Letters: The Eichmann Tapes and The Long Overdue Death of the “Banality of Evil”

Dear Letter to the editor:

For several generations certain “intellectuals” have heaped hosannas on the purported intellect of Hannah Arendt based primarily on her creation of the phrase “the banality of evil.” While some commentators like Ron Rosenbaum have always viewed “banality of evil” as amoral balderdash, Arendt has until now retained a cadre of supporters primarily on the left that have praised “banality of evil” as proof of her intellect.

However recently released audio tapes which have Adolf Eichmann talking candidly in 1957 with acquaintances in Argentina demolish “the banality of evil” into smithereens and with it Arendt’s purported perception and intellect.

Eichmann’s chilling and demonstrably evil words on these 1957 tapes include:

“Every fiber in me resists that we did something wrong. I must tell you honestly, had we killed 10.3 million Jews, then I would be satisfied and say, good, we have exterminated an enemy … that is the truth. Why should I deny it?”

Only Arendt wallowing in her amoral perverse “intellect” could find banality in Eichmann. While his appearance in an Israeli courtroom did not con any of the Holocaust survivors who testified, Arendt was only able to see the superficialities of his mien after fifteen years on the run — grey hair, receding hairline — and hear his courtroom prevarications. Clearly Arendt lacked the basic intellectual equipment to recognize what was right in front of her:

“Every fiber in me resists that we did something wrong. I must tell you honestly, had we killed 10.3 million Jews, then I would be satisfied and say, good, we have exterminated an enemy … that is the truth. Why should I deny it”…………..

Also on the 1957 tapes Eichmann acknowledged:

“I didn’t even care about the Jews that I deported to Auschwitz. I didn’t care if they were alive or already dead. There was an order from the Reichsfuhrer that said Jews who were fit to work were sent to work. Jews who were unfit to work had to be sent to the Final Solution. Period.”

Banal? Banal? After reading Eichmann’s words from 1957, no serious intellectual can call Arendt a serious intellectual. An intellectual dupe, yes.

Of course is it just a coincidence that “banality of evil” also provided cover for her older Nazi loving lover, Martin Heidegger? Just a coincidence? Just asking.

Richard Sherman
Margate, Florida

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They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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