Was Hitler a good man?

Tila Tequila thinks so. My first thought was, of course not. But that’s just popular prejudice. Thinking about it further, if he thought what he was doing would make the world a better place, wouldn’t that justify it? After all Bomber Harris probably killed a million civilians with no benefit gained at all, but isn’t normally condemned. Or, for that matter, the individual soldier who kills one of the enemy.

So, the first question is, did Hitler really think that the world would be a better place if he achieved his ends, wiped out the Jews and the rest, and conquered a large part of the world.

The second is, would that justify the actions taken. I suppose the question is, if you honestly believed the existence of Jews to lead inexorably to the enslavement and diminution of mankind, wouldn’t it be your duty to kill as many as possible?

Obviously he didn’t actually do good, but we can’t issue moral judgements against people who thought they were doing good on the basis of their ignorance or delusions. Hence the laws of insanity, you can’t be held responsible for your actions if you don’t know that what you’re doing is wrong.

I’ll assume this is a serious question. No, Hitler was not a good man. Most bad people don’t think they are bad. One’s motivation in doing bad things like genocide and mass murder is irrelevant to any moral judgment of the actions.

No, I can’t conceive of a rational ethic system that condones Hitler.

First, genocide is wrong. The Jews (and the other groups targeted by the Nazis) were not a legitimate threat to Germany. So there was no rational justification for genocide.

Second, society knew genocide was wrong. It’s not like this was something that was considered acceptable in that era and society later changed its consensus over. People in Germany at the time Hitler came to power knew genocide was wrong.

Third, Hitler and the Nazis were aware that genocide was wrong. They were not delusional. They knew that society would condemn them. They took steps to conceal what they were doing.

So my conclusion is Hitler knowingly chose to commit horrible crimes in full awareness of what he was doing.

People can and do take actions they know to be wrong. The idea that anyone who acts is doing so from a perspective of believing THEY must be right is silly.

The Nazis were fully aware that they were defying morality, and indeed, Nazism held as a core principle the notion that existing definitions of right and wrong should be defied for the sake of the strength of the “race.”

Hitler was not the one-dimensional cartoon villain he’s often portrayed as. He had friends and he could be very charming [del]and was a terrific dancer[/del].

But by any reasonable metric he was not a good man, for reasons already stated.

Better for the Germans, sure, which was sufficient for a man with Hitler’s racial theories.

Nope. Let’s ask Kant:

Treating others as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves is exactly what the Nazis did.

Hitler was of sound mind (more of less), he is a moral agent. Were he actually legally insane, you’d be on to something.

No-one who has tens of millions of dead on his account is a good man.

If only he had stuck to painting, the world would have been better off.

Nope, not going to go there. Nosiree, Bob.

The OP, however, does present an interesting potential precedent.

“You’ve been charged with murdering 12 girl scouts, baking their heads into meat pie and then feeding it to 17 senior citizens who subsequently died from food poisoning. How do you plead?”

“Guilty, your honor, but, really, I was jut trying to make the world a better place.”

“Oh. In that case, you’re free to go. Sorry about that.”

I think we can. Good intentions are not enough. I think people have a moral responsibility to learn right from wrong; willful or negligent ignorance is probably morally reprehensible in itself, and certainly no excuse for perpetrating evil.

“It doesn’t matter what you do so long as your intentions are good” is no more defensible than “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.”

Why not (to ignorance)?

That’s not the way the law works. You need to show that you are incapable of understanding right and wrong, not that you just didn’t bother to learn.

Aside from all the answers granted already in this thread, I feel obliged to point out:

If Tila Tequila is the jumping-off point for your philosophical argument, something is horribly, horribly wrong. :smiley:

Consider the source: Tila Tequila is, if not an actual crazy person, at the very least a professional troll. Not that it would make her incapable of having a point, but you’ll pardon me if I don’t look to her for an ethical framework.

Well, he was a vegetarian and a teetotaler, and very fond of dogs.

That’s something, I guess.

No. It would be your duty to think about it a bit longer. Stupid or evil actions can’t be justified on the grounds of underlying stupid/evil beliefs.

George Wallace probably honestly believed that God had decreed that the races should be separated, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a dick.

I think he was jumping on the green bandwagon a little early, and made some misguided attempts to address Europe’s carbon footprint.

No, but the important thing about Wallace is that he changed. In the 1970s he renounced segregation and racism and sought forgiveness for his acts. He’s even the Alabama governor responsible for the largest appointments of blacks to the state cabinet.

Now, I’ve got no brief for Hitler, God knows. But to think of people all of a piece, without realizing how time can bring changes, is a mug’s game. We don’t know if Hitler could have recanted his views - we will never know - but the possibility is always there, however remote.

That said, given the totality of his life, Hitler was NOT a good man.

Even if you discount EVERYTHING else he did,
what he did to Blondi and her pups makes him deserve to burn in hell.

She also thinks Paul Walker’s murder was ritualistic and that she is God’s messenger. Oh, and she’s not an anti-Semite or anything, it’s just that “the Zionist Cabal doesn’t want you to know the truth but I will speak the truth for GOD since NO ONE ELSE HAS THE BALLS TO!” So yeah, I’d consider the source, a crazy person.

He’s very frequently condemned; the morality of the entire strategic bombing campaign is often debated. There was also a great deal of benefit gained for the war effort in the killing of all of those civilians, regardless of one’s view of the morality of having done so. There was no benefit gained to the German war effort in carrying out the Final Solution.