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Eichmann as a methaphor

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Title:
Eichmann as a methaphor Arendt, monsters, and a culture of "thoughtlessness"
Alternate title:
Arendt, monsters, and a culture of "thoughtlessness"
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Hoover, Robin ( author )
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English
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1 electronic file (127 pages) : ;

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Good and evil -- Social aspects ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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This thesis is an exploration of the Eichmann metaphor and the implications of Eichmannism in a culture of “thoughtlessness.” I draw heavily from Hannah Arendt’s scholarship in which she argues that it was because of Adolf Eichmann’s “thoughtlessness” that he was able to participate in the systematic extermination of millions of people. I am arguing that in the United States today we are nurturing a culture that encourages a similar “thoughtlessness” and that we are potentially increasing the possibility of Eichmannesque behavior to manifest in all of us. In particular, I look at the nature of bureaucracy and the detrimental effects of this on an individual’s ability to think critically when profit and efficiency guide our thinking patterns. I am arguing that Eichmannesque behavior has become quite commonplace in many workplaces today and is creating an attitude of indifference toward human suffering. To further demonstrate my argument I look at tenured professor Ward Churchill’s controversial usage of the Eichmann metaphor that resulted in his dismissal from the University of Colorado at Boulder. This contributes to understanding Eichmann as a metaphor better and demonstrates that the climate after 9/11 was one that smothered dissent and critical thoughts. Furthermore, the firing of Churchill set a dangerous precedent by limiting free speech in the academic community. I conclude that our culture is embracing a “thoughtlessness” and lack of critical thinking in our daily lives and, thus, that the possibility of a “little Eichmann” manifesting in any of us is a primary concern for the future.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.Sc.) - University of Colorado Denver.
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Includes bibliographic references.
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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Statement of Responsibility:
by Robin Hoover.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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945381543 ( OCLC )
ocn945381543
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LD1193.L582 2015m H66 ( lcc )

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Full Text
EICHMANN AS A METAPHOR
ARENDT, MONSTERS, AND A CULTURE OF THOUGHTLESSNESS
by
ROBIN HOOVER
B.S., Missouri State University, 2008
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Masters of Social Science
Humanities & Social Sciences Program
2015


2015
ROBIN HOOVER
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
11


The thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by
Robin Hoover
has been approved for the
Humanities & Social Science Program
by
Omar Swartz, Chair
Lucy McGuffey
Jordan Hill
Nov. 19, 2015


Hoover, Robin (M.S.S., Humanities & Social Science)
Eichmann as Metaphor: Arendt, Monsters and a Culture of Thoughtlessness
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Omar Swartz
ABSTRACT
This thesis is an exploration of the Eichmann metaphor and the implications of
Eichmannism in a culture of thoughtlessness. I draw heavily from Hannah Arendts
scholarship in which she argues that it was because of Adolf Eichmanns thoughtlessness
that he was able to participate in the systematic extermination of millions of people. I am
arguing that in the United States today we are nurturing a culture that encourages a similar
thoughtlessness and that we are potentially increasing the possibility of Eichmannesque
behavior to manifest in all of us. In particular, I look at the nature of bureaucracy and the
detrimental effects of this on an individuals ability to think critically when profit and
efficiency guide our thinking patterns. I am arguing that Eichmannesque behavior has
become quite commonplace in many workplaces today and is creating an attitude of
indifference toward human suffering. To further demonstrate my argument I look at tenured
professor Ward Churchills controversial usage of the Eichmann metaphor that resulted in his
dismissal from the University of Colorado at Boulder. This contributes to understanding
Eichmann as a metaphor better and demonstrates that the climate after 9/11 was one that
smothered dissent and critical thoughts. Furthermore, the firing of Churchill set a dangerous
precedent by limiting free speech in the academic community. I conclude that our culture is
embracing a thoughtlessness and lack of critical thinking in our daily lives and, thus, that
IV


the possibility of a little Eichmann manifesting in each of us is a primary concern for the
future.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Omar Swartz
IV


