Sep
19
2013

I… understand the moral quandary, here.

But it’s a moral quandary that requires the assumption that evil is a supernatural force that exists independently of perceived reality. If there is no evil, then what’s the big deal about discovering that your beloved great-grandfather (at least) would have been a bloodthirsty mass murderer and tyrant in an alternate timeline? He never killed anybody in your world, right?  I mean, I’m sure that if alternate timelines do exist then there’s a few out there where I’m a thoroughly rotten human being. Or you are. Or [INSERT NAME HERE] is. I’m not really losing sleep over it.

Still, I supposed that it’d be a bit jarring, in that specific case.

Moe Lane

PS: Sorry about this post avoiding spoilers.  My blogging is a little clumsy this week, I know.

12 Comments

  • qixlqatl says:

    I didn’t really get it…. I guess I’m pretty simpe, ‘cus all I can think is “Evil is as evil does….”

  • Luke says:

    That would be such an awesome result!
    .
    Seriously.
    She hasn’t changed, despite now having different genetic inputs.
    The connotations of that would take quite awhile to work through, but it would at least put the nature vs. nurture question firmly to rest. (For the individual in question, anyway. Sharing the discovery would result in spending time in a padded room.)

    • Luke says:

      Although “I redeemed my Grandpa before I was even born” would admittedly be a bit odd.

    • sicsemperstolidissimum says:

      Adolph could have been a second husband, who helped raise a kid he wasn’t related to by blood, or there could have been a straight up adoption. Not likely, maybe, given that good deal of his personality was probably set by young adulthood.

  • sicsemperstolidissimum says:

    Well, Hitler may well have killed somebody during WWI, but it needn’t have been murder.
    .
    I’ve played with the ‘Hitler goes to America’ notion myself.
    .
    Since I think the existence of the Soviet Union was the decisive driving factor in WWII, my ‘no Hitler’ scenarios tend to have an attempt at a counterweight, which may or may not be successful, and may or may not be German.
    .
    There is room for authorial fiat to rule that the German effort to counter the soviets could have been successful, and also, thanks in part to communist influence, mad and evil.
    .
    Lessee. Stalin and Mao are underused in these exercises. I tend to think that Japan’s issues had been building up for a while, and hence are less susceptible to plausible AUs of this sort. But really, that just provides an excuse to bring real world stuff into fanfic of all those Taisho AUs the Japanese write where they totally aren’t gearing up for and escalating to WWII.
    .
    I don’t have a particularly charitable view of the level of evil of the average ordinary everyday human being.
    .
    To go further, Moe has Democrat ancestors, and I have Democrat ancestors. We are both descended from agricultural populations. The spread of agriculture appears to be more a matter of the initial agriculture populations displacing and killing the hunter gatherers than hunter gatherers learning agriculture. Furthermore, we are both alive and hence from extant populations. Extant populations earned that position by driving other populations into extinction.

    • Jeffstag says:

      Without an agressive Germany, the counter to Stalin is Mao. The war in the Pacific still would have happened, but been completely different (the atomic bomb is never developed, for instance, Einstein et al are still in Germany). In reality, Russia eventually declared war on Japan, but very late. Without Germany to tie them up, this would have happened much sooner and the russians would have taken a more active role, settling old scores from the 1907 Russian-Japanese war and claiming ground in Japanese held Mongolia for the Motherland. The Chinese Mao-Chek rivalry and eventual revolution still would have happened, but now with the Soviets playing a role. The east rather than the west would be Stalin’s focus until his death. With greater help from the Brits through Australia and Burma as well as Soviet help, the Pacific War is bloody but short. Without the massive, long war, the great leaps in technology do not happen. The jet age and the atomic age are slower in coming. The auto stylist don’t have the same insperations. All technology is slower in coming (printed circuit boards, computers, even plastic (we’ld stick with Bakelite much longer)). The 60’s hippies doen’t grow up in a 1950’s afraid of atomic war. Heck, the post war baby boom probably doesn’t happen. The social fabric of the country develops along differt lines. The world would be completely unrecognisable. American cars are not as advanced and look more Eurpoean in their design. Computers are at the ‘Pong’ stage and completely different. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were born too early to take part in the computer revolution of the 2010’s (if they were still born at all) so there’s no such things as ‘Windows’ or ‘IPhones’ but something else developed by differnt wonderkids. Everything from airplanes to energy drinks would be completely different to the point that a time traveler returning from neutralizing Hitler would not be able to function in the new society he created.

      • Jeffstag says:

        Crap, that one kind of got away from me. Too long.

      • Jeffstag says:

        Here’s exactly what I was thinking about. Ed Driscoll has a column (http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/09/20/from-bauhaus-to-baracks-house/)
        that, among other things, mentions hippy culture as tracing its roots back to German philosophy brought here in the 1930’s by thinkers fleeing Nazi oppression (The nazis cracked down on Bauhaus and arrested the top people). If Hitler had been accepted to art school in Ohio, this change in American thinking at universities would not have happened and (through a reading of the Driscoll article) the social changes leading from moderism of the ’50’s through the 70’s would not have happened (or been radically differnt).

      • midwestconservative says:

        So, I guess I should be glad that millions of people died so that I could play Battlefield 4 on X Box 360?

        • Jeffstag says:

          well, that’s one way to look at it I suppose. I guess the bigger point is that if you pull on some historical threads, the whole thing can come unraveled in unexpected ways.

  • Neil Stevens says:

    Isn’t there a book about Stalin emigrating from the Russian Empire to America?

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