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Who were the good guys? (O/T )


Childress
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Temperamentally, I'm a Russophile. These are our European brothers and sisters, with an old Orthodox tradition and a magnificent heritage in literature, music, art, mathematics, and science. My occasional writing partner is a Muscovite. But the malevolence of the Soviet regime cannot be denied; the lack of concern for ordinary citizens, the gulags, the engineered famines . As events in Sochi suggest, they're still floundering. Russia has been an unhappy country for a hundred years.

Who were the good guys in the Russo-German War? The Soviets spent the lives of their soldiery like raw material and as occupiers behaved abominably. I'd say that the Nazis were the more positive force minus the genocidal impulses. But that's like asserting if your aunt had ***** she'd be your uncle. However they were capable of generating prosperity in the pre-war years.

Thoughts?

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Both sides were pretty appalling. Both certainly killed prisoners, brutalised civillians and so on. This brutality went on right from the start in one form or another. That does not mean every single soldier who fought on the Rusian Front was a bad man. Many, probably mosty were ordinary, decent human beings in a bad situation and many were brutalised by their experiences and what they saw. In the case of the Russian Front I don't think we can view either sdes as being the good guys. Both sides were representitive to totalitarian regiemes and the brutality of the fighting was far worse than anything seen on the Western Front

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As someone said in an interview about why they fought for the russians: "I picked the dictator that spoke the same language as me. They were both equally bad, but at least I knew what this one was telling me to do."

(or something to that effect).

There are no "good guys" in war btw.

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It might be national bias from me, but anyway I'd say that Finland went into war as a democracy and came out of it as a democracy, fighting against both Soviets and Germans inbetween. A lot of shady stuff happened between those two and it was a huge tragedy, but compared to other minor states in the theater it can be described as a happy end.

Really, though? The actual good guys were those men and women who didn't let one of the most disgusting conflicts in modern history corrupt their souls, regardless of nationality or rank. There were maybe two or three of those.

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As someone said in an interview about why they fought for the russians: "I picked the dictator that spoke the same language as me. They were both equally bad, but at least I knew what this one was telling me to do."

(or something to that effect).

There are no "good guys" in war btw.

I disagree with the no good guys in war. There are lots of good ordinary people in war serving their respective countries. The problem is they are just put in bad situations by people who are not good people. Big distinction imho.

We may be from different countries with very different ethical thought processes but I hope you can understand what I mean by this.

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Hmmm. One militaristic dictator killed millions. The other militaristic dictator killed tens of millions. One spoke German and the other Russian. Now granted the German dictator wanted to expand territory for "living space" while the other just wanted a buffer from future invasions.

Damned if you do, damned if you do.

Unfortunately, any organization is only as good as it's leadership.

Every time I learn anything about history I am always thankful I live in the time and place I live in now.

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Hi, There are quite a bunch of assumptions behind that statement :).

Fair enough. I'm speaking of the stagnating economy, the arrogance of these huge construction projects in Sochi with their corruption bleed-offs, the sub-replacement birth rates, the rising tide of Islamic terrorism and the nationalist reaction it's generated. Etc. OTOH, general welfare has, along with the Russian bourse, risen over the past decade albeit from a low base line. The middle class is growing. The book is not closed on Russia. Not by a long shot.

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Fair enough. I'm speaking of the stagnating economy, the arrogance of these huge construction projects in Sochi with their corruption bleed-offs, the sub-replacement birth rates, the rising tide of Islamic terrorism and the nationalist reaction it's generated. Etc. OTOH, general welfare has, along with the Russian bourse, risen over the past decade albeit from a low base line. The middle class is growing. The book is not closed on Russia. Not by a long shot.

I'm a hockey fan and a statement by one of their leading stars ties into this and I thought was rather telling. It was a good article but I am leery of posting a link to another site so I'll just provide the last paragraph of the article:

"There’s so much pressure on this Russian hockey team. The Sochi Olympic cost $50 billion and countless hours of frustration to create … and for what? There are other gold medals, of course. Russia won the pair figure skating, for instance – Russia has an unprecedented record in pairs figure skating.

But, in Russia, realistically, there are no other gold medals.

“What would gold mean here?” Ovechkin was asked in what has already become the most talked about exchange of the Olympics. Ovechkin had clearly prepared his answer.

“It means gold only cost $50 billion,” he said and he smiled. It was a joke. Sort of."

