(WRITER) The Banality of Evil

July 6, 2016

 

During high school, there are always the bully and weak. Bully always attacks against the weak, but we forgot the middle man between them. They are us, who aren’t able to think clearly, and can’t find the justice. We ignore the fact that weaks are being bullied, yet we listen carefully to the Bully’s justification of making him stronger, perhaps they call “they are too lame, not cool” Now, we must consider the fact that we didn’t do any action, which we must consider this as an evil action as well. In that case we all consider to be a part of evil? Banality of Evil was written by Hannah Arendt in 1963, as a second chapter of “Eichmann in Jerusalem” for The New Yorker that asks us a question, and Milgram human experiment ended up proves we all could be as evil as Eichmann scientifically.

 

 

The story begins with Eichmann, who was held in Jerusalem for the trial for transporting 6 millions people to camps, as whom was in the responsible position. The entire world is watching this trial for what could justice will do. The result is hanging him up. Nevertheless, one jewish philosopher argues against entire world that how could we find a justice, if we couldn’t find the evilness through this “stupid” person.

 

 

 

The stupid person, Eichmann, whom Arendt described, argues that he doesn’t have responsibility on the action of sending people to where, Nazi “takes care” of. He said that he did, what he had to do due to achive his succession in that nazi government, perhaps self-serving egoistic idea of ignorance. There are many arguments that supports that he still could have made other decisions than “helping” the government. May be, he is trying to justify himself from being guilty. People anger more about what he said, because people think only the possibility that he wouldn’t feel sorry to jewish people for what he has done. But, Arendt came with a theory that he must not be called “Evil”, in fact we must consider his stupidity that he just followed an order that causes many casualties. Not being able to think clearly, that’s what we could consider his stupidity on sending so many people to the camp.

 

Arendt got strong criticism from the jewish community. At first, I could not understand why, and what Hannah actually argued about. In my logical sense, if we let Eichmenn go, we can find the justice in any case. But, Hannah never says that Eichmann wasn’t guilty. In fact, she didn’t actually think about finding the justice in the case. On the other hand, she questions to the readers about where is the line that we could call an evil. She argued that if jewish leaders somehow communicate better on Eichmann, the result might be different. Suddenly, eureka came to me… if that’s the case, should we also blame any of jewish people who were giving an info to Eichmann as well? Eichmann couldn’t possibly send 6 millions people in a certain location without any help, perhaps he offered something in between. I really misunderstood Hannah’s intention of bringing the topic of banality of evil into this case.

 

Yes, I already had a bias based on the fact that jewish were victims and weak. So, I didn't consider Eichmann’s behavior after all the things that he has done. He was completely norm about what he has done. He wasn’t as evil as I thought. On the other hand, his completely normal behavior made me feel very uncomfortable. It’s like, one of the bully says that everyone throws the stone to weak, and he felt peer pressure, so did he. Yes, he might be guilty on the law, but we can’t justify his moral status as an evil action.

 

 

In 2016, instead of having Anti Semitism, we are facing to a problem of Anti-muslim/ Terrorist problems. ISIS, Taliban, Boko Haram, sound very familiar to everyone. Let’s say, a child was kidnapped by ISIS. Than, ISIS brainwashed him over 5 years, and the boy becomes suicidal bomber. In his world, other than ISIS, no one is right, european and americans are the enemy, and they might kill his best colleague. In order to protect his friends and going to heaven after death, he has to bomb in a bus. Let’s say, somehow we captured the boy, what would he say? He will most likely say similar things that Eichmann said. Should we call this boy an evil for what he did or the system that he had been dealing with?

 

Not only that we must consider that the western people’s bias against muslim. It’s a discrimination against whole race, not the group of militia. There is no justification for hating group of people for what they didn’t do. On the other hand, these bias against the race might blind your judgement critically as well. Hannah is calling Eichmann as a person, who just didn’t think of what his action might occurs to the society, so as this child bombers… They didn’t realized that their action might occur to 6 millions’ life or perhaps 40 people’s life in the bus and then another war casualties. In this extreme case, we can’t simplify their “guilty” based on their stupidity.  Socrates argues that there is only one god, it’s knowledge, and only one evil called “ignorance” We must aware of what are actions are going to occur to. Not because, we don’t want ourselves to be in banality of the evil, but because the fact where we will be on.

I and my girlfriend had a disclosure after the learning Kant and Utilitarianism. She was close to Kantism, and I am close to utilitarianism. Now, we defined ourselves, and we knew where we were. However, I found myself that we all can’t be categorized easily. Because of the contradict circumstances that we are facing. Although, my girlfriend does follow what kant says, but she actually understand the importance of utilitarianism when she needs to do business. There isn’t a single answer for it. Now, Eichman also argued that he was following Kant’s Categorical imperative. Yes, he followed the “Universal” rule, and the rule was created by Hitler, who Eichman must follow, otherwise, he might lose everything that he had. In this case, we could justify Eichman’s action. But, he sent these 6 millions to the death. In this case could we justify his action in a name of universal law “don’t kill people”?

