Reading this quote from Dostoevsky’s House of the Dead novel reminded me of Stalin, Hitler, Mao and their totalitarian regimes that brought the enslavement and destruction of so many tens of millions. “Tyranny is a habit capable of being developed, and at last becomes a disease. I declare that the best man in the world can become hardened and brutified to such a point, that nothing will distinguish him from a wild beast. Blood and power intoxicate; they aid the development of callousness and debauchery; the mind then becomes capable of the most abnormal cruelty in the form of pleasure; the man and the citizen disappear forever in the tyrant; and then a return to human dignity, repentance, moral resurrection, becomes almost impossible. That the possibility of such license has a contagious effect on the whole of society there is no doubt. A society which looks upon such things with an indifferent eye, is already infected to the marrow.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The House of the Dead; or, Prison Life in Siberia / with an introduction by Julius Bramont (Kindle Locations 3557-3562). Kindle Edition.