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Thursday, February 28, 2008


Sacrifice Freedom for the Common Good?

I was reading Somebody's Gotta Say It by Neal Boortz last night and I came across a quote by Adolf Hitler. After reading Olson's Logic, I felt this quote would make for some interesting conversation. Hitler states:
It is thus necessary that the individual should come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole...that above all the unity of a nation's spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual...This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture...we understand only the individual's capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow man.

With his deep understanding of the individual's instinct to serve their own self-interest, I believe Olson would scoff at the concept of individuals being willing to put aside their own egos and interests to serve the common good for a long period of time. Hitler obviously had little understanding of human nature.

I am no scholar and my knowledge of history is severely limited, but from my observation, it is usually those individuals - the ones that advocate limitations on individual rights - that seem to be pushing that agenda to serve their own ambitions and self-interests. The most dangerous individuals are those that seek to diminish the significance of the individual and to enslave the hearts and minds of the people (through the sacrifice of personal freedoms for the common good) for some misguided and impractical "ideal".

I have to say that I find it improbable that Hitler would gain so much power with a wretched understanding of humanity.

Did the book say the context of the quote? If Hitler was speaking to the unwashed masses, he might have been speaking like the Baptist while actually being a bootlegger, if that makes sense.

If you appear noble, it's easier to get away with doing whatever you want.
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