 

In my opinion, yes he could. It’s just my opinion that during the Nazi Era in Germany, people might not think Slav and Jewish were as human. Their racism were too strong that they forgot the fact that Slav and Jewish were human like themselves. This logic isn’t only stay in the Germany in that era. In the USA, the government didn’t count women, black, and asian as a human being, who didn’t have the vote until very recently. Were Anglo saxon male felt guilty rape, and murder their slave in 18th century in the USA? Probably they didn’t feel guilty. On the other hand, would you feel guilty racism against other races publically in the NYC? Yes you would be, it’s because you know the fact that races differences don’t matter, and you knew this because of the education and thinking processing.

 

Let’s discuss banality of evil effect in a contemporary society. Banality of evil is everywhere. You voted George Bush, many people did voting George Bush, and you didn’t think about the fact that Bush family had sent American Soldiers to Middle East. You might be “evil” under the circumstances that what Bush would do during his presidential status. At the end, about 500,000 Iraq people died, because of the war. Can Iraq people can call you an evil just like Israel people did on Eichmann? You are going to say “I just did vote, how could I know that there will 9/11, and Bush will send the war?”, and “I just did what others did, in fact my vote was majority” Don’t you feel, you’ve heard somewhere this? Eichmann said similar way. I did exaggerating the situation. Let’s go over some other cases that we can think of. How about, you’ve been collecting guns since your grand father’s era. One day, an elementary school was attached by a dude with automatic rifle, and 20 kids were died in the other state. You think it’s really nothing related with you, and in fact, you don’t even know the name of the dude. You talk to people that what an evil person the shooter is. It seems like there is no relationship between gun ownership and crimes, but these are very related when you think everyone could own a gun in the USA. You own a gun that means, you are contributing the gun industry indirectly whether you intended or not. Your lack of thinking of this processing is called banality of evil.

 

Are we all evil than? Perhaps we are truly are evil, Milgram’s experimental truly show us the fact that a single ordinary man can “kill” others without guilty for making $4 per an hour. Yes, it’s only happening, under the circumstances. But, the chances are there, and therefore we must aware the fact that we could kill others whenever there is the circumstances and it’s needed for “good”

 

I really don’t want to believe the fact that we all human have possible evil in ourselves. But, again, we could easily forget about all the evil acts that we are facing every single day. Even capitalism system itself is a partial evilness that we are dealing with. Capitalism is simple, you make profit, someone is losing the profit, you make really big shot, it means someone lost huge profit. Let’s think of american medical system. Hospital says, as long as you pay, we will make sure you will be cured. That sounds amazing, no matter how sick you are, they will do their best to cure you. In fact, most of us live longer than a king in 16th century. However, due to it’s demands, and hospital union’s ridiculous rule, hospitals charge you astronomical prices for your life whether you have money or not. These hopital related will say “It’s not my business, I am investing on a business, not the hospital system itself.”

 

A lots of parents taught us that if there is an accident, just ignore them, and do not be related with their business. Let’s say, there is a fighting between couple on the street. The girl is strongly beaten by the guy, so you helped her, and kick her boy friend. That’s an heroic action. But, what if the girl argued you that you shouldn’t be involved in couple’s  business? You might feel awkward, and you might become the weirdo, what others don’t even try to do -- Ignorance.  Now, according to Hannah, and Milgram, you might be one of the most evil people, who ignore the fact that what your action could occur to whether your action might result good, or evil action, you must think logically, and radically. But, there aren’t many people who are not radical, and logical enough to understand what they are capable of.

 

Stop being distracted by all kind of excitement and think. I am not really political person, but I know the fact that these political, or perhaps group of businessmen constantly challenge your thinkings. Even we know the fact that Trump is going to breakdown the entire country, we still supported him. British people know the fact that england’s absent in EU will affect on huge economical losing, but they left. It’s because the people are stop thinking in front of authority fear. Milgram’s experimental’s case these volunteers stop thinking but hitting the button under the pressure of “for the sake of helping society”, “Doctor says so”, on the other hand, Eichmann's case, “for the sake of German empire”, or “Furer says so!” Now it’s a question that we must ask ourselves that are we going to hit the “button” under the pressure of “For the sake of american people”, or “Successful businessman says so” ?

 

America is in a interesting situation comparing to all other third countries that have been to major league such as Korea, China, and India. These three countries case, education level is very high that they are competing with No 1 in science, and math each other. On the other hand, the richest nation, perhaps the country, which spent one of the biggest education budget country constantly fails to make their children into top level. I am very scared the fact that what if people started to stop thinking like Hannah described, and hitting a button that kill people easily like Milgram showed us? On the other hand, how could we tell american people to start thinking, and making a right decisions based on their thoughts, instead of being manipulated by all kind of distraction? These are the questions that we must ask.

 

 

 

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