Even scholars well familiar with the horrors of the Great Leap Forward occasionally refuse to call Mao Zedong a murderer.  Why not?  Because Mao didn’t know.  People kept telling him that his crazy agricultural schemes were working wonders.  What does he supposed to do?  But the great Tacitus answers all these doubts in a typically wisdom-packed sentence:

Fear is not in the habit of speaking truth; when perfect sincerity is expected, perfect freedom must be allowed; nor has anyone who is apt to be angry when he hears the truth any cause to wonder that he does not hear it.