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3.2.11 – Eichmann’s Thoughtlessness and Language

Eichmann’s Thoughtlessness and Language
Matthew Boedy, University of South Carolina

Abstract: In her coverage of the Eichmann trial, Hannah Arendt gave the world a new understanding of evil, a concept we had come to believe we understood. In so doing, she showed us that thinking about evil must also include how we think about language. The two are intertwined in Eichmann, the “normal,” ordinary German. Arendt shows us that the “banality of evil” appears in our language. Evil is moved from ‘outside’ of humanity to a place deep within it. I argue that Arendt echoes one of her intellectual peers, Walter Benjamin, in analyzing how Eichmann’s language grounded his evil. Benjamin wrote that all naming (the central act of language) is overnaming, an action that we the namers make to set language under our control in an attempt to avoid the fragility and plurality of reality. The central characteristic of Eichmann, his thoughtlessness, is defined by Arendt as an inability to think beyond the commonplace, the overname. Eichmann spoke and thought these overnames and this was the ground for his evil. And because we are all ‘overnamers,’ this is the ground for our evil as well. This is the enduring importance of Arendt’s report.


Charles T. Mathewes, a professor of religion at the University of Virginia, in 2000 wrote this about the modern American understanding of evil: “The problem with our concept of evil lies only superficially with its failure to operate smoothly within our moral system; the deeper problem lies in our presumption that this conceptualization should work smoothly.” In other words, we comprehend evil “too well.”i Mathewes noted that the name ‘evil’ “seems a nonoperational part of our moral language, lacking fruitful purpose; it is a merely a conceptual artifact, a ghostly vestigial presence from some previous moral language.”ii

It is important to note what causes this ‘ghostly’ condition for Mathewes: not that evil had been emptied of its power, but we ‘comprehend too well’ the concept. In other words, we give evil too much power and that is how it becomes ‘ghostly.’ This last statement is prophetic in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. If Mathewes was correct, and I think he was, then his claim is a powerful criticism of the common response to that event where ‘evil’ was used to rally the nation. He argues that the appropriate response to evil may be “practices of incomprehension.”iii Mathewes’ lesson was not heeded after September 11. And sadly, he argues that in the same manner the world did not heed Hannah Arendt in the generation after World War II. He argues that Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem was an example of his “practices of incomprehension,” where we question our understanding of evil. We have thought of evil as ‘beyond’ humanity, an act committed by a monster. Yet to these two, evil is that which is within us. I want to expand that argument, and expound on Arendt’s controversial ending to Eichmann in Jerusalem, (followed as EIJ) “the banality of evil.” That phrase she hoped would help her generation “misunderstand” evil. She wanted to see that evil appears in a rather ‘banal’ place, our language.

To ‘misunderstand’ evil, one must look at how it is named. Arendt aimed in EIJ to help her culture – by the time she wrote, that interesting mix of American and European – understand how they had come to “overname” evil. When I say that Arendt aimed to have her era understand this “overnaming” I am framing her in the thoughts of one of her intellectual companions, Walter Benjamin. In his essay “On Language as Such and on the Language of Man,” Benjamin writes that overnaming is “the overprecision that obtains in the tragic relationship between the languages of human speakers.”iv Translation stops, communication in the sense of communing with others ends, and we create strong dividing lines and those lines are names. But more importantly, we use names to control things and so control others who speak. We claim to understand wholly. This is where the tragic ensues.

In Arendt’s verbiage, thinking freezes when we overname. Arendt at times idealizes thinking – limiting it to a specific kind of intellectual work. In this frame, there is no ‘lazy thinking’ for Arendt; there is only thinking or thoughtlessness, the label she used for Eichmann. And this thoughtlessness was a kind of evil. In Eichmann she saw this new evil, one the world could not recognize because it had ‘overnamed’ evil. Arendt’s deception of this ‘new’ evil undermined much of what her audience thought they knew about evil. Arendt aimed to re-name the ‘overnamed’ evil. In so doing, in so giving a new name (i.e. ‘new’ understanding) to evil, Arendt showed us that thinking about evil must also include how we think about the purpose of language, which as Benjamin argued, was naming. She argued this second part most forcefully in her coverage of Eichmann. These two parts will follow in my essay.

