Friday, July 27, 2012

A Review of Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem

My previous essay regarding Hannah Arendt's book, Eichmann in Jerusalem, is now published through the good folks at e-International Relations. Here is the link the revised essay. The original is still posted below, but I appreciate the efforts they did to clean it up. The version on e-IR is a little tighter and it juxtaposes today's argument related to the ethics of drone prosecution of terrorists with trials of Nazi war criminals. Check it out:
Original essay:
                Israel hung Adolf Eichmann on May 31, 1962 after convicting him for his role as a Nazi official during the Holocaust.[1] He was a mid-level Nazi officer, responsible for organizing Jewish emigration out of German held territory and for Jewish deportation to concentration and extermination camps. Israel captured Eichmann, who was hiding in Argentina, in 1960 and deported him to Jerusalem where they tried and hung him. Hannah Arendt, covered his trial for The New Yorker compiling her essays into the book Eichmann in Jerusalem A Report on the Banality of Evil.[2] Her book is not only a representation of Eichmann the man; it is a representation of the “show trial David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, had in mind when he decided to have Eichmann kidnaped in Argentina...”[3] Her sarcastic criticism of the trial contrasts problems with the preservation of the institution of law with the necessary adjudication of Eichmann’s death, a moral imperative for the newly formed Jewish state.  Arendt argues that the “irregularities and abnormalities of the trial [overshadowed] the central moral, political, and even legal problems that the trial inevitably posed.”[4] Yet, she recognizes that the facts of the case warrant Eichmann’s death not only for legal restitution but for Israel’s credibility as “’the State of the Jews.’”[5]

Friday, July 6, 2012

New Blog Address

For the handful who follow this blog, I updated the web address recently. You can continue to follow the blog at the original address or you can use the new address: I hope to have some new stuff up in the coming weeks. I'm considering another review of a book I recently read that deals with international ethical and legal dilemmas: Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt. If there is any remote interest in the book, I'll post my review. Thanks as always for visiting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Philosophical View of Theory and Practice

Any theory exists with a measure of uncertainty. It has to because a theory attempts to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown. When the known and unknown are connected to time, then things known exist in the present moment, and things unknown exist outside the present moment, either in the past or in the future. This is in part why Kant criticizes Mendelssohn because Mendelssohn’s proclamation makes no sense if man lives in perpetuity uncertain about each new day. How then could one live unknowing the next day were it not for some concept that the next day will contain elements similar to the present one but with new exceptions? Those new exceptions do not yet exist, but man can be certain that they will. Therefore, he must prepare for those exceptions in so much as he understands the present ones, which are no longer exceptions but rules. Applying the rule one understands today in the context of tomorrow means one must have some faith that the rule will still work tomorrow. Understanding that tomorrow will not be precisely like today based on present knowledge that today is not precisely like yesterday, ought to guide one’s thoughts toward a framework to deal with the unknown. That framework is the rule by which man presently lives, hopeful of its usefulness in the future. Yet that usefulness will never come to fruition until it is tried. Therefore, the hope we have for tomorrow exists within a framework of tried rules we know today. In that sense, theory matters because it forms the basis for how to deal with uncertainty in practice.