May Quote of the Day: “I don’t mean government money, everyone steals that,” (Brothers Karamazov)

 

Dmitri shows up and appears half-insane to Pyotr Ilyitch.

By the way, Pyotr Ilyitch, I wanted to ask you: have you ever stolen anything in your life?”

“What a question!”

“Oh, I didn’t mean anything. From somebody’s pocket, you know. I don’t mean government money, every one steals that, and no doubt you do, too….”

“You go to the devil.”

“I’m talking of other people’s money. Stealing straight out of a pocket? Out of a purse, eh?”

“I stole twenty copecks from my mother when I was nine years old. I took it off the table on the sly, and held it tight in my hand.” “Well, and what happened?” “Oh, nothing. I kept it three days, then I felt ashamed, confessed, and gave it back.”

Dmitri is a bizarre character in Brothers Karamazov. He has a strong sense of morality but it is eccentric to say the least. I find this quote hilarious because Dmitri immediately thinks of government money as not other people’s money.

What’s interesting is that Dmitri brags to his friends that he is willing to kill his father to obtain his mother’s inheritance that he believes is rightly his. Dmitri would rather be a murderer than a thief. If he believed that his father owed him 9,000 rubles. He would kill his father to take the 9,000 but he wouldn’t take a Kopec* more. Yet government money is always being stolen as if it is little concern. 

It seems that Dostoevsky saw the immorality emerging out of big government money before almost anybody else. 

*like a Russian nickel

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There are 12 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    Henry Castaigne: It seems that Dostoevsky saw the immorality emerging out of big government money before almost anybody else. 

    Were one to look to Roman and Greek writings, one might find earlier precedents. Russia was The Third Rome, after all.

    • #1
    • May 23, 2019, at 4:23 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. SkipSul Moderator

    Henry Castaigne: It seems that Dostoevsky saw the immorality emerging out of big government money before almost anybody else. 

    Dostoevsky certainly did see that, and much else besides.

    • #2
    • May 23, 2019, at 7:22 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Percival Thatcher

    Henry Castaigne:

    Dmitri is a bizarre character in Brothers Karamazov. He has a strong sense of morality but it is eccentric to say the least. I find this quote hilarious because Dmitri immediately thinks of government money as not other people’s money.

     

    Ivan is the empiricist brother, or he would be if he hadn’t bought into the Church of Socialism.

    Aloysha is the spiritual brother. He attempts to perceive the world through the lens of his faith.

    Dimitri is the eldest brother. He is only a half-brother to the other two, and is torn between the opposite poles they represent. He talks about being capable of great sin, but …

    That is vastly simplified, but I am vastly simple, so there you go.

    • #3
    • May 23, 2019, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. We have many days left on the June Signup SheetWe even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #4
    • May 23, 2019, at 7:49 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Skyler Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Russia was The Third Rome, after all.

    Everyone wants to be Rome. Just like every college/university thinks they are the harvard of the west/midwest/south, etc. I’m not sure why anyone would want to be like harvard or from there, and I am not sure if claiming to be a third Rome is either valid or laudatory.

    I’ve never heard Russia called a third Rome before. I suppose that could have something to do with the title of Tsar, which comes from the word, Caesar. Other than that etymology, there is little to link it to Rome. The Roman Empire never got that far north, or even close.

    • #5
    • May 23, 2019, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • Like
  6. Arahant Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard Russia called a third Rome before.

    The second Rome was Constantinople. The Russians have been claiming Moscow was the Third Rome since the Fifteenth Century. Yep, pretty much since Constantinople fell.

    • #6
    • May 23, 2019, at 1:18 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Skyler Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard Russia called a third Rome before.

    The second Rome was Constantinople. The Russians have been claiming Moscow was the Third Rome since the Fifteenth Century. Yep, pretty much since Constantinople fell.

    I imagine that no one but Russians ever believed that claim.

    Constantinople was really the second capital of original Roman Empire. But these kinds of claims don’t have to make sense.

    It’s the classic argument about whether you still have the same ship if you’ve replaced all the timbers. Is it still the Roman Empire if you move the capital? Then split in two? And speak Greek? And become Christian?

    As for the Russians, their claim sounds like something Chekov would say on Star Trek.

    • #7
    • May 23, 2019, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Arahant Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    As for the Russians, their claim sounds like something Chekov would say on Star Trek.

    Doesn’t matter what you think, it has been part of their mythos for more than five-and-a-half centuries. If you read the link, the Russian Emperors were also descended from the Paleologai. They also had religious reasons for their claims. Over two hundred years ago, The Emperor Paul offered the Knights of St. John refuge in Russia after they lost Malta, because he was keeping to this belief that his ancestors had claimed for centuries.

    • #8
    • May 23, 2019, at 1:42 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    As for the Russians, their claim sounds like something Chekov would say on Star Trek.

    Doesn’t matter what you think, it has been part of their mythos for more than five-and-a-half centuries. If you read the link, the Russian Emperors were also descended from the Paleologai. They also had religious reasons for their claims. Over two hundred years ago, The Emperor Paul offered the Knights of St. John refuge in Russia after they lost Malta, because he was keeping to this belief that his ancestors had claimed for centuries.

    The Knights of St. John, AKA the Knights of Malta, AKA the Knights of Rhodes, AKA the Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

    The heading on the stationery is a real mess.

    Tsar Paul was Grandmaster. Theoretically, he could have ordered the Knights to Moscow, but he died three years later.

    • #9
    • May 23, 2019, at 2:29 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Skyler Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Doesn’t matter what you think, it has been part of their mythos for more than five-and-a-half centuries.

    Which was kind of my point. :)

    • #10
    • May 23, 2019, at 2:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  11. SkipSul Moderator

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard Russia called a third Rome before.

    The second Rome was Constantinople. The Russians have been claiming Moscow was the Third Rome since the Fifteenth Century. Yep, pretty much since Constantinople fell.

    Some Serbs I know refer to Moscow rather derisively as the 2nd Belgrade – lots of other slavs get annoyed with Russ chauvinism.

    • #11
    • May 24, 2019, at 6:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. The Reticulator Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard Russia called a third Rome before.

    The second Rome was Constantinople. The Russians have been claiming Moscow was the Third Rome since the Fifteenth Century. Yep, pretty much since Constantinople fell.

    Some Serbs I know refer to Moscow rather derisively as the 2nd Belgrade – lots of other slavs get annoyed with Russ chauvinism.

    Pan-slavism is fun!

    • #12
    • May 24, 2019, at 7:02 AM PDT
    • 3 likes