LITERATURE: The Unbearable Lightness – Political Relevance

Finally back to reading and I come upon a passage that reminds me so much of the upcoming presidential election:

Anyone who thinks that the Communist regimes of Central Europe are exclusively the work of criminals is overlooking a basic truth: the criminal regimes were made not by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise.  They defended that road so valiantly that they were forced to execute many people.  Later it became clear that there was no paradise, that the enthusiasts were therefore murderers.  (p. 176)

This echos my thinking on government and administrations.  No official takes public office with the intent to do wrong by the people. All aspiring politicians go forth with the belief that they’re doing the right thing; all strive for the same goals yet differ in their priorities and methods.  And each base their solutions upon experience and perception, on their faith in what they believe to be true:

Then everyone took to shouting at the Communists: You’re the ones responsible for our country’s misfortunes (it had grown poor and desolate), for its loss of independence (it had fallen into the hands of the Russians), for its judicial murders!

Aside from the occasional wacko, i.e., Hitler, Hussein, leaders have extended their efforts not only for personal success but for the general welfare of the people.  Wars are not taken lightly; they are usually entered into aggressively or reluctantly, for gain or for defense, and sacrifice is not always found to have been estimated accurately when the results are in. To continue:

And the accused responded: We didn’t know! We were deceived! We were true believers! Deep in our hearts we are innocent!

In the end, the dispute narrowed down to a single question: Did they really not know or were they merely making believe?

So it comes down to the matter of truth, and whether ignorance is an excuse. Tomas, in contemplating this takes into consideration the matter of Oedipus (which he is reading) and even in looking back into time he is asking the unanswered question of ethics and morals that beset behavior today.

This helps me to understand the values of tolerance; that forgiveness is not necessarily a sign of being naive.

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