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION 1
Introduction 1
Statement of the Problem 7
Research Question 10
Defining Key Terms 12
Thoughtlessness 12
Thinking 15
Metaphor 17
Review of the Literature 18
Philosophical and Political Scholarship 19
Sociological Theory of Moral Panics 20
Critical Theory 21
Methodology and Theory 23
Roadmap 24
Conclusion 26
II. HANNAH ARENDT, THE NARRATIVE OF THE EICHMANN TRIAL, AND
REDEFINING MONSTROUSNESS 27
Introduction 28
The Narrative of Monstrousness: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann 32
Hannah Arendt, the New Yorker, and the Banality of Evil Controversy 35
vi


Arendt and the New Yorker
35
Eichmann as Ordinary 40
The Re-Emergence of the Dominant Narrative of Monstrousness 45
Sanity and Monstrousness 47
Conclusion 51
III. THE BUREAUCRATIZATION OF EICHMANNISM 53
Introduction 53
Bureaucratized Indifference: Technology, Superfluousness, and Eichmanns 55
Eric Garner and the Police Spokesperson 67
BP and the Oil Spill 68
The Banal Reaction to Suffering: My Lai 4 and Ben Sue 70
The Eichmann Experiment: Obedience and the Problem of Authority 72
Conclusion 78
IV. THE WARD CHURCHILL CONTROVERSY 80
Introduction 80
Ward Churchill on Roosting Chickens 82
The Controversy and the Trial 87
Moral Panics and 9/11 92
Moral Panic 93
Rhetoric of Evil 95
A Dangerous Precedent 99
Conclusion 102
vii


V. CONCLUSION
102
Future Research
111
REFERENCES
113
vm


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing
instruction for all, and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is
left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the
sin, but he who causes the darkness.
-Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
[H]ow a society educates its youth is connected to the collective future the
people hope for.
- Henry A. Giroux, Hearts of Darkness
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinldng itself is dangerous.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Introduction
The above quotes signify that a good education is essential in helping to provide
individuals with the tools necessary to learn how to think critically and effectively
throughout their life. The quote by Hugo is particularly important because it counters the
common narrative that individuals who commit monstrous deeds are the only ones guilty
for that act. This is true only to the extent that the society we construct, that an individual is
raised in and gather ones experiences, is also guilty and responsible for what it we have
produced. If a society does not provide people with the tools to learn to think critically, as
Giroux argues, then we will create a society that is equally poor in the moral choices people
are able to make.
One of the greatest challenges confronting individuals in the twenty-first century is
obtaining a quality education. Education, like so many other things in our culture, is
becoming a commodity. Erich Fromm (1994) suggests that everything and almost
1


everybody is for sale. Not only commodities and services, but ideas, art, books, persons,
convictions, a feeling, a smilethey all have been transformed into commodities (pp.
38-39). Not only is it difficult to receive a quality elementary and high school education, but
it is increasingly difficult to attend colleges and universities without graduating with
crippling amounts of debt. Furthermore, the teaching methods themselves are problematic.
For example, universal standards are implemented in schools in the forms of tests that reduce
education to something to be deposited into a student, instead of providing an interactive
education that would strive to teach students to learn to think critically about subjects.
Students are taught obedience, to recite a memorized fact, to be silent, or to blindly follow
rules. However, this method of teaching does have a purpose; it is beneficial to help people
become efficient workers in business, increase corporate profits, and to help the system to
reproduce the status quo. It is not beneficial in teaching individuals how to think
independently, draw their own conclusions, and trust their own reasoning.
To attempt to rectify these problems, a popular wave of writings emerged in the social
sciences placing emphasis on the importance for an individual to learn how to think critically.
However, upon repetition, this phrase thinking critically is becoming empty and losing its
important meaning. This phrase is essential to understand, not as the commonly recited stock
phrase that it has become, but as something that is fundamentally necessary to create a strong
democracy, with well-rounded and educated citizens. This thesis will explore the implications
of not thinking critically when coupled with a culture of thoughtlessness. The concept of
thoughtlessness originates with Hannah Arendt (1963/1992), who argues that Adolf
Eichmann, a Nazi bureaucrat, who had only to sit at his desk and sign papers in order to be
2


