Friday, March 24, 2006

Stalin

The blog Sheila Variations periodically posts on her current reading. Today, she provides an excerpt from Stalin. Sheila writes:
I cannot cop out and say: "THE MAN WAS NOT HUMAN" because you know what? He was. He was a human being ... and he cannot be written off as a "lunatic" - which is why I find him so scary.
There is no dearth of prose trying to explain Stalin, but I've not found a biography that gets into the skin of the monster.
When push came to shove, the only one who had the guts - the only one who literally had the STOMACH to do what needed to be done - to actually carry out these theories to their logical conclusions was Stalin. ("Okay - you want to destroy the peasant and the Russian village? How 'bout a big ol' honkin' FAMINE? How 'bout that?? How 'bout we starve millions and millions of people to death - and then watch how gratefully they scurry into the kholkhozes - how 'bout THAT?") - Now I'm not sure about that - and these guys were all pretty much cruel people, and ruthless in their minds towards "class enemies" - but being "ruthless in your mind" is different from actually have the GUTS to DO it.

To stand firm and strong while millions of people die? Literally begging for their lives? Entire populations of people starving, screaming for help? To stand firm. To refuse to bend. To stick to the plan.

That takes GUTS. That takes ... well, it's almost like it requires that you not HAVE something (like guts) but LACK something (like compassion). In order to not only allow a famine to occur, but to organize it and make SURE it occurs ... you really have to be seriously lacking in certain emotional departments.
That lack is what we would call sociopathy - the absence of feeling for others.

Sociopaths are different. I've known a few. They may seem a little like you and me, but they are lacking in empathy - the ability to truly understand how others feel. To a sociopath, people are "things". Their suffering doesn't excite the sociopath, it just has absolutely no effect on him. If your existence interferes with a sociopath's plans or desires, then he has no problem with your elimination - permanently.

Which, apparently, was the case with Stalin. What was interesting is how his associates reacted. They went along. Their fears and self-protective actions allowed his monstrous acts to devastate the population, economy, and welfare of an entire country and its possessions.

Tagname = Books

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