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Friday, January 10, 2014

Truthdig Review of Hannah Arendt's last interviews

Review of Truthdig article on Hannah Arent's Final Inteview

Truthdig has a review by Andrew Nagorski of a collection of the final interviews given by Hannah Arendt shortly before she died in 1975.

The review is worth reading, and so is the book of interviews:

Thinking Itself is Such a Dangerous Enterprise

The review is very good and highlights some important details of the background of her last days. She died sort of "in media res" still fighting the battle of clear thinking versus dogma and exploitation, and Nagorski notes that she believed that "critical thought always challenges and undermines established rules and conventional wisdom"

“Thinking itself is such a dangerous enterprise.”

Destroying the Legend of the Greatness of Evil

Personally I think her choice of wording might have been better. When she was writing about the "banality of evil" and used the expression; "banality of evil" she wasn't saying that evil wasn't evil. As Nagorski points out, when the nasty folks who'd been the self promoting "master race" faced trial they all were suddenly merely: "obeying orders" -- even the ones who had directed those orders. And when she said “There’s something outrageously stupid about this,” and: “The whole thing is simply comical!” As Nagorski notes "“comical” clearly doesn’t mean ha-ha funny". If you read the transcripts of the Nuremberg trial you'll see the pathetic nasty distusting nature anti-semitism, of hatred and evil itself. and the absolute muddy selfish, greedy, Pathetic nastiness of evil. As she states and Nagorski Highlights in his review:

“One of my main intentions was to destroy the legend of the greatness of evil, of the demonic force,” she told Errera. To that end, she wanted to prove that “if there was anyone who deprived himself of any demonic aura, it was Herr Eichmann.”

Pathetic People not Great People

Not big, giant, mighty demons, just pathetic, sad, sick things. And a continuing battle, as folks doing evil always want to paint themselves as "good people" making the "hard decisions" or even heroic. The word she should have used was "pathetic."

Eichmann and the rest of them were pathetic, not heroic. And their later day imitators are too.

the review:
Book of Interviews at Amazon:

Further Reading

Written 1/10/2014, Added some headers, formating and the following list of links:

Trump's GOP Totalitarian Movement and Totalitarian Propaganda
Hannah Arendt Trump and the Stateless
The Dictator in Front of the Mob
Hannah Arendt on Donald Trump's Mob
Our Democratic Movement is not Totalitarian
The Power of Doublespeak
Being a Little Less Naive about Politics
Authoritarians and Totalitarians, Altemeyer & Arendt
EMAD Trump
Subsidiarity and Fascism

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