indirectly responsible for the efficiency in the systematic extermination of millions of people,
was merely thoughtless.
I am expanding upon Arendts original notion of thoughtlessness when describing
Eichmann by arguing that our culture also exudes this characteristic. Author Susan Jacoby
(2009) similarly articulates that:
America is now ill with a powerful mutual strain of intertwined ignorance, anti-
rationalism, and anti-intellectualism [...] the virulence of the current outbreak is
inseparable from an unmindfulness [...]. This condition is aggressively promoted
by everyone, from politicians to media executives, whose livelihood depends on a
public that derives its opinions from sound bites and blogs, and it is passively
accepted by a public in thrall to the serpent promising effortless enjoyment from
the fruit of the tree of infotainment, (p. xx)
A culture of thoughtlessness is one that delights in the programming of mindless television
shows, idolatry of celebrities, conversations lacking in depth, an obsession with the trivial
and inconsequential, and a general rejection of intellectual activities. I will expand on this
further in the defining key terms section.
One of the primary concerns of this thesis is the result of the lack of thinking about
our daily actions mixed with the primary objectives emphasized in classrooms. For example,
students are encouraged to learn to be good businesspersons and to choose degrees that will
make them the most money. Journalist Chris Hedges (2013) observes that our business
schools and elite universities churn out tens of thousands of these deaf, dumb, and blind
systems mangers, who are endowed with sophisticated management skills and the incapacity
for the common sense, compassion, or remorse (p. 101). From early youth children are
encouraged to choose practical pathways for their career; the arts, music, dance, philosophy,
the social sciences and humanities, and even writing are among the discouraged fields for
3


students that enter into universities. The question: How will you make money with that
degree? determines a students future that, perhaps, at one point might have been better suited
for a more creative field.
The following excerpt written by a principal, who was a Holocaust survivor, to his
teaching staff identifies the importance of an education that emphasizes compassion, rather,
than profit:
Dear Teacher, I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person
should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by
educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high
school and college graduates. So, I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help
your children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters,
skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are
important only if they serve to make our children more human, (as cited in Ginott,
1972)
If education should do one thing, I think most of us would agree, it should serve to make our
children more human. How can we educate our children so that they do not become
educated Eichmanns? How can we instill a love for all humanity and respect for other
ways of life in our children? I argue that we can do this by teaching them to think.
As I will lay out in the following section, the aim of this thesis is two-fold. First, to be
a tool to help individuals to think. Second, it will be a critique and a warning that our culture
of thoughtlessness and our capitalist system, which increasingly focuses on profit,
efficiency, and business above human life, is enhancing the possibilities of Eichmannesque
behavior to manifest. Fromm (1994) contributes to this by writing of the inability for us to be
aware of ourselves because of constant consumption:
I have no conflict, no doubts; no decision has to be made; I am never alone with
myself because I am busyeither working or having fun. I have no need to be
4


