Sure, we can agree on this. Just that if you had the money, it would make things a lot easier, wouldn't it? You'd have the means to get that reputation even if you didn't work for it.

Oh, of course money can make things easier if you are already inclined to promote something great. It's just that money alone doesn't seem to sway many people in that direction. If it did then we'd have a lot fewer problems in the world. I think the dream is more valuable than the assets.

IMHO both are required.

Anyway, this is departing from what I was hoping to talk about, Hitler and Stalin being a product of their times and not "evil". IMHO America easily could have walked the same path had circumstances been dire enough. All of the same elements were there.

That's what I was more interested in, too, but I do think they were bad men, if not outright evil. Most of those who knew them considered them evil. They lived within a cult of fear where everyone was afraid to oppose them. One pretty good way to judge a man's character is to deduce whether his power was based on fear or whether it was based on respect.

I really think this inclination is a product of circumstance that stems from security provision. I mean, we're very lucky that we have two oceans that have protected us from the worst of Eurasian wars...but for the old country, no such luck.

I can agree with that to some extent, but to build a wall fencing people in instead of out? That says a lot all by itself.

Well, we're lucky enough to have two gigantic moats called the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. =)

Those walls defend against the unknown. It's the same as buckling your seat belt when you get into your car, IMHO.
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
wrichcirw
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1/18/2015 8:19:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 8:09:12 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 8:00:10 PM, Idealist wrote:

I can agree with that to some extent, but to build a wall fencing people in instead of out? That says a lot all by itself.

Well, we're lucky enough to have two gigantic moats called the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. =)

Those walls defend against the unknown. It's the same as buckling your seat belt when you get into your car, IMHO.

Ah, nevermind, I read this too quickly.

The thing is, America did the same with Japanese Americans. I don't see anything particularly special about Hitler doing the same except in degree...and then I'd point to the degree of security/economic well-being that Germany lacked vis a vis America.

Lincoln began as a very poor man. His family wasn't wealthy, and he didn't earn any scholarships. Even Aristotle didn't have great wealth. Maybe we're both arguing too much to opposite extremes? I just really believe that greatness is something which comes from inside. Even to be a great parent or a great friend is a wonderful thing. :)

Yeah, it's hard to argue against that notion =)
At 8/9/2013 9:41:24 AM, wrichcirw wrote:
If you are civil with me, I will be civil to you. If you decide to bring unreasonable animosity to bear in a reasonable discussion, then what would you expect other than to get flustered?
Idealist
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1/18/2015 8:53:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/18/2015 8:09:12 PM, wrichcirw wrote:
At 1/18/2015 8:00:10 PM, Idealist wrote:

Why didn't he just enjoy his wealth instead of spending all those decades in prison and becoming an outcast from his own social class? To me that's what made him great, his ability to see that all humans have value.

Yes, but he had to have the means first to acquire that perspective...

He first began two really show that perspective while attending school in England, and he broke away from his own contemporaries to do so. That took a lot of personal courage, and I don't think it's fair to say he acquired that from his family's social position. If you do that they you are practically saying that a wealthy man can't be good on his own merit, since the money is a required aspect of his physical character.

Now, the example of Christ yes, a poor man made a huge difference, although according to the biblical account he was already quite educated at a young age. There are exceptions to what I'm asserting, but it's much, much more common for rich people who use their wealth in a populist fashion to get far more credit than poor people without such means.

But even that cancels out. For every wealthy person who uses their money to help others there is at least one more who uses their wealth to enslave people. We live in a capitalist system, which means that any skill can be converted to money. Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys recently signed a contract to play for them worth over a hundred-million dollars. Let's say he used all that money to do something good. Would his accomplishment be because he had the money, or because he was gifted enough to earn that money? It gets a bit convoluted when you look at it that way.

None of which discounts the fact that these philosophers were Athenian citizens and not slaves. They had means that most people did not have.

I'm a middle-class American citizen. I was offered an education at West Point because of my military entrance scores and my physical performance during training. Yet I certainly am not a great man. I will freely concede that in some instances becoming "great" is dependent on almost sheer luck, but the point I'm making is that it doesn't take money. Money can help you buy a reputation, but it's less likely to help you earn one.

Sure, we can agree on this. Just that if you had the money, it would make things a lot easier, wouldn't it? You'd have the means to get that reputation even if you didn't work for it.

Oh, of course money can make things easier if you are already inclined to promote something great. It's just that money alone doesn't seem to sway many people in that direction. If it did then we'd have a lot fewer problems in the world. I think the dream is more valuable than the assets.

IMHO both are required.

Anyway, this is departing from what I was hoping to talk about, Hitler and Stalin being a product of their times and not "evil". IMHO America easily could have walked the same path had circumstances been dire enough. All of the same elements were there.

That's what I was more interested in, too, but I do think they were bad men, if not outright evil. Most of those who knew them considered them evil. They lived within a cult of fear where everyone was afraid to oppose them. One pretty good way to judge a man's character is to deduce whether his power was based on fear or whether it was based on respect.

I really think this inclination is a product of circumstance that stems from security provision. I mean, we're very lucky that we have two oceans that have protected us from the worst of Eurasian wars...but for the old country, no such luck.

I can agree with that to some extent, but to build a wall fencing people in instead of out? That says a lot all by itself.

Well, we're lucky enough to have two gigantic moats called the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. =)

Those walls defend against the unknown. It's the same as buckling your seat belt when you get into your car, IMHO.

Funny, in Russia they always say the same thing about their vast plains which swallowed-up both Napolean and Hitler, lol. People traveled across the great oceans in countless ways to get to America, and others braved countless difficulties, risking their lives, to escape from the Soviet Union and from Nazi Germany.

I guess maybe on this subject we just don't see things quite the same? I can respect what you are saying, but I deeply believe in the greatness of some men, and I don't think it's tied to money. Money is just a tool. If you give a man a loaded pistol he can either use it to protect people or rob and kill them. A simple kind word can help a person while a harsh one can end their hope. What can I say - I'm an idealist, lol.