It was the supreme expression of the mediocrity of the apparatus that Stalin himself rose to his position.
(Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. My Life, ch. 40 (1930).
In his last book, Stalin (published 1947), drafted while in exile in Mexico, Trotsky wrote: "Our paths diverged so long ago and so far, and in my eyes he is so much the instrument of historical forces that are alien and hostile to me, that my feelings towards him differ little from those I have towards Hitler or the Mikado. The personal element burned out long ago." Trotsky was assassinated on Stalin's orders before the book could be finished.)
This crown to crown the laughing man, this rose-wreath crown: I myself have set this crown upon my head, I myself have pronounced my laughter holy.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 4, p. 366, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). Zarathustra, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Fourth and Last Part, "On the Higher Man," section 18 (issued privately in 1885, publication in 1892).)