aware of myself because I am constantly absorbed with consuming. I am a system
of desires and satisfactions; I have to work in order to fulfill my desiresand
these very desires are constantly stimulated and directed by the economic
machine, (p. 35)
How many Eichmanns must the world produce before we decide to look more closely at our
actions? The problem of Eichmannism was not limited to Nazi Germany, but has become
increasingly relevant as capitalism and the bureaucracy make it increasingly easy for
individuals to make decisions in offices that affect the livelihood or life of those living
elsewhere. Is our ability to reflect on our actions affected by being constantly surround by
distractions? Journalist Chris Hedges (2013) posits:
The moral and physical contamination is matched by a cultural contamination.
Our political and civil discourse has become gibberish. It is dominated by
elaborate spectacles, celebrity gossip, the lies of advertising and scandal. The
tawdry and the salacious occupy our time and energy. We do not see the walls
falling around us. We invest our intellectual and emotional energy in the inane and
the absurd, the empty amusements that preoccupy a degenerate culture, so that
when the final collapse arrives we can be herded, uncomprehending and fearful,
into the inferno, (p. 104)
As Arendt suggests (1971), thoughtlessness is among the outstanding characteristics of
our time (p. 5). She further expresses her concern with literature becoming purely
entertainment and thus losing its ability to educate and be meaningful. Arendt (1961/2006)
observes:
When books or pictures in reproduction are thrown on the market cheaply and
attain huge sales, this does not affect the nature of the objects in question. But
their nature is affected when these objects themselves are rewritten, condensed
digested, reduced to kitsch in reproduction, or in preparation for the movies. This
does not mean that culture spreads to the masses [like with the mass production of
books], but that culture is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment. The
result is not disintegration, but decay [...]. (p. 204)
5


Our ideas and information are becoming commodified, simplified, and compacted into more
entertaining forms. In this thesis I will argue that Eichmann as a metaphor is a warning in our
culture of thoughtlessness, in particular when coupled with the rhetoric of monstrousness,
giving rise to an indifference toward human suffering and setting the conditions for the
possibility of Eichmannism to manifest in each of us.
Eichmann, as I will elaborate on in Chapter Two, has been coined a desk murderer
and the architect of the Holocaust for his career choices that led to the death of millions of
individuals during the second world war. Many observers of Eichmanns trial argued that
Eichmann was simply an anti-Semite; that, like the other Nazis, he had a deep hatred for
Jewish people. Further, it has been popularly argued that he had committed these acts fully
aware of the consequences and did so sadistically. However, Arendts observations
concerning Eichmanns nature were quite the opposite. In her series of essays for the New
Yorker, subsequently a book titled Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,
she argues that Eichmann was completely ordinary, neither evil, nor monstrous. This
sentiment was terrifically controversial. Most relevant to my thesis is Arendts statement that
it was Eichmanns thoughtlessness that allowed for him to have no regrets, to be
unapologetic on the witness stand, and to display no remorse for what he had done, even in
the moments leading up to his execution.
Understanding the depth and significance of the notion of critical thinking will
become more clear as I begin to explore the many different contexts of the various authors
who have used Eichmann as a metaphor since Arendts work, Eichmann in Jerusalem. The
Eichmann metaphor is significant because it allows for one to see the sometimes deleterious
6


effects of an individuals actions and the consequences on those not directly near them.
Recognizing this is important especially in a culture that is embracing a new trend of anti-
intellectualism and assigning causes of events to being entities outside of our control, rather
than analyzing our own possible role; for example, using the term evil to explain an action
involves labeling something as evil or monstrous is to avoid having to think about
contributing factors behind an action. This lack of analysis will only enhance the likelihood
that Eichmannesque actions will be more commonplace in the future. Although I should
clarify that Arendt did not intend for her concept of the banality of evil to mean that evil
was commonplace. However, I am arguing that due to the structure of todays society, the
possibility for little Eichmanns is increasing and that it has the potential to become
commonplace, to manifest in all of us ordinary individuals. Finally, the least the metaphor
will do is provide a tool to help us to think more critically. It will highlight what it means to
think critically and help prevent the phrase critical thinking from being a cliche. The
Eichmann metaphor will do this by illustrating the potential consequences and results of not
thinking fully, or simply, not thinking at all.
Statement of the Problem
The primary goals of this thesis are, first, to provide a critique of our culture and a
warning to the possibility that Eichmannism may be more likely to manifest in our current
culture of thoughtlessness. Second, I use Eichmann as a metaphor as a tool for individuals
to use to learn to think more critically. I am critiquing the problem that our current culture is
marked by thoughtlessness, which involves the same thinking patterns that Eichmann may
have also embraced. This is also a warning; if our culture exalts the aspects of our society