Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Ain Jalut, Jul 11, 2013.

  1. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    You'd think Kirk would know him on sight if that was the case. From the dialog, I'd say Kirk had a passing familiarity with Khan, but he was't a personal hero.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Hero?" What a bizarre misreading. Just because he recognized that Khan was less brutal than other tyrants, that doesn't mean he saw him as a role model.
     
  3. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Fixed that for you.

    But then there'd be no actual historical figure on the "evil" side to parallel Lincoln.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2013
  4. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    Aargh - bringing back Montalban as avatar-Khan is a great, missed chance!
     
  5. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

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    Mao NEVER 'liberated' China into anything or for anything but his own lust for power; he was not a communist or a socialist, but a Stalinist, and his system was only slightly better than the Kim dynasty that has run North Korea into the ground and his master Stalin's rule. Any 'socialism' he knew was just platitudes he mouthed. China may not have been better under the Nationalists, but it wasn't anything like what wen on under Mao & Co. (please read Mao: The Unknown Story for more.

    All true and a great summation, but this episode was in the third season and was shit, like half of the season .
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    A Stalinist? I'm sorry, but that made me laugh. The Soviet and Chinese Communists hated each other. They were arch-rivals for leadership of the global communist revolution and their philosophies and interpretations of Marxism were in fierce conflict. Mao's Communism was a distinctly Chinese strain, drawing at least as much on Chinese history, culture, and tradition as on anything Western. In the early years of the revolution, when the Chinese Communist Party was battling against the brutal occupation of Imperial Japan and the entrenched corruption of the Nationalist government, the advisors that the USSR sent them almost led to their destruction by blindly employing traditional European tactics of "honorable" open combat rather than adapting to the needs of a guerrilla campaign. It was only by breaking free of the Soviet advisors and going his own independent route that Mao was able to save the revolution. So there was no love lost between them in either direction.

    Nobody disputes that what Mao's rule became later in life was horrible, brutal, and despotic. But the tragedy is that what he became later in life was a betrayal of what he stood for in his youth. He started out as an idealist, genuinely trying to build a better world, and back then he had the sense to realize that the only way it could work was as a gradual transition taking generations. But as he aged, and perhaps as he grew accustomed to being in power, he lost sight of those old convictions, and he tried to forcibly accelerate the pace of change so that he could see the results within his lifetime, and the result was a horrendous nationwide atrocity. His younger self would've known that was the wrong path, but power corrupts.


    Having been a history major, I'm aware that no single book can be perceived as the sole authoritative source of truth. Every text has its biases. As for that particular book, its own objectivity and accuracy have come under heavy criticism from historians:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_The_Unknown_Story#Criticism

    I suggest you broaden your own reading on the topic rather than trust a single source, especially one so suspect.
     
  7. Ain Jalut

    Ain Jalut Lieutenant

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    What is your source his early idealism? I only read his Juno Chang bigraphy. Also there was something off early in most dictators, like Stalin.
    Pretty much every historical work that forms an opinion comes under heavy criticism.

    I wery much doubt that any idealist could commit crimes as horrific as Mao.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, there's your problem. As I said, you can't trust a single source.

    My source is the Chinese History course I took in college, in which I read a bunch of sources including excerpts from the young Mao's own writings, in which he expressed ideas pretty much diametrically opposed to his actions later in life.


    Yes, and every historical work is supposed to be subjected to critical evaluation to assess its legitimacy and trustworthiness. That's what historians do -- evaluate and criticize the work of other historians, as an ongoing process of verification. Learning to read texts critically, to analyze the validity of their claims and sniff out the bias in their arguments, was one of the first things I had to do when pursuing a history major. The question is, what is the result of that criticism? Does the vetting process conclude that its methodology is valid and fair and its sources verifiable, or that it's making unsubstantiated claims and selectively interpreting the evidence in support of a preconceived agenda? After all, there are lots of books out there making biased or propagandistic arguments, and it's important to learn to guard against them.


    My whole point, though, is that nobody is that simplistic, so fixed and unchanging throughout decades of life. The perspective of a young guerrilla on the run from an oppressive state can be profoundly different from the perspective of an aging dictator who's accustomed to having absolute power. And what about all those baby boomers who were counterculture hippie rebels in the '60s and then grew up to be conservative corporate executives in the '80s?

    Honestly, though, sometimes the idealists are the ones most capable of committing great crimes. If idealism becomes twisted, if you're so convinced that you're fighting for what's right that you're willing to employ any means to achieve that end, then you can rationalize profound evils. Look at the Catholic missionaries who tortured Native Americans to force them to convert to Christianity so that their souls would be saved. Mao's thinking was much the same: He forced China to go through hell in the short term because he believed (or rationalized to himself) that it would bring about a utopia in the longer term.

    This is why Yarnek missed the point. Good and evil aren't about what side you're on. They're about what methods you use to achieve your goals.
     
  9. Ain Jalut

    Ain Jalut Lieutenant

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    The Boomers as a generation were not dominatly liberal. they were just the louder segment at the time.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^The point is not about groups in the aggregate. The point is that individuals can change their beliefs and views over time. Many, many people make choices later in life that their younger selves would've been appalled by.
     
  11. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Where is the one to one exchange from hippie to liberal from the 60's to the 80's? I have to agre with Ain Jalut, here.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Look, I was just pointing out that individuals are capable of changing their beliefs over time. That's the real point here -- let's not get even further off topic.