Men to Monsters

Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate’er it touches
– Shelley, Queen Mab III (Quote at start of chapter 1)

What turns men into monsters?  Why does power “pollute what’er it touches”?

There is a discussion on this site about the importance of consequences, and it is worth noting that Power, when exercised by a State, removes individuals from consequences.  That, could potentially be a primary motive for the “polluting” effects of Power described by Queen Mab III.  In fact, that is typically one of the founding aspects of a State, giving individuals power with reduced consequences or without consequences.  Even Lenin, realized this, but probably didn’t realize the implications of such things.

Pg 86 – 4)  61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
“The scientific concept of dictatorship means nothing else but this: power without limit, resting directly upon force, restrained by no laws, absolutely unrestricted by rules.” ~ Lenin

Dictatorship is force without consequences.  Power without limit.  Let’s take a look at a few examples of leaders described in Death By Government who have been so polluted by power that even when the consequences they instill on others are displayed to them, it had no effect.

Pg 68 – 3) Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth-Century Democide
“The emperor, seated on a golden throne, receives the homage of the viziers and the beys; massacre of 2,000 prisoners; the rain falls in torrents.”

Pg 68 – 3) Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth-Century Democide
During the British colonization of India, a “party given by the Mogul governor of Surat, the very first British settlement, was rudely interrupted when the host fell into a sudden rage and ordered all the dancing girls to be decapitated on the spot, to the stupefaction of his English guests.”

Pg 69 – 3) Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth-Century Democide
on the first day of our visit we had seen no less than ten men carried off to death. On a mere sign from shaka, viz: the pointing of his finger, the victim would be seized by his nearest neighbors; his neck would be twisted, and his head and body beaten with sticks, the nobs of some of these being as large as a man’s fist. On each succeeding day, too, numbers of others were killed; their bodies would then be carried to an adjoining hill and there impaled. We visited this spot on the fourth day. It was a truly a Golgotha, swarming with hundreds of vultures.

These men, these leaders of countries, are completely and utterly twisted.  They have taken God’s natural authority instilled in men, and used it for indisputable evil.  Even with that, these were examples of rulers personally involved in murder.  In modern societies men can tend toward narcissism – lack of empathy towards others – particularly because they can be so spread apart from their victims.  Politicians can command from cushy seats in the Whitehouse.  Soldiers can kill from computers using drone attacks.  All the while, increasing their narcissistic tendencies, removing them from consequences and thus retarding their growth.  At some point they will become “certifiable” murderous narcissistic sociopaths like those in the above examples who can’t empathize with anyone, particularly their victims, who care nothing about the lives of others.  The above examples were all leaders, but what about the soldiers who are exposed to death and consequences from the beginning?  People like:

Pg 185 – 9)  2,035,000 Murdered: The Hell State: Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge
With military orderliness, the communists thrust each official forward one at a time … [S]oldiers then stabbed the victim simultaneously, one through the chest and the other through the back. Family by Family … moving methodically down the line. … As each man lay dying, his anguished, horror struck wife and children were dragged up to his body. The women, forced to kneel, also received the simultaneous bayonet thrusts. The children and babies, last to die, were stabbed where they stood.

Pg 197 – 9)  2,035,000 Murdered: The Hell State: Cambodia Under the Khmer Rouge
“He could never work in the fields. He was useless to society. It is better for him to die.” ~ Khmer Rouge Soldier

Pg 308 – 12)  1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
Czechs smashed the genitals of some men by stamping on them with their boots. The cries of the tortured were frightful. Five boys, aged 13 to 16, were beaten murderously because they had moved a few steps from their place. The children groaned and yelled for their mothers. Then the five children were stood up against the wall and the Czechs raised their rifles. The boys cried: “Don’t fire, let us live!” A volley was fired and the five boys fell to the ground.

How are men turned to monsters?  Politicians are one thing when there are no viewed or direct consequences.  What about soldiers who see, and do such horrible actions?  What turns them into such?  Anyone who does such direct, horrid actions against others obviously isn’t acting on their empathy, but may be missing the bloated egocentric views of politicians to be classified as “narcissists”.  With the high rate of suicide among US soldiers at this time it can be safely thought that soldiers may not lack empathy but instead suppress it or have had it suppressed.  The Khmer Rouge trained children to be cruel and unemotional in order to be more “perfect” killers.

Pg 196
Khmer Rouge purposely trained many child recruits to be cruel and unemotional about causing pain and death by having them practice on monkeys, dogs, cats, and other animals.

Lastly, but can also cause such lack of empathetic behavior in soldiers is the deification of the leader, and if such deification occurs it may be safely assumed that if it is encouraged by the leader, that leader is a narcissist who has, or will come to believe in their own deification.  Lack of consequences abets this because gods do not have to deal with the consequences from “lesser men”.

Pg 154 – 8)  5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
Captain Francis P. Scott, and American chaplain who interviewed many of the convicted Japanese POW camp commandants as to why they treated their prisoners in the way they did, said that they “had a belief that any enemy of the emperor could not be right, so the more brutally they treated their prisoners, the more loyal to the emperor they were being.”

This post is a continuation of a long series of commentary on quotes pulled from Death By Government by R.J. Rummel.  The book itself is a real and horrific tome of how Power kills absolutely.  Despite the negative outlook of some of the commentary, I do recommend reading it.  Here are some quick links to posts related to this book: Short review of the book itselfall the quotes in one place, and a list of other commentary like this one.

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3 thoughts on “Men to Monsters

  1. Chinese are so familiar with this kind of murder initiated by political leaders, both from inside the country and foreign invasion. i wish we could understand why people do that

    • Thanks for dropping by. The Chinese definitely have a fairly recent memory of such horrid political leaders. In the book that I pulled the quotes from (see Ch 9 for quotes specific to Khmer Rouge here: https://econengineer.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/quotable-quotes-death-by-government/) the author’s overall thesis was “The problem is Power. The solution is democracy. The course of action is to foster freedom.” I think modern China is a wonderful example of how fostering freedom relives the problem of power. There can always be improvements, but it’s so far a wonderful redeeming story.

      The book author’s ‘thesis’ mentioned above was based on just straight data available in the book which showed that, overall, democracy has killed the least; by far. Granted, democracy still kills so personally there should be a better way. I would modify his statement to “The problem is Power. The solution is freedom. The course of action is to foster Liberty.”

  2. Pingback: Death via Quota « The Economical Engineer

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