In my last post I wrote about evil leaders and good or virtuous leaders. A question that I have is, “Who decides who is evil and who is virtuous?”
I say, “Hitler was an evil man, who was responsible for the death of millions of people.” But a member of the Gestapo would have said in the 1940s, ‘Hitler is a great leader who has brought prosperity and power to Germany.’
I say, “Emperor Hirohito and the other Japanese leaders were evil people, who were responsible for their soldiers killing millions of the innocent in Asia.” But some Japanese people during WWII would have said, ‘They are great leaders who are dedicated to bring peace and prosperity to all Asians under our great emperor Hirohito.’ In Blossoms and Bayonets by Jana McBurney-Lin and Hi-Dong Chai are quotes made by Japanese elites who considered their conquest of Asian countries as their mission to bring order and prosperity to those countries.
I say, “Those young Islamic fundamentalists who blow up themselves to kill American soldiers are lunatics.” But Islamic fundamentalists would say, ‘Those young people gave their lives for Allah. What courage! What sacrifice!’
If I were the father of one of those suicide bombers in Iraq, would I call him an evil son? I don’t think so. I would be heartbroken for my son’s death, but I would also be proud of him for giving his life for the cause.
Suppose Japan won World War II and occupied all of Asia and America. Who would be the virtuous leaders, and who would be the evil leaders? The answer would be obvious. Truman and Roosevelt would be the evil leaders, since they caused the deaths of millions of Japanese, while the Japanese emperor would be elevated to godhood, and their leaders would be called great leaders, good people.
So the unfortunate conclusion I draw is that leaders in winning nations get the titles of ‘virtuous leaders’ and those in losing nations, ‘evil leaders’. In this world power rules. A nation with power dictates what is good and what is bad. I don’t like my conclusions. My prayer is that a nation in power is also the nation that respects human lives, individual freedom, and liberty and justice for all.