Renaming Evil

In Arendt’s time, what people meant when they named evil was something non-human. She concedes in her introduction to Life of the Mind (followed as LOM) that she was “dimly aware” during her coverage of Eichmann and the subsequent writing that her “banality of evil” conception “went counter to our tradition of thought” about evil, namely that it is something demonic.v Then she recounts a short history of the ‘demonic’ evil and contrasts it to the “utterly different and still undeniably factual” lack of any “evil” motives in Eichmann. He was not demonic or monstrous, “quite ordinary.” Yet the prosecutors of Eichmann, according to EIJ, strived to have Eichmann seen as “the most abnormal monster the world has ever seen.” And while the judges overseeing the trial did not follow the prosecution’s lead, according to Arendt, they still failed to understand Eichmann as “precisely” like so many others, and all of them “were neither perverted nor sadistic” and were instead “terribly and terrifyingly normal.”vi

This “normality” was much more terrifying “than all the atrocities put together” of the past because it was a new ‘kind’ of evil. It was new and so needed a new name. Arendt coined the term totalitarianism to describe the new evil of her generation. Arendt wrote in a 1954 essay “Understanding and Politics” that totalitarianism is “a horrible originality which no farfetched historical parallels can alleviate.”vii Furthermore, totalitarianism constitutes “a break with all our traditions” and so has “clearly exploded our categories and political thought and our standards for moral judgment.”viii This phenomenon “which we try – and must try – to understand has deprived us of our traditional tools of understanding.”ix

In the original preface to Origins of Totalitarianism (followed as OOT), written before Eichmann, Arendt notes that many if not all people operate on the “conviction that everything that happens on earth must be comprehensible to man.”x Such comprehensibility – or the illusion of such – is reflected in how events were ‘overnamed,’ especially those that are negative and so labeled evil. Benjamin would say because naming is always overnaming, the names we give to things give us the illusion we comprehend them. Arendt echoes that when she wrote many try to escape the reality of totalitarianism by equating it with “some well-known evil of the past, such as aggression, tyranny, conspiracy. Here, it seems, we are on solid ground.”xi But Arendt writes that “the wisdom of the past” can’t guide us in such a case because such wisdom “dies, so to speak, in our hands as soon as we try to apply it honestly” to this new evil. The old names did not work. She adds that those still using such wisdom “do not advance efforts to understand” totalitarianism because “they submerge whatever is unfamiliar and needs to be understood in a welter of familiarities and plausibilities.”xii We name things to give them recognition, but overnames constrict that familiarity so much that all other plausibilities are not even thought. And this impedes any effort to re-name and so move forward understanding.

Arendt wrote in a similar essay “On the Nature of Totalitarianism” that many people doubt the “breakdown of the whole structure of morality” that totalitarianism has brought, and are “inclined to think some accident has happened after which one’s duty is to restore the old order, appeal to the old knowledge of right and wrong…”xiii This appeal to the old – as a rhetorical move to protect the ‘overname’ – is echoed in OOT. There she wrote that “we can no longer afford to take that which is good in the past and simply call it our heritage, to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load…” Our new reality has “usurped the dignity of our tradition.”xiv

One might consider in this frame that the guilt Arendt argued in a 1945 essay titled “Organized Guilt and Universal Responsibility” was not solely about a failure to act, but a linguistic or rhetorical failure to recognize overnaming. This overnaming – this wholly comprehending – slows our response to “the incalculable evil that men are capable of bringing about.”xv Overnames do not allow for other possibilities, for something other than what we can recognize. For Arendt, evil’s inconceivability is balanced with the reality that humans have and will commit evil in the future. In this way, evil becomes that which we can’t predict, but perhaps the only thing we can. In a sense there is a contradiction here: that evil is both ‘non-operational’ in our language, yet we desire to use it abundantly to describe events. In Arendt’s thinking, evil becomes non-operational in a process where the ‘overname’ becomes commonplace. In that manner, the more we use it, the more it becomes empty. We don’t desire because it being emptied, but because we desire the power that overnaming (supposedly) gives us.

Arendt nor Benjamin addresses directly ways to combat this aspect of language; it is a facet of the tragic. But what Arendt does offer is a movement toward cracking the ‘concrete’ that is any overname, to lessen the desire of overnaming. One way she did this is naming ‘radical evil.’ When Arendt writes in that 1945 essay “the precondition of any modern political thinking” is the realization “in fear and trembling” that man is capable of evil, she chooses such adjectives not due to the horrendous nature of the acts alone, but also because of the shuddering ‘effect’ from the real truth that evil appears anew each ‘time’ and so must be re-named each time. This is its radicalness.

Yet we often fail to recognize this ‘newness’ and rely on ‘old’ names for it. This is the message behind Arendt’s famous and often-cited line in the book review “Nightmare and Flight:” “In other words, the problem of evil will be the fundamental question of postwar intellectual life in Europe.”xvi Theodicy is not a word mentioned a lot in Arendt scholarshipxvii, but it is an important word. Theodicy is the theological label for the problem of evil. Its verbal parts suggest putting God on trial (theos + dike), suggesting that God deliver a reasoned argument to explain the presence of evil in the world. What Arendt is doing is re-naming the ‘problem’ of evil (long a problem in theology before her) as a problem of overnaming. The ‘problem’ of evil is not evil’s inconsistency in our thought systems (the usual definition of problem for theology); the problem is the conclusion by our thought systems that the problem with evil is how to fit it into our thought system, or what to do with ‘it.’ Such thinking ignores the ‘it’ we have (over)named. In overnaming evil we seek to go ‘behind the veil’ and find something comprehendible. In that move, we seek to control language, instead of living within it. By putting a ‘seeable’ (i.e. knowable) face to evil, we not only seek to put ‘evil’ under our control, but also language. In other words, if we can comprehend it, we can control it.

This is what she had in mind when she points out in the 1951 preface to OOT there are those who are convinced that “everything that happens on earth must be comprehensible to man.” These people interpret history “by commonplaces.” Comprehension becomes then “denying the outrageous, deducing the unprecedented from precedents” and using analogical thinking to numb the “impact of reality and the shock of experience.”xviii Those who think in such a tradition, Arendt notes in “Nightmare and Flight,” return to the “deceptive security of those ‘keys to history’ that pretended to explain everything.”xix In reality, such keys are one of the “intellectual weapons” that have “failed so miserably.”xx We use them “in a desperate attempt not to be confronted with” the “nightmare of reality.”xxi Automatically accepting an analogy, key, or commonplaces ignores questions about overnaming.

Elizabeth Young-Bruehl labels this emphasis on new in Arendt’s thinking as “identifying what is unprecedented.”xxii This type of thinking has become less of a habit since Arendt’s era, she notes, and the method more employed is “to look for historical analogies to current events.” Mary Leigh Pittenger argued that Arendt disregarded analogic thinking and committed to “the more unsettling task of attending to a specific event.”xxiii If one can attach ‘lazy’ to any definition of thinking by Arendt, it is this. Lazy thinking occurs when we take the ‘easy’ route of overnames. Tyranny promotes such ‘easy’ or ‘lazy’ thinking because it works heavily in commonplaces or overnames that are so strong as to become powerful agents in giving ‘excuse’ for actions. Not that she ever gave excuses to Eichmann, but Arendt understood how he came to do what he did: thoughtlessness. He did not re-new commonplaces. In thinking, Pittenger writes of Arendt, “we may see something new that would have evaded understanding if we had allowed ourselves to automatically accept an analogy.”xxiv Arendt knew this and worked to renew (and re-name) the “intellectual weapons” that had been made powerless with the appearance of the evil of totalitarianism. Because Arendt believed that the era between World War I and the Cold War was a “new” era in human history – a pivot point from which we judge the Before and the After – she traced the use of certain concepts throughout history to see how they might be renewed for this new evil. In many ways that intellectual work aimed to undo the overnaming of evil and so define thinking as a kind of interruption of overnames. Young-Bruehl wrote that, according to Arendt, “to think about what is new, we cannot use old concepts, particularly not concepts that have been emptied of their meaning and their usefulness by the very assaults that brought about this break in human history.xxv

