When it is no longer possible to stretch those very elastic threads of the historical rational any farther, when an action is manifestly contrary to all that humanity calls right or even just, the historians resort to the device of "greatness." "Greatness" would appear to exclude the standards of right and wrong. For the "great" man nothing is wrong. There is no atrocity fo
r which a "great" man can be accounted guilty....
And it never occurs to anyone that to admit a greatness that is not commensurate with the standards of right and wrong is to merely to admit one's own nothingness and immeasurable puniness.
For us, with the standard of good and evil given us by Christ, there is nothing for which we have no standard. And there is no greatness where there is not goodness, simplicity, and truth.
-Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace