The banality of banality
Washington Times columnist Suzanne Fields becomes the latest to step into the practically necessary versus morally repugnant debate on torture, albeit with an interesting focus on how Americans emotionally responded to 9/11:
The debate has moved away from making pre-emptive laws for the future that forbid using such techniques to seeking revenge against those who in a moment of collective panic thought the techniques they used were legal and necessary to save American lives.
What a difference eight years make.
We forget the agony, the gruesome details of the deaths of the victims in the Twin Towers, all of which had us feeling that “there but for the grace of God go I.” We forget our fears at the sound of a plane overhead, our suspicious glances at the “swarthy” man sitting next to us in a crowded theater, sports arena or outdoor concert. We forget how eagerly we embraced the tedious obstacles to our personal freedoms that we confront every time we board an airplane.
She’s also the latest to refer to Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil:
Evil is never banal. Hanna Arendt was wrong. Evil is fascinating and provocative and focuses the mind. Adolf Eichmann may have been a boring man to know. He may have thought he was merely a bureaucrat following orders, but his acts forever fascinate the human mind in our attempt to understand how he could have done what he did without a conscience, without remorse.
Copies must be flying off the shelves these days.