Arendt emphasized this conception of thinking post-Eichmann. One could see this in successive editions of OOT. In the 1966 revised edition of OOT, the additional chapter “Ideology and Terror” (inserted in the 1966 edition, which was published after “The Human Condition” and EIJ) crystallizes totalitarian rule as seeking to destroy “the freedom inherent in man’s capacity to think.” xxvi This freedom is “identical with the capacity to begin.”xxvii Thinking, like birth, is a renewing, a starting over. It is only that which can stand against totalitarianism’s “tyranny of logicality.” This logicality is a “strait jacket” and devoured any idea on which political movements might be based. This tyranny “begins with the mind’s submission to logic as a never-ending process” – a process to which man submits and so loses his “freedom of movement.”xxviii And so the “self-coercive force of logicality is mobilized lest anybody ever start thinking.”xxix

Eichmann and Thoughtlessness

Arendt was clear in her Eichmann Postscript (written for the revised and enlarged edition in 1964) that Eichmann never started thinking during his administration of the Final Solution: “It was sheer thoughtlessness – something by no means identical with stupidity – that predisposed him to become one of the greatest criminals of that period.”xxx And such thoughtlessness “can wreak more havoc than all the evil instincts taken together, which perhaps are inherent in man.”xxxi This ‘thoughtlessness’ has been a centerpiece of Arendt scholarship on Eichmann. But as I argued above, EIJ aims both to redefine evil and rethink its relationship to language. Eichmann can be seen as thoughtless not because he had no thoughts or gave no care or concern for the victims of his crimes (two commonly accepted definitions of thoughtless and perhaps also evil as sociopathic), but that thinking in Arendt’s terms was prohibited due to his overnaming. Eichmann’s thoughtlessness (and so his “banal” evil) appears in his use of “clichés and stock phrases” and his adherence to “conventional, standardized codes of expression” or what she calls later “language rules.”xxxii Eichmann’s clichés removed him from reality. Absent-mindedly, he “lost direct contact with it.”xxxiii This was the product of a desire for omnipotence in Arendt’s terms. Eichmann attempted to ‘transcend’ the ‘world of men,’ especially the plurality-based language of men. The desire to be ‘over’ reality, to be ‘above’ reality, a reality where many languages are spoken, and many names are given – this becomes clear in his clichés. Arendt argued that the presence of plurality – of many speakers each being given equality – is one condition for freedom. In contrast, tyranny was not just rule by one, but rule by many ones. This is omnipotence. The omnipotence – especially as it was grounded in overnaming – according to Peg Birmingham promises both “an all-powerful, stable, and predictable world” and “a fixed and stable identity.”xxxiv And Birmingham notes for Arendt a figure of the omnipotent divine is brought down “to earth in the figure of a particular omnipotent individual.”xxxv For Arendt, that figure was not Hitler, but Eichmann, the ‘normal,’ ordinary man of Nazi Germany.

More broadly, Arendt considered his language rules a form of tyranny, that which distorts the general function of laws. For Arendt, laws erect “the boundaries and channels of communication between men who live together and act in concert” and so “hedges in” any new action, but “assures, at the same time, its freedom.”xxxvi Laws “assure the potentiality of something entirely new and the pre-existence of a common world.”xxxvii But tyranny “substitutes” for these boundaries and channels “an iron band which presses them all so tightly together that it is as though they were melded into each other, as though they were only one man.”xxxviii Eichmann’s “rules” defied one of the basic conditions of plurality: distinction. The human condition is only actualized when there is a dialogical ‘space’ between humans and in that space both “hedging” and freedom take place. This freedom includes a kind of invention of new names. Terror “simply and mercilessly presses men, such as they are, against each other so that the very space of free action – and this is the reality of freedom – disappears.”xxxix

