Category Archives: Friedrich Nietzsche

Today is the 200th Birthday of Fyodor Dostoevsky

His "Crime and Punishment" taught me a lesson

Many years ago, when I was in my early 20s, I shared a flat with someone who had a copy of “Crime and Punishment” by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. When I started reading it, I found it easy to identify with the feelings of isolation and alienation of the (anti-)hero, the impoverished student Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov.

Raskolnikov thinks himself intelligent enough to be above the law, and do justice his own way. However, he then goes and murders someone. The victim is innocent, but the reader is not invited to find her likable. This was a brilliant move by Dostoevsky, because it forces the reader to examine himself. Do we not all sometimes harbour feelings of superiority? The rest of the book is all about Raskolnikov’s attempts to deal with the fact that he has killed someone.

The lesson the book taught me was to “consider the possibility that I might be wrong”. It taught me some humility. For that, I am deeply grateful to Dostoevsky.

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Repealing the century of collectivism, mass destruction and genocide

Our hope resides in a resurrected God

“We shall repeal the 20th century.” These were words spoken by American economist Murray N. Rothbard (1926 – 1995) near the end of an article he wrote in 1992. Another American economist, Gary North (b. 1942), who is a historian and theologian as well, used these words near the end of a lecture he gave in 2010.

Rothbard made clear why he wants to repeal it, when he asked, ironically:

“Who would want to repeal the 20th century, the century of horror, the century of collectivism, the century of mass destruction and genocide, who would want to repeal that! Well, we propose to do just that.”

With “we” he meant what he hoped would be a resurrected movement which in America is called the Old Right, a movement that was libertarian in its core, supported decentralised structures, laissez-faire economics and minimal interference of the government into private lives. This movement was effectively killed off around the year 1900 and replaced by interventionist, imperialist, big-government and big-business supporting politics.

Similar things had happened, or were happening, in Europe. Nationalism was the name of the game, and that sentiment lead to centralised governments continually increasing their interventions into the economy to suit their lust for power. Imperialism was the natural outgrowth of this development. This in turn lead to the original catastrophe of our time, World War One.

Considering that we are by now one fifth into the next century, it is clear that we have been unable to repeal the 20th century. For, as an idea, or phenomenon, the 20th century, in all its awfulness, is still firmly with us. So, how can we go about “repealing” it?

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