Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Opposite poles

"I don't approve of mixing ideologies," Ivanov continued.  "There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles.  One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units.  The other starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community--which may dispose of it as an experimentation rabbit or a sacrificial lamb.  The first conception could be called anti-vivisection morality, the second, vivisection morality.

Humbugs and dilettantes has always tried to mix the two conceptions; in practice, it is impossible.  

--Ivanov, Rubashov's interrogator.  Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon--"The Second Hearing"

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