In that manner tyranny “freezes men.”xl That is, “under totalitarian conditions… every means is taken to ‘stabilize’ men, to make them static, in order to prevent” spontaneity or participation in the plurality.xli This idea of stability – especially through the metaphor of freezing – is important in noticing how Arendt takes on Benjamin’s overnaming in her own way. Within or ‘under’ totalitarianism there develops the desire for a certain and “unnatural” stability in naming. [It is “unnatural” because names are not meant to “hold” the object or thing named.] This desire is not absent from democratic societies – as there are many individuals in such societies. But the ‘space’ of freedom is noticeably absent from tyrannies.

Arendt writes that clichés and stock phrases and “standardized code of expressions” ‘protect’ “us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence.”xlii In this we see that language and naming (Benjamin called naming the central act of language) is a response to the world, consisting of the sum of human actions and non-human actions. If we respond to “this claim all the time, we would soon be exhausted.” The exhaustion is seen in that we care about some names and not about others. In other words, we care about protecting some overnames and not about others. Yet Eichmann, according to Arendt, “differed from the rest of us only in that he clearly knew of no such claim at all.”xliii When we ignore this claim as he did we speak in ‘dead’ words – clichés, for example. [And to counter the idea that such clichés and language rules were only instituted by Eichmann to speak of ‘matters of conscience’, Arendt argues it was “noticeable in instances” that had nothing to do with such.] And so there can be no human thinking or speaking if what we do is speak “endlessly reproducible repetitions of the same model.” Language as such is dead because it does not participate in the ‘plurality’ that Arendt so forcefully presents in The Human Condition. There she writes that “a life without speech and without action… is literally dead to the world; it has ceased to be a human life because it is no longer lived among men.”xliv

A clearer link between evil, thoughtlessness, and language now can be seen when one reads the words that define “banality of evil” in her Eichmann report: “the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality…”xlv What does it mean to defy not merely thought but also word, in light of a connection between evil and thinking? And how is this banal or common to man? To defy thought as noted above is not to be stupid or unintelligent. To defy thought – to refuse to think – involves the “complacent repetition of ‘truths’ which have become trivial and empty” as Arendt writes in The Human Condition.xlvi It means, in terms of Eichmann, to think (in) clichés. To think in this manner means to make speech powerless. And to make speech powerless means to deny words the power to (re)make meaning, to begin again, to respond to the other and the world, to interrupt overnames, according to Arendt.

And this is banal to Arendt. It goes beyond what I suggested as ‘common.’ It is that which is prosaic or dull. It is instructive in re-reading this often cited phrase to look at another place where Arendt uses the word ‘banal.’ She writes in The Human Condition that certain aspects of Socrates’ teachings “soon were to become axiomatic to the point of banality.”xlvii Here the process is interesting. Word-and-thought-defying banality is that process which ends with thought-less word use, a ‘dulled’ thinking. But dullness here is not ignorant or stupid. These people ‘knew’ Socrates’ teachings. But they did not think (about) them. This is what made the teachings banal and this thinking is the banality of evil, evil as thoughtlessness. Dull thinking is a kind of deadness, a ‘fixed’ naming or unimaginative naming, naming which has become ‘common’ because it has been seen as self-evident or unquestionable and so unquestioned. That is, Arendt does not suggest that evil exists ‘outside’ the limits of humanity, outside of speech, but works out from the center, from the ‘essence’ of the human condition to ‘suck’ the life out from within.

