Posts Tagged ‘Arendt’

Up In Smoke: EVIL OF BANALITY, Not Just Banality Of Evil!

September 2, 2018

Slash And Burn Planet: What Could Go Wrong?

Satellite pictures show that the planet is burning. Is that evil? Yes: when the biosphere goes up in flames, the end is near, just ask dinosaurs in a theater near you. Is that banal? No: it never happened before.

Yet, philosopher Hannah Arendt is most famous for describing evil with her concept of the “banality of evil”. She rolled out her banal notion in connection with Nazi mass criminal Eichmann. Arendt’s banality has been intensely criticized. She retorted that she wanted to make sure the devils of Nazism would not be admired. That’s banal too, and shouldn’t be the point.

Arendt’s grudge, that evil shouldn’t bring fame, is, by itself, an entire logical system implicating the notion of divinity. It’s vast, yet it’s one fundament of evil. However, precisely because it’s a pillar of evil, it makes Arendt’s attempt to belittle Nazis’ celebrity status, by claiming their evil was most banal, futile: evil, personified long ago,  achieved so much fame that Buddhism introduced Mara as their own version. Personalizing evil was known earlier as Angra Mainyu, and, a thousand years later, well before the Bible, as Hades, Pluto, etc.

Arendt admitted she was not really motivated by truth, but by what she viewed as the higher mission of belittling Nazism. This is of course troubling. Philosophers of ethics, and psychology, should know that (the philosophy known as the religion of) Hinduism  identified evil with untruth… No need for endowing evil with a personality! (In the matter of evil as untruth, Hinduism was probably inspired by the earlier Zoroastrianism; although Angra Manyu, later Hariman, personalized evil too, just to make sure…).


In truth, there is nothing banal about maximal evil. Horrendously evil acts accomplished by intelligent persons, are a metaphysical assertion: my belief in me, they say through their acts, or my god (me again!) is so great, that I can do the worst, and call it good. Self-satisfaction ensues, and that’s the ultimate. The song of the ultimately narcissist.


So what of these fires? Much of the American Pacific Northwest had the world’s worst pollution, during much of summer 2018. Some fires will have lasted many months. The devastation is unprecedented. I predicted as much, and more: the places I know which are ready to burn, have not burned yet. Consult the suitably dramatic personal observations last winter solstice:

CalFire, the Californian state fire department, observes that large trees are desiccated, ready to burn, all over the state.

August 2018. Human Activity Covers Planet with huge smoke clouds (in red and orange), from CO2 induced warming, hence burning, or slash & burn agriculture in Africa… Blue clouds: salt; white clouds: dust… even the massive forest fire near Berlin is visible…



So is it banal to observe that the planet is burning, or banal not to observe it? In any case, not to do anything about it is evil. Most will say that they can’t do a thing to prevent it. Well, no. Remember the Nazis. Who were the Nazis? Most Germans, actually. They went along, they collaborated with the Nazis, and the first thing they did was NOT to observe what was going on. It was banal for Germans, while enjoying Nazism, NOT to observe reality.

Actually, Hannah Arendt observes as much. She (implicitly) deduces that the judges of Eichmann should have said as much: the Nazi ideology was the normalcy of Germany, Eichmann was culprit of being extremely normal, all too normal. Mass murderer Eichmann was no freak: instead, he should have been executed as an official scapegoat, in lieu of, or as an extreme version of the ordinary German collaborating with the Nazi state.

And that collaboration consisted, first of all, by not seeing what was going on.

Yes I know that some will see in this an anti-Trump allusion; yet, clearly, the US Deep State is the major culprit of much evil, on a scale that makes Trump, so far, insignificant.   

As Margaret Kimberley @freedomrideblog put it:

McCain, Bush, and Obama all killed thousands of people. Trump has a much smaller body count but he is the one being vilified today. (Of course he has at least 2 more years so he can catch up.) And no I’m not a Trump supporter.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is a cover-up to dissimulate much greater horrors: in particular that globalization which is mostly a world plutocratitization, or new ways, such as Obama droning children personally, as executor-of-the-innocent-in-chief. Or Obama, Bernanke and their European homologues directing thousands of billions of dollars towards the wealthiest institutions in the world, apparently to reward them for causing a worldwide financial crisis…

The real Nazi-like phenomenon in the USA has been the incapacity to see what the US Deep State did, or didn’t do. And the same critique can be extended to Europe: Europeans have not even seen that Nazism itself was an instrument, and partly, a creation of the US Deep State. Eichmann learned that the hard way, when the Brits and Menachem Begin refused to further the negotiations for exchanging a million Jews against 10,000 trucks (“Forget the damned trucks!” would Begin later interject…) The mood, of ignoring the holocaust of the Jews, came from Washington…

One sees best, with simplicity: had the USA wanted to stop Nazism, at any point, it would have been enough to expose the Nazi crimes for all the (German) population to see, and warn that any civilian, officer or soldier thus implicated would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Because the USA didn’t try, was careful NOT to try, to stop Nazism by making a threatening scandal, as the German generals had asked as early as 1937, one is led to observe that the US Deep State wanted Nazism around.

