Stopping evil

Not going to get into whether the holocaust happened or Katyn or any of those. It’s pretty clear what Caligula got up to so let’s do him.

When it becomes clear you’re dealing with a monster who will kill you all, why do you not eliminate the threat?

Answers include:

a. You yourself have a cushy position that, if you lose it, you’re in a bad place.

b. Were you to kill Caligula, Ilse Koch or Irma Grese, the chances you would be gruesomely and slowly murdered in unspeakable horror, by the rest of them, would be high in the mind. Taking out an Ilse Koch and hubby leaves all those other officers to take you or your children out.

c. It’s possible that you would never know what they’re doing – you’ve been kept apart and they never speak of these things, either through cunning or as a way of handling what they were doing.

But let’s say you were in a position in Caligula’s household and he has made everyone an enemy, in fear for his/her life, and you suddenly find the opportunity.

What’s uppermost in the mind? Altruism for the rest of the household or for Rome? Or self-preservation for you and your family?

I’d suggest that these days, the issue is a bit easier.

The way it was dealt with in my long book was that they took out the top floor of the Masonic Temple with a missile on a timer, once they were safely offshore.

The victim also died, as did some of the hall staff, but it did take out the principals, who were oppressing the people as a whole.

In Caligula’s time or Nazi Germany, it seems a lot more fraught.

15 comments for “Stopping evil

  1. The Blocked Dwarf
    November 19, 2017 at 16:44

    I’ve wrestled with similar questions for years. In my youth, said The Old Man, I took to the Armed Struggle (infact several different ones) and became involved with the more *cough* ‘pro-active Pro-Lifers’ …the sort who believe a 9mm in time saves…

    Still haven’t come up with an answer 🙁 but I guess the Rabbis of Old were right about any sin being allowed if it saves innocent life.

    • November 19, 2017 at 17:56

      It’s a very interesting conundrum. If you did know the score and suddenly, there were the means and the opportunity …

      We could only really know in situ, there and then.

  2. dearieme
    November 19, 2017 at 17:55

    “whether the holocaust happened or Katyn or any of those. It’s pretty clear what Caligula got up to”: oh Hob!

    What Caligula did is far LESS clear than those two mass murders.

    • November 19, 2017 at 17:58

      The point is that the example is irrelevant, it’s the principle I’m looking at. Let’s not use Caligula then.

      • Mark Matis
        November 19, 2017 at 18:47

        Let’s use Stalin then. Or Mousey Tongue. Each of whom were FAR worse than Hitler or Caligula.

        • November 20, 2017 at 03:47

          Let’s use Stalin then.

          To Churchill and Roosevelt Stalin was a friend and ally. Good old Uncle Joe. To the western media back in the 40s Stalin was the great anti-fascist hero. And Stalin destroyed Hitler. Did Stalin did more good than evil?

          History is kinda complicated. In the 20s, given that the choice was probably going to be between Stalin and Trotsky, maybe Stalin was the lesser of two evils? Or maybe not?

    • November 20, 2017 at 03:38

      What Caligula did is far LESS clear than those two mass murders.

      Evil is very rarely clear-cut. Was the fire-bombing of Dresden evil? Or the fire-bombing of Tokyo in 1945? I believe so, but lots of non-evil people sincerely convinced themselves that those actions were justified.

      Was Cromwell evil? What about Napoleon? Leftists have no doubt that Franco was evil while others think he was a great man and he saved Spain. Was Karl Marx evil? What about Churchill? What about William T. Sherman? Or Mary I? To their admirers these are all great men and women, to their critics they’re monsters.

      It depends which side you’re on.

      It also depends on who writes the histories. The Roman historians whose works have survived were incredibly hostile to the Julio-Claudian emperors. we have no unbiased accounts of Tiberius, or Caligula, or Nero. Just as we have no unbiased accounts of any major event in 20th century history. Napoleon said that history was lies agreed upon.

      • November 20, 2017 at 05:13

        “”It depends which side you’re on.””

        No objective standard to gauge against?

        • November 20, 2017 at 12:12

          “”It depends which side you’re on.””

          No objective standard to gauge against?

          I’m not necessarily saying there are no objective standards of right and wrong. But when it comes to historical events and historical figures the first problem is that we usually don’t have objective evidence on which to make judgments.

          The second problem is that very few historical figures were purely evil. Most were a mixture of good and evil, of vices and virtues.

          And sometimes it really does come down to one’s point of view. This applies to a spectacular degree to some of the most important figures in British history. The conventional views of Mary I and James II for instance are largely anti-Catholic propaganda. Catholics are likely to view them much more favourably. Is the Protestant view or the Catholic view the correct one? That depends on whether you’re a Catholic or a Protestant.

          There may be objective standards of right and wrong, but there is no such thing as objective history. All history is propaganda.

          And the actions of political leaders and governments are morally ambiguous. Murder is wrong. But did the fire-bombing of Dresden qualify as murder? Is it murder when the state executes a criminal? Many people would say no, but what if the criminal committed a political crime? Was the execution of Charles I murder? Was there any moral difference between executing Charles I and executing Saddam Hussein? They were both executed for the same reason – they were on the losing side.

  3. November 20, 2017 at 00:35

    The entire Clinton clan come to mind. How those people, including the spawn girl, have managed to evade the assassin’s double tap beats me. There is still time for someone to do us all a favour. But why stop there?

    Like the Dwarf, I have had my moments long ago but now simply pray at the scene of crimes against the unborn. I do entertain fantasies though.

  4. November 20, 2017 at 06:59

    Of course, none of us here are suggesting or urging that someone does it, because that gets Plod involved. We’re just surprised, that’s all. The system may well now take care of the Clintons.

  5. The Blocked Dwarf
    November 20, 2017 at 23:49

    I said on someone else’s blog recently that my big problem with the whole ‘going back in time to kill Hitler before he started down the road to the Holocaust’ thing, is (assuming I went back to when he was a failing, chain smoking, cheap wine chugging, Bohemian painter living in an unheated garret with a cool floppy hat and trench coat) I’d have to offer him a last cigarette…noblesse oblige,I would end up liking the guy.

  6. Bill
    November 21, 2017 at 09:30

    The problem with all history (even personal history) is the mind doing the pondering is doing it through the eyes and words of others who more often than not ‘weren’t there’.
    Either it did happen or it didn’t is my way of reading any historical account.

    • November 21, 2017 at 10:04

      This leads into another point about many people not being able to handle the notion that it’s actually worse in reality than even portrayed.

      I just read some things about Phillip and the Queen which list places and dates. First reaction was horror but second was that it explains much going on up there. Shelving that one for now.

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