Friday, May 30, 2003

Lileks and His Critics: Here's Lileks today on the death of the Romanov family as Czarist Russia fell:
The execution of the children was the event that established the character of the regime. Yes, yes, regicide was often accompanied by such atrocities, but this was the 20th century. Why, this was the birth of Scientific Socialism. There is nothing so powerful as an idea has time has come!

But just in case it’s not that powerful yet, let’s shoot the little girls.

And here's Common Sense's Max Jacobs in response:
When I woke up this morning I didn't think I would be defending the actions of Communists, but here we are. Yes, I will agree that killing children is wrong but you have to look at the historical context of all this.
Hmmm. Substitute economic for historical in that sentence and you've paraphrased Stalinist Marxism. No, you do not have to consider any context. Whatever the Romanovs did to Russia, it was not the responsibility of the minor children of one of the more enlightened czars.
These days, all anyone remembers about the Romanovs is that they were the royal family that ruled Russia before the Communists. Some might even remember that they didn't do a particularly good job. The truth of the matter is that the Romanovs were dictators who brutalized Russia for 400 years. And it wasn't just one bad Czar, here and there. They were all guilty of atrocities against their own people. They were cruel despicable despots.
Agreed. It takes quite a troll-like brain, though, to believe that atrocity repays atrocity. Imagine an Allied policy to extinguish the second generation of Nazis, due to their having been raised in the miasma Hitler Youth and fascist ideology indoctrination. True, it would have meant a lot more killing than bumping off a couple of Romanov children, but that makes it a difference only of degree, not kind.
Even Nicholas II who was viewed by many as a "kindler, gentler" czar promoted massive progroms agains the Jews and was directly responsible for the death of 2 million Russians by entering World War I. I'm sure just about every Russian had some reason to hate the czar, most likely through a family member being killed or imprisoned due to actions of the regime. So I can understand the emotional need to simply try to wipe that vile and disgusting family off the face of the Earth, especially given the condition Russia was in back in 1918.
Understand all you want, fella. As soon as you've pointed to the murder of children and invoked "context" (not to mention explicitly calling your comments a "defense" of those actions), you've proved yourself a barbarian. And "wip[ing] that vile and disgusting family family off the face of the Earth" is a fit goal for setting up a new totalitarianism in place of the old, but little else. Sure you don't want to hunt down some second cousins, thrice removed, somewhere and eviscerate them, hoisting their heads on pikes? After all, they deserve it.

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