Learning that the Nazis were preparing to further exterminate part of the Alsatian population, French general Leclerc warned that:

“The German army doesn’t obey anymore, when dealing with civilian populations, to the laws of war. Villages are systematically burned, inhabitants shot to death, or deported… I warn officially the German Command that I will, step by step, proceed to make formal observations, and that I find out, every time, the name of the officers who are responsible. Whatever the number of weeks, or months during which Germany will succeed to extend the war, she will have to surrender. I will employ all my influence so that justice will be done.”

(Général Leclerc to Général Feuchtinger.)

Result: the Germans and their Nazis (was there a difference?) stopped their exactions, their mass criminality, in Alsace.

What was the main point there, the basis of it all? Leclerc observed reality.

The planet is burning, let’s observe reality. When Angela Merkel pushed, and pushes, to burn lignite (the worst coal), she is a mass criminal. When Obama pushed for fracking (“bridge fuel” he called it!), and to export coal to China, he was a mass criminal (yes, Trump is trying to extend that… but coal is condemned, even China doesn’t want it anymore; the real problem is fracking…). And Trudeau in Canada is just a fake: the oil from bituminous sands are the worst. And Trudeau doesn’t have the excuses of the Third World countries with nothing but fossil fuels to export: Canada is wealthy… Yes, I know, some will say they didn’t see a fire coming to their neighborhood yet. However the disruption caused by a gathering nefarious climate change can’t be underestimated, and is already happening (see the African refugee crisis, the war in Syria, etc.)

So just look before you even think, but honestly… Now, to see what others don’t want to see, requires to ban banality. Thus expunging the evil of banality needs to become one of the moral commandments to obey. Should we fancy civilization to survive longer than expected.

Nietzsche promoted the Eternal Return of the Same, something which, strictly speaking, never happened. Instead, the universe is a force that goes. The closest thing to an eternal return, is the return of human creativity… Easily spontaneously spawning, as long as we ban banality!

Patrice Ayme



Here is part of the French original of Leclerc’s warning, which stopped the Nazis dead in their mass murdering tracks. The Western “democracies” had ten years before that to express a similarly strongly worded warning to the Nazis and their obsequious servants, but they didn’t:

Facing the Vor Vogensen Stellung (1re ligne de défense), before dashing through Alsace with the giant Second Armored French Division, Leclerc a connaissance d’exactions allemandes. Il adresse une lettre de mise en garde au Kampfkommandant de Baccarat :

« L’armée allemande n’obéit plus, vis-à-vis des populations civiles, aux lois de la guerre. Des villages sont systématiquement brûlés, les habitants fusillés ou déportés… L’ordre de déportation de la population de Baccarat et de celle de Raon-l’Étape vient d’être donné… J’avertis officiellement le commandement allemand que je vais faire, au fur et à mesure, des constats et que je relève, chaque fois, les noms des officiers responsables. Quel que soit le nombre de semaines, de mois pendant lesquels l’Allemagne réussira encore à prolonger la guerre, elle devra bientôt s’incliner. J’emploierai tout mon poids à ce que justice soit faite. »

— Général Leclerc au Général Feuchtinger  

Leclerc’s maneuver was not banal. Had he been banal, he would have done nothing, like all other Allied generals before him, and thus, he would have partaken in evil…

WRATH OF GOOD: No Evil, No Good.

May 30, 2009


No Wrath Of Good Means All Good For Evil.


Abstract: Sheep are good, but, even when they bleat long and hard, they do not advance civilization, let alone goodness.  Sometimes goodness needs to use force, to enforce a higher good.


Bob Herbert in the New York Times, following Elie Wiesel, courageously points out that: “The tendency to draw an impenetrable psychic curtain across the worst that the world has to offer is understandable. But it’s a tendency that must be fought.” (May 30, 2009).