And this is why Arendt’s report on the Eichmann trial aims to speak about the particular man in the dock. There was – strange as it seemed to many people then and now – a real human there, behind the glass. In this way Eichmann was representative – though not a scapegoat – for the Nazis. And because he represents them – and in a way, the rest of humanity — Arendt allows her epilogue (where she notes she goes beyond straight reporting) to address some ‘general’ claims about evil that she thought were limited by the subject at hand in the trial. One of those claims was that Eichmann was a new type of criminal and had been accused of “an unprecedented crime.”xlviii Yet the trial demonstrated “how little Israel, like the Jewish people in general was prepared to recognize” these two related facts.xlix The prosecutors especially refused to come “to grips with… a valid definition of” this new crime, the “crime against humanity.”l This is important for Arendt because such a crime is “an attack upon human diversity as such, that is, upon a characteristic of the ‘human status’ without which the words mankind or humanity have no meaning.”li Such names were overnames and had been emptied of their meaning because they were not renewed to fit the ‘new’ crime. The prosecutors could not recognize (here one might pay attention to the prefix, as in re-cognize) the new crime and so then also the new human before them. This refusal is most tragic to Arendt. Her lesson from the Eichmann trial is how we often fail to use language as our most powerful weapon to confront evil. What I have been calling re-naming may not prevent another evil, but it is at least a response to it. It is a thought. Arendt believed we had become thoughtless to evil.

In The Human Condition Arendt set out to explain that ‘new’ human she saw in Eichmann. There Arendt argues that homo faber is modern man. One might extend that to include Eichmann. Arendt argues that “fabrication, the work of homo faber, consists in reification”lii and that “only homo faber conducts himself as lord and master of the whole earth”liii In that manner, human beings as homo fabers are makers of worlds through language, not actor/speakers in a pluralistic world. Humans as those who lord over words, who control language live in a different reality from man as actor/speaker. Most importantly for Arendt, this ‘reality’ (and definition of humanity) “eliminates frailty from human affairs.”liv In doing so, in the “substitution of making for acting,” the modern age has fallen to the “temptation to eliminate [action’s] risks and dangers by introducing into the web of human relationships the much more reliable and solid categories.”lv In substituting “order” or control over language and speech in lieu of risk, man has taken the place of a creator. Arendt saw the “self-centered” world we live in and saw it as evil. The creation of ‘I’ as a solid and reliable category – the reification of the original word user – brings with it a power to define or name the other in similarly ‘solid’ ways. In reification the responsiveness of speaking is lost. Speaking (and action) becomes fabrication of an object. The other becomes ‘the Jew’ or to speak becomes to speak ‘over.’ This is overnaming, our evil. Arendt wanted ‘evil’ to do important work. But if evil was to have power outside a religious discourse, (one where of course it has become an overname, at times a commonplace so empty as to not have any meaning) then it needed to be re-named.

Peg Birmingham argues that Arendt’s “only remedy” for such an “evil” world is the testimony of credible witnesses.lvi For Birmingham the credible witness is the “one who faces up and testifies to givenness of factual truth.”lvii This ‘facing up’ is similar to the language used by Arendt in OOT. There she wrote that comprehension, especially in regard to evil, “does not mean denying the outrageous” so “that the impact…. (is) no longer felt.” Rather comprehension is “examining and bearing consciously the burden which our century has placed on us… Comprehension in short means the unpremeditated, attentive facing up to and resisting of reality – whatever it may be.”lviii There is much to unpack here. There is an element of ‘presentness’ in these words, a nod to the way evil appears anew in each generation. That is the burden “this generation” has placed on its audience. Second, there is the ‘presentness’ in response. An ‘unpremeditated, attentive facing up to’ – this gerund phrase – is not a stoic encounter, a frozenness of ethic and principle that ‘faces down’ the universal evil with a universal response, a universal name. An ‘attentive’ work is attuned to the ways in which names work as overnames.

Speech is that action which “measures up to” evil. What does that mean? It means we measure ‘it’ and consider its ‘dimensions’ and come to realize what we are seeing is not what we have seen – and so named – as evil before. This is what ‘bearing the burden’ means. Evil burdens us with the fact of naming, and when we don’t ‘bear’ that burden – when we ignore the tension between naming and overnaming – we become thoughtless. Are we then evil? Perhaps we are already evil, our language always already fallen, to paraphrase Benjamin. Arendt is not as clear on this point. But in Eichmann she saw a new evil, one that was grounded in language. She was attentive to the burden she placed on all of us.

