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The Worst People Never Know How Bad They are

Starting to catch up on my reading. As it has been in the past, James Joyner’s Outside The Beltway [1] is among my first stops:

John Hawkins [2]‘ unscientific survey of conservative bloggers on The 25 Worst Figures In American History is revealing.


James Joyner

Aside from Richard Nixon and a couple of traitors and assassins, the list is almost completely made up of Democratic politicians and liberal activists:

23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)

19) Alger Hiss (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)

13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)

11) John Wilkes Booth (10)
11) Margaret Sanger (10)
9) Aldrich Ames (11)
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)
7) Ted Kennedy (14)
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)

5) Benedict Arnold (17)
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)
4) The Rosenbergs (19)
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)

As Steve Bainbridge [4] and Jim Geraghty [5] have already noted, this is just bizarre.   Bainbridge rightly observes that the list “reflects the partisan passions of the moment, not anything resembling a serious verdict of history.”

I am not so sure. James says:

To me, such a list should be reserved for people who had a large impact and who intentionally did evil, not simply those who acted according to the widespread beliefs of the day that are now viewed as repugnant.

But who admits to themselves that thay’re doing evil? Who doesn’t couch their actions however immoral, in a moralistic crusade, or at least in moral neutrality?  I should point out that Stalin, Hitler and a few others of that level of evil were not intentionally DOING evil, but as James says “acted according to the widespread beliefs of the day that are now viewed as repugnant.”

You see, I look at it that the people whose evil had the widest impact on the world, are invariably the ones who thought they were doing no harm. Perhaps that’s why liberals made it to John’s list in such large percentages, for so it is with the liberal mindless set. This demonstrates the danger in the power of government. How much evil has been done with the power of government in the name of doing good?

I will say that Jimmy Carter making #1 on the list is a product of the amount of time that has passed. I suggest Woodrow Wilson should have been #1… and that the only reason he isn’t there is because so few people know the kind of evil Wilson represented, whereas more people of today know Carter having survived his presidency.

Government schools, you see, are not teaching this stuff.  I suggest that’s one reason we no longer have the ability to detect evil… it’s not being taught as such.