Odd Demands for Equal Treatment in Blogging About Historical Figures

A commenter on the hatred for the evil thread writes,

I have no problem with hating Lenin on any day, but the selection of the subject of hate needs some explanation. There were a lot of bad guys throughout the history. But somehow VC authors don’t celebrate the execution of Suddam Hussein or of bin Laden, or the death of Mao or, for that matter, no one in the US is celebrating the death of George III of England. I guess, the celebration of death is not something really embedded in the Western culture.

This strikes me as an odd complaint. First, I don’t see much need for explaining why one is condemning people who have done immense evil, as opposed to those who have merely done great evil (or those who to my knowledge weren’t particularly evil at all, such as George III).

Second, naturally we blog about those things that come to our minds, and those things that come to our minds are affected by who we are and what we know. I, for instance, am much more knowledgeable about the evil done by Lenin than the evil done by Mao, and am thus much more likely to focus on it .

Similarly, I am much more likely to blog praise for historical figures (political, scientific, artistic, or what have you) that I know well. Randy Barnett may blog about what a great figure Lysander Spooner was, without having to explain why he selected Lysander Spooner as opposed to some great defender of liberty in China or the Middle East. Praising great historical figures is proper even when one doesn’t simultaneously praise all of them, or even all the equally great ones, or offer specific reasons why one’s interest lies in one area rather than another. Likewise for condemning evil historical figures.

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