Montag, November 17, 2008

The Banality of Evil...

Every nation has its deep, dark secrets. The things it's not proud of. There are no exceptions, just as every person has such secrets, such things that it doesn't want published for the world to see.

This is chilling.

If even only partially true, and the author agrees that there is a credibility problem, just as refugee Jews had credibility problems in the 1930s, then China has a lot of explaining to do. More exactly: the Chinese government.

The banality of evil has been well established: evil isn't only about those who actively harm and destroy, such as child rapists and molesters, or even about those who by force of character try to realize their twisted dreams, such as Hitler or Pol Pot. Evil can be extraordinarily ordinary, of those "just doing their jobs", deliberately clueless about what they did and do. This is what makes evil so perfidious: you don't have to be evil, corrupt and debased, to do evil. All you have to do is stop thinking and be that cog in the death machinery.

The article points out that this is something that no one wants to talk about in public.

Indeed no one does. That is part of the banality of evil: it's easier not to do good under these circumstances.

It's still wrong, and while it may hurt, it will also be necessary for China to understand what has happened in China, to account not just for the blind, raging and merciless whims of Mao, but also the sheer bloody-mindedness of his successors.

China has a lot to be proud of. But the success of today doesn't negate the errors of the past, nor can it permanently hide something that even the racial purists of the 1930s would have rejected.

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