In the wake of Israel's recent air strikes got me to think in depth about evil people, and I've decided for the most part, they don't exist. Probably the closest thing I can rationalize as evil is those who are truly psychotic and crazy, and have deep seated emotional problems, yet most of these people have trouble moving up the latter. We have a few noteworthy examples though of those I feel were downright crazy. My favorite is Stalin, who was highly paranoid, and probably lacked empathy. Mao was another who simply was highly deluded. Pretty much like Eric Cartman. Right down to the fat denialism. So the question is 'Was Hitler Evil?'. He was certainly a little crazy, and racist, but I think it's important to note that his anti-semitism and belief in the Aryan race were all the rage during his time. He wasn't creating some bold new message necessarily with the anti-semitism. So really Germany was in a pretty ideal position to elect an anti-semite leader, but I'll get back to that. So after World War I Germany was forced to pay -- for everything. In the wake of basically what amounts to an entire Country going bankrupt, a large influx of Jews, who had retained their wealth, bought what was left. So that's basically who had all their money, and so they became a convenient political scapegoat -- which was even going on in America. Perhaps we dodged a bullet there, we could've elected such a leader, you never know. So Hitler became their guy. The somewhat classic "defense" of Hitler is look at the nice things he did: Socialized medicine, basically no incidence of rape, low crime rate in the major cities, no unemployment, mostly because the purpose of this thread and this discussion is not to weigh the pros and the cons but to determine whether Hitler's "evilness" is an intrinsic value or whether he is simply the victim of being on the losing side. First let me get back to the point that he very much was a racist, and believed in national ethnic purity, but again this wasn't some bold new idea he shouted from his microphone, it's still around and it's pretty damn old. If I were a German man, in the 1930s, and I met Hitler, and he made pleasant dinner time conversation about these visions he lays out in Mein Kampf I simply doubt they would've alarmed me. In much the same way today someone being homophobic or "I'm not racist but" doesn't surprise me. I doubt I would've thought he would one day almost destroy the world. In fact not many did. He was Time's "Man of the Year", and Winston Churchhill said when his associates met him that he was "charming, and such a nice man". Winston was glad following the raid that the two had not met because so many others didn't think such a charming and polite person would ever do such things. Downfall sticks to this as well. It's a far more sympathetic Hitler than many are used to. But what is Hitler known for!? The gas chambers, which ironically, were not his idea. I believe that was Goebbles and Himmell (sp?). Hitler had originally wished to send them to Madagascar, Kenya, Gaza and even Jerusalem were considered. He also let his Generals make a lot of decisions, and didn't question them. He certainly rubber stamped all the ideas. They also prided themselves on efficiency, which the Concentration Camps were, which may have also been made in response to the War escalation. My biggest problem with the label of Hitler as evil is that it's flippant. I very much like the words of Somerset in Se7en " It's dismissive to call him a lunatic. Don't make that mistake." It is dismissive. Not of Hitler, but of political systems which make Hitler. It doesn't seem to me like the decision to gas 6 million jews is something reached at idly, even by anti-semites. You meet a lot of very racist people everyday, ones who even advocate violence, who are simply not made confrontation enough to ever act on those views. That's what this thread is about, the politics of evil. What made Hitler evil. If we simply say he's evil, that's it, the conversation stops and we just have to make sure we don't elect a bunch of evil people. Of course it's not that simple. Was Hitler a patsey of his Generals? Was he simply and evil, evil man? Were any of the Nazi's evil? Or were they simply good people co-opted by evil? Can a bunch of good meaning people just create an "evil" system. I think the other interesting angle that spins out of this discussion is that let's assume for a minute Germany wins. Let's say Germany takes over Europe. The war subsides, and Hitler eventually dies, because that's what happens. Let's say, for the hypothetical, he never reaches his Final Solution and Jews still exist in dwindling numbers. So the next leader, and maybe the younger generation, they feel for the Jews, so they elect a leader who frees them for these camps. Years later the history books transform Hitler's alternate Universe successor into a modern day Abraham Lincoln. Because, of course, that is what happened with Abraham Lincoln. We still live in a "winning" country, so to speak, so our culture writes about how far we've come rather than the depths to which we've sank, currently or historically. However I suppose in that example Hitler becomes like Andrew Jackson or James Buchanan; some racist ex-President we hated. But think about the ire you have towards Jackson and what he did to Natives and blacks, and compare it to the auroa of evil that surrounds men like Hitler. So this is basically my long drawn out back and forth on this topic. Just to get the ball rolling. This is about Hitler and the Politics of Evil. My basic contention is that all actors in a political system our good, but their individual actions, while seen as good from their point of view at the time, in fact collectively corner them into "evilness". I see the Nazi's less as evil individually, but more like actors trapped in an evil play they didn't know they started.