This attentive burden bearing is thinking, thought-full-ness. Arendt nods toward this when she writes that “thinking means that each time you are confronted with some difficulty in life you have to make up your mind anew.”lix Thinking is dangerous to “established” definitions. “Thinking is equally dangerous to all creeds…”lx Thinking requires bearing the burden of naming as always overnaming. It is only when we self-consciously interrupt that teleology that we become human. Humans are defined by this fragility of speech. Arendt nods toward this when she described the many critics of her report on Eichmann that called her a Jew hater. She notes, with the deep honesty of one personally affected by such events [the camps, etc.], that her analysis is not “yet sine ira et studio [often translated as “without either bitterness or partiality], still in grief and sorrow, and hence, with a tendency to lament, but no longer in speechless outrage and impotent horror.” lxi


i Mathewes, Charles T. 2000. “A Tale of Two Judgments: Bonhoeffer and Arendt on Evil, Understanding, and Limits, and the Limits of Understanding Evil.” The Journal of Religion 80(3): 378.

ii Ibid., 376.

iii Ibid., 401.

iv Benjamin, Walter, 1916.. “On Language as Such and on the Language of Man.” In Selected Writings: 1913-1926 (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1996), 73.

v 1978 (1971). Life of the Mind (New York: Harcourt), 3.

vi 1992 (1963). Eichmann in Jerusalem (New York: Penguin), 276.

vii In Essays of Understanding: 1930-1954. Formation, Exile, and Totalitarianism edited by Jerome Kohn (New York: Hannah Arendt Literary Trust), 309.

viii Ibid., 310.

ix Ibid.

x 1951 (Reprint 1958). Origins of Totalitarianism (Cleveland: Meridian), viii.

xi Ibid., 309

xii Ibid., 313

xiii Kohn, 329.

xiv Origins of Totalitarianism, ix.

xv Kohn, 132.

xvi Kohn, 134.

xvii Susan Neiman’s Evil in Modern Thought the exception.

xviii Origins of Totalitarianism, viii.

xix Kohn, 133.

xx Ibid.

xxi Ibid.

xxii 2009. Why Arendt Matters (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press), 111.

xxiii 2011. “The ‘Understanding Heart’ of Hannah Arendt: Understanding as a Practice of Moral Imagination.” PhD diss., Emory University.

xxiv Ibid., 48.

xxv Why Arendt Matters, 9.

xxvi Origins of Totalitarianism, 470.

xxvii Ibid., 473.

xxviii Ibid., 472.

xxix Ibid., 473.

xxx Eichmann in Jerusalem, 288.

xxxi Ibid.

xxxii Ibid., 4.

xxxiii Life of the Mind, 109.

xxxiv Birmingham, Peg. 2007. “A Lying World Order: Deception and the Rhetoric of Terror.” The Good Society 16(2): 32-37.

xxxv Ibid., 35.

xxxvi Kohn, 342.

xxxvii Ibid., emphasis original.

xxxviii Ibid.

xxxix Ibid., 343.

xl Ibid., 342.

xli Ibid., emphasis original

xlii Eichmann in Jerusalem, 4.

xliii Ibid.

xliv 1998 (1958). The Human Condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

xlv Eichmann in Jerusalem, 252, my emphasis.

xlvi The Human Condition, 5.

xlvii Ibid., 37

xlviii Eichmann in Jerusalem, 267.

xlix Ibid.

l Ibid., 274.

li Ibid., 269.

lii The Human Condition, 139.

liii Ibid.

liv Ibid., 226.

lv Ibid., 230.

lvi Birmingham, A Lying World Order, 36.

lvii Ibid.

lviii Viii, my emphasis.

lix Life of the Mind, 177.

lx Ibid., 176.

lxi Eichmann in Jerusalem, vii.



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