Ideas have consequences. This is a statement that can be proven, whatever time period you look at. As far back in time as history books go, great people and nations have had seemingly great ideas, which when implemented, resulted in mass disaster.
Take for example the ancient Aztec Indians. They believed that the sun was actually a living being, and that for it to sustain its light and heat source, it had to ingest human blood. Well, the only way for the sun to eat human blood was for the Aztecs to sacrifice some of their own people. In fact, they annually sacrificed between twenty and fifty thousand young men, virgins, and children! This idea not only led to the sacrifice of some of their own, but it led to a hatred between the Aztecs and their neighbors, because it was necessary for their theology to make war to have enough humans to sacrifice. Now for an example we’re all familiar with. Adolf Hitler was a great leader, a fluent speaker, and was terribly persuasive and motivating. His idea of there being a “chosen race” that was inherently superior to all other races, brought on the disaster we know as the Holocaust. Once again, a seemingly good idea, from an intelligent man, turned into the largest mass-murder of all times. Another idea that has had negative consequences is that of excess capitalism due to Calvinism. The thinking that God has chosen His “few” who are going to make it into heaven regardless of what they do, or how they behave here on earth, has driven people to stomp on others to get ahead in life. This mentality has resulted in a class of people who are incredibly rich while not giving a second glance to those people they ruined on their quest for the top.
Sometimes the consequences of these ideas aren’t apparent immediately, in fact, they normally don’t surface during their author’s lifetime. If only the minds behind these ideas could have foreseen the consequences of their great ideas, perhaps they would not have implemented them. One has to wonder, however, if these thinkers had not entertained these ideas, how long would it have been until someone else did?