Written by Joe Posnanski

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Why close the thread, it could lead to an interesting philosophical discussion. In order to answear the question in the initial post, we first need to figure what 'good' and 'bad 'actually means, we need a general statement that allows the classification of all actions a person could do. It must also allow a mix-types, actions that classify as both, 'good' and 'bad', to a certain degree. Lets assume the classification of actions in 'good' and 'bad' actions is equal to the classifications 'morally right' and 'morally wrong'. Now 'good' and 'bad have something in common: they are both related to morale values and they implicitly contain information about weather or not a certain action lives up to those morale values that are use to for evalutaion. There are many different views on morale values, so differing between 'good' and 'bad' is kinda of a thing of perspective and different people are probably going to judge the same action in a different way. In my slightly darwinistic view, any action that is taken with the intent to increase the probability of survival of your own species current and future generations as well as of life on earth in general is morally right while any action that does the opposite is morally wrong. That is a very general interpretation of morale, but IMO it is a reasonably good one because it is scientifically backed by evolution (we only developed a sense for 'right' and 'wrong' because it gives us an evolutionary advantage over other species that dont have that sense) and because it is general enough to evaluate almost anything with it. Anyways, it is a clear statement that allows the evaluation of persons actions. If i now take look from that perspective at the Eastern Front, the Russians actually were more 'good' than the Germans. Hitlers plan for post war Russia, called 'Gerneralplan Ost', in general aimed at killing those russians unable to work and enslaving those who would be of use for the Germans. If this had happened it would ve been morally wrong accoriding to above definition. The Russians, on the other hand, fought in order to prevent Hitlers immorale plans from becoming reality. So independet of both countries political systems and internal affairs, the Russians cause during the Soviet-German war was more 'good' than the Germans.

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Oh, that's an easy one. white hat = good guys, black hat = bad guys. No confusion, no controversy.

So, let's see, what color hats did the respective parties wear? Germans, feldgrau, green, grey, sand/beige...Soviets, brown, dirt brown, vomit brown...

Hmmm, I am starting to see what all the fuss is about! Oh, wait, SS had black hats, and so did the Russian Marines. Ok, those are the bad guys. Kriegsmarine officers had white hats

so they must have been the good guys. And a lot on both sides wore white camo head cover, so in winter times maybe they were all the good guys.

Ya know, since neither Chuck Norris nor Ahhhhnold were there, maybe there were no good guys. Hmmm, I'll have to get back to you on this.

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In my slightly darwinistic view, any action that is taken with the intent to increase the probability of survival of your own species current and future generations as well as of life on earth in general is morally right while any action that does the opposite is morally wrong.

I just want to pipe up here and say that, although I understand what you're trying to say, this is the kind of argument that gives people the misguided impression that atheism and 'belief' in evolution corrupts a person's sense of right and wrong.

"Darwinism" is meaningless as a philosophy and outdated as a scientific theory. Darwin's work was incredible and inspired but it was incomplete, as you might expect. It did however lead the way for successors to test and expand upon the fundamentals and to uncover mechanisms and subtleties (the entire field of genetics being one, non-trivial example - Darwin had no accurate concept of how inheritance actually worked) which Darwin had never dreamed of. What 'Darwinian' (if you insist, although you're probably technically inaccurate in the way you use that term) and modern evolutionary theory says is absolutely nothing - that's nothing - to do with morality. It is simply an objective description of the way populations develop within their environment over time as observed in the natural world.

That is a very general interpretation of morale, but IMO it is a reasonably good one because it is scientifically backed by evolution (we only developed a sense for 'right' and 'wrong' because it gives us an evolutionary advantage over other species that dont have that sense)...

Ugh, where to start?

Evolution is a cold, unthinking, unguided and inevitable physical process which needs no 'help' from us and will continue regardless. It is categorically not a set of moral instructions or guidelines. It would make as much sense to say that the theory of gravity means that aircraft are 'immoral'. All of science is descriptive, not proscriptive. It does not "back" anything like a set of morals.

What science does do is allow us to more objectively describe the results of what we choose to do and to measure and try to optimise our progress towards our chosen goal. We still have to choose that goal, though, and choose it we do. My choice, for example, is to act in a way which makes the people around me happier and, if possible, healthier and more content with life but I would never think of claiming that that is objectively correct or *retch* 'scientifically justified'. The point is it's up to us!

Finally, I hope that the idea that "we only developed a sense for 'right' and 'wrong' because it gives us an evolutionary advantage over other species that dont have that sense" was intended as a short but hopelessly crude, inaccurate and over-simplified opinion, rather than as anything resembling a fact! The best I can do with it is tweak it to the following:

"we may have developed a sense for 'right' and 'wrong' as our consciences adapted to justify the altruistic behaviour which almost certainly predates our earliest recognisably "human" ancestors and which probably gave our distant ancestors an evolutionary advantage over other populations that didn't behave altruistically"

I'm really sorry if this comes across as hyper-critical of what may have been intended as a casual, throwaway comment but mis-use of science (and evolution in particular) in philosophical debates is a pet hate of mine. I apologise for any offence inadvertently caused - it's nothing personal! :)

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"I'd say that the Nazis were the more positive force minus the genocidal impulses."

There speaks an ignoramus who didn't lose most of family in the war thanks to the Nazis.

Thanks for the kind words.:rolleyes:

Actually we did. In our case to another militaristic, expansionist nation: Japan. It's better for the world the Nazis lost. No arguments there. The comparison is solely between the two totalitarian regimes in question, Germany and the USSR. It was in the West's interest that the latter prevail. But characterizing the Soviets-in terms of de facto instruments of Stalinism- as the 'good guys' is a stretch. How about the bad guys versus the worse guys?

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