Monday, January 21, 2008

Terribly and Terrifyingly Normal



The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. 

From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together, for it implied 

— as had been said at Nuremberg over and over again by the defendants and their counsels — 

that this new type of criminal, who is in actual fact hostis generis humani, commits his crimes under circumstances that make it well-nigh impossible for him to know or to feel that he is doing wrong.
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Hannah Arendt
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
(1963)
Epilogue
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2 Comments
Lin said...
As we all are Eichmann's except by the Grace of God and/or restraint of the civil authorities.

January 21, 2008 6:57 PM

Cindy said...
Hallelujah!
But for God's grace, there go I.
I'm reminded of Fanny Crosby's hymn:O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, To every believer the promise of God; The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

January 21, 2008 7:15 PM