Hannah arendt banality evil thesis

In more recent years, Arendt has received further criticism from authors Bettina Stangneth and Deborah Lipstadt . Stangneth argues in her work, Eichmann Before Jerusalem , that Eichmann was, in fact, an insidious antisemite. [21] She utilized the Sassen Papers and accounts of Eichmann while in Argentina to prove that he was proud of his position as a powerful Nazi and the murders that this allowed him to commit. While she acknowledges that the Sassen Papers were not disclosed in the lifetime of Arendt, she argues that the evidence was there at the trial to prove that Eichmann was an antisemitic murderer and that Arendt simply ignored this. [22] Deborah Lipstadt contends in her work, The Eichmann Trial , that Arendt was distracted by her own views of totalitarianism to objectively judge Eichmann. [18] She refers to Arendt's own work on totalitarianism, The Origins of Totalitarianism , as a basis for Arendt's seeking to validate her own work by using Eichmann as an example. [18] Lipstadt further contends that Arendt "wanted the trial to explicate how these societies succeeded in getting others to do their atrocious biddings" and so framed her analysis in a way which would agree with this pursuit. [18] These authors have continued the modern day notions that Arendt was wrong and irresponsible in her application of the banality of evil to Adolf Eichmann.

Arendt's essay On Violence distinguishes between violence and power. She maintains that, although theorists of both the Left and Right regard violence as an extreme manifestation of power, the two concepts are, in fact, antithetical. Power comes from the collective will and does not need violence to achieve any of its goals, since voluntary compliance takes its place. As governments start losing their legitimacy, violence becomes an artificial means toward the same end and is, therefore, found only in the absence of power. Bureaucracies then become the ideal birthplaces of violence since they are defined as the "rule by no one" against whom to argue and, therefore, recreate the missing links with the people they rule over.

I mean, you say — and you’re channeling Arendt — “When you have a refugee crisis, what you also have is a political, existential, and moral crisis about what a country is and who its citizens are.” And you also point out that possibly the reason this makes us panic is because what it puts before our eyes is, as you say, that if human rights are contingent that we in fact are all vulnerable. And of course, that is a terrifying thing. It’s a terrifying specter. But then we retreat. We respond to that vulnerability in a way that is punitive.

There was a gender dimension to Arendt’s pariah status (as there was for Varnhagen, the 18th-century assimilated German-Jewish salonnière whose biography Arendt had begun in the 1930s). Arendt’s friends and critics regarded her as a woman who had invaded the intellectual realm of men. In 1964, for instance, she appeared on Zur Person for a TV interview with Günter Gaus, a German equivalent of Charlie Rose or David Dimbleby. ‘Hannah Arendt, you’re the first lady to be portrayed in this series,’ Gaus began. ‘A lady with a profession some might regard as a masculine one. You are a philosopher.’

Her methods are as convincing as they are simple. The Eichmann scenes are inserted into the film as original documents, leaving the historical impact of reality untouched. Barbara Sukowa is brilliant as Arendt, a philosopher who embodied self-assurance and the capacity for love, the implacability of thought and the deep need for friendship in equal measure. The choice of an actress who bears no physical resemblance whatsoever to Arendt proves to be a godsend, because it eliminates any empathy kitsch from the start. The short scenes with actors who closely resemble the young Arendt (Friederike Becht) and the philosopher Martin Heidegger (Klaus Pohl), her professor and, for a time, her lover in the German university town of Marburg, confirm this to the most painful of degrees.

Hannah arendt banality evil thesis

hannah arendt banality evil thesis

There was a gender dimension to Arendt’s pariah status (as there was for Varnhagen, the 18th-century assimilated German-Jewish salonnière whose biography Arendt had begun in the 1930s). Arendt’s friends and critics regarded her as a woman who had invaded the intellectual realm of men. In 1964, for instance, she appeared on Zur Person for a TV interview with Günter Gaus, a German equivalent of Charlie Rose or David Dimbleby. ‘Hannah Arendt, you’re the first lady to be portrayed in this series,’ Gaus began. ‘A lady with a profession some might regard as a masculine one. You are a philosopher.’

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