“It is so much easier to look away from victims,” said Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor, at the White House in 1999. “It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes…. But indifference to the suffering of others “is what makes the human being inhuman… The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees — not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.”

All very true. Feeling the pain of others helps to get going.

Still, seeing the humanity of others is not enough to address horror in full. The torturers can easily pose as victims. They whine that they have to torture, or they will not be safe. They have to bomb the world, because there, somewhere, there is that man, those terrorists, the bad ones who did such and such… 

Hence, even if we see the victim, and feel the pain, we have to see the torturer, and the executioner, for what they are, and then find the courage to ask the torturer, and the executioner, and the bomber, and those serious ones who send the flying robots, to cease and desist. And then if the torturer and the executioner do not stop, then what?

Some bring on even more empathy, and end up helping the executioners, as Hannah Arendt showed (enraging masses of treacherous, uncomprehending sheep). The passivity of Jewish organizations faced with Nazism, was indeed amazing: it often turned to collaboration. Mercifully, the oldest and strongest democracies had a better wisdom of history.

On September 1, 1939, France and Britain, the democracies, sent an ultimatum to Adolf Hitler: cease and desist within 48 hours, or we declare war. On September 3, 1939, around 11 am, the democracies, France and Britain, declared war to the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Within a few days several nations of the British empire followed: Canada, Australia, India… Within days 45 divisions of the French army attacked, while the Poles were fighting for their lives.

What did the USA do in all this? Good question: an impenetrable psychic curtain had come down across the worst of the American soul. Indeed, American corporations went in overdrive in their collaboration with Hitler.

For example, the Ethyl Corporation of America rushed air fuel additive supplies to Hitler’s Air Force, which had run out of them, and would have stayed on the ground, if not replenished. That would have been disastrous for Hitler’s army, which depended upon air power (Hitler’s Air Force would lose about 5,000 planes in the next year of war against France and Britain!).

Soon, Hitler’s ally, Stalin, attacked Poland from the east, and invaded. Meanwhile the Nazis air bombed flour mills, so that the Poles would starve during winter, which is rough under those continental latitudes. Just to make sure, the Nazis opened a huge concentration camp in the most insalubrious part of Poland, a swamp at Auschwitz. They stuffed it with Poles, and made it so that they would die in great numbers. The Nazis would kill six million Poles in the next 6 years.

A few months later, full of American technology and direct investment, fueled by the Soviets, Hitler got lucky, and, after a battle that killed a few hundred thousands people, invaded France.

And the USA waited… It was not clear whether the USA was waiting for the success of murderous racism, or the fall of Great Britain. The suspense lasted more than 2 years. Finally, dictatorial Japan attacked and then declared war to the USA on December 7, 1941. And what did the USA do? The USA waited some more. On December 11, 1941, Hitler declared war to the USA.

But what if Hitler and the Japanese military leaders had not been so stupid? Well, the USA did not intent to go to war in 1942. It was firmly intent to wait some more. Good things happen to those who wait. Let’s not forget that Hitler’s regime was racist (among other things, it sterilized Germans of partial African descent), and the USA was racist too. No doubt millions in the USA would have preferred a world racial order, and an alliance with those that tried to make it so.

In the same vein, although the holocaust of the Jews (and others) was known since the French government denounced it in fall of 1940, the Western Allies did not bother to threaten the Nazis about it (although the Nazis had made a big noise about the massacre of 23,000 Polish officers by the Soviets).

Morality of all this history? Arendt pointed out that: “Death begins its reign of terror when life becomes the highest good.” That’s deep.

Conscience without the will to use force is only devastation of a beautiful soul. To fight Satan, cognition is not enough. To fight Satan, empathy is not enough. To fight Satan, demonic minds is what it takes. Otherwise it’s all just about the pathetic whining of the weasel in the night.

Such is the paradox of ultimate goodness. To be truly good, it’s not enough to be good. It is even counter-indicated to be good all the time.

The wrath of good cannot be foiled by death. Goodness is what gives meaning to death, and death is its ultimate instrument. The devil is in the details of the goodness,  and the goodness rests in detailing evil as needed. Too much whining about the victims is just self serving fluff, it is not what righteous warriors do. Right and might is what goodness makes.


Patrice Ayme


Note: The necessity of evil in the realm of goodness was long guessed by Judeo-Christo-Islamism. Still, it’s hard to explain: in the Qur’an God angrily warns the faithful to never dare ask him this sort of question, and of his relation with the Djinns (demons made of light). God says it’s nothing they can understand, but whatever is said about it, it’s false.