‘It’s difficult to argue with numbers – if numbers are accepted as an argument.’

On the certainties that underlied communism, the ethics of quantitative and qualitative.

“Everyone who went over to communism had to accept the Leninist principle that you couldn’t make omelettes without breaking eggs. That was the first thing. But a basic question arose here, and I asked myself: what certainty is there; where are the criteria for that certainty? I was defenseless in my debate with Nowogrodzki because he showered me with numbers, and it’s difficult to argue with numbers – if numbers are accepted as an argument. One could use as a counter-argument Ivan Karamazov’s position that all the harmony of the universe is not worth the single tear of a child that has been wronged. Obviously, a certain gradation could be introduced here as God did with Abraham and Sodom. Not one tear but ten, or ten children. But as soon as one enters Marxism, several unspoken assumptions are accepted. The omelette is the first assumption, and the second is that numbers are an argument, that one can have a certain faith in determination, not only qualitative but quantitative. Qualitative determination is typical not only of Marxism and communism but also of many religions. But the quantitative (Abraham and Sodom: ten yes, but eleven no) is the contribution of French scientism: quantity as an ethical argument, the majority, the minority, what constitutes the majority. It all follows from that. It follows that fractions cannot exist, that the minority must without further discussion submit to the decrees, worldview, and theories of the party majority.”

From my current read, My Century, by Aleksander Wat.

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