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October 30, 2007

The medical problems of evil

First, we hear that Karl Marx's skin condition may have "influenced" his writings. (via HotAir)

"In addition to reducing his ability to work, which contributed to his depressing poverty, hidradenitis greatly reduced his self-esteem," said Shuster, who published his findings in the British Journal of Dermatology.

"This explains his self-loathing and alienation, a response reflected by the alienation Marx developed in his writing."
Yeah, that's the ticket. Self-loathing and alienation caused by his medical problems. He didn't really believe any of that stuff about the owning the means of production and the exploitation of labor.

Next, we hear that Hitler had a major problem with flatulence. (via Fark)
It may sound like a Woody Allen scenario, but medical historians are unanimous that Adolf was the victim of uncontrollable flatulence. Spasmodic stomach cramps, constipation and diarrhea, possibly the result of nervous tension, had been Hitler’s curse since childhood and only grew more severe as he aged. As a stressed-out dictator, the agonizing digestive attacks would occur after most meals: Albert Speer recalled that the Führer, ashen-faced, would leap up from the dinner table and disappear to his room.

This was an embarrassing problem for a ruthless leader of the Third Reich. With uncharacteristic concern for his fellow human beings, Hitler had first tried to cure himself when he was a rising politician in 1929 by poring over medical manuals, coming to the conclusion that a largely veg diet would calm his turbulent digestion as well as make his farts less offensive to the nose.
At least, the article doesn't claim Hitler devised the Endlösung as a result of that condition. And as much of a fan of flatulence humor as I am, I strongly object to anything like this that humanizes the man, even if it also makes him look silly. I'm not saying it's not true; about that, I'm not going to do any independent research. I'm just saying that spending time discussing his aroma instead of his evil is not, on balance, a good thing. (Having just done it myself.)