“There Are Only Two Conceptions of Human Ethics” | Strange Herring

1346040046573-cachedBusiness as usual, sadly.

I am rereading Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler’s masterwork limning the psychology of Soviet totalitarianism, and realized you can justify anything if you believe you are on the right side of History. Kill babies, sell off the parts, then lie about it? That’s amateur night.

Here is a portion of the classic colloquy between Ivanov, a veteran of the civil war and an Old Bolshevik, and Rubashov, legendary former member of the Central Committee, erstwhile Commissar of the People, about to be purged for his sentimental ideas about the brutal tactics employed by the Revolution.

Ivanov: “There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles. One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units. The other starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community—which may dispose of it as an experimentation rabbit or a sacrificial lamb. The first conception could be called anti-vivisection morality, the second, vivisection morality.

Source: “There Are Only Two Conceptions of Human Ethics” | Strange Herring


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9 Responses to “There Are Only Two Conceptions of Human Ethics” | Strange Herring

  1. Reblogged this on BPI reblog001.


  2. the unit says:

    Phenomenal link ‘splainin’ the way things change the more they stay the same. Those in charge now just think they can do it better and pull it off(new way to skin a baby) . Experimentation and sacrifice for community at expense of BLM and ALM, it seems to me. Or said another way, from them…really, #No Lives Matter. But theirs.
    There’s a couple of blogs I visit where I’m going to mention your post and link for today. They are pretty much non-abrasive with the less than colorful words, usually i.e. “eat my grits”, well…sometimes comments a little more colorful in comments. 🙂 . Don’t know if they’ll visit and comment, just a heads up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Hope they do, it struck me strongly, as well.


  3. the unit says:

    From the link…”rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units.” That’s similar to where “the unit” picked his display name for blogs. One November night 2011 listening to replay on Mark Levine, caller a neurosurgeon called in about seminar in D.C. he was returning home from. Presentation promoted there considered when to stop life support on “units”, age 70. I was coasting in to that age in a few months at the time. I emailed the association and the “head” denied any such seminar.
    Well, if you’ve been to any such professional meeting, there are side seminars (aka table clinic presentations and etc.) promoting this and that. And then there is just lying.
    Based on Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, Obama, Bill and Hillary, most all politicians, and the rest of the lot… I’d pick just lying. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      Yep, I would too.

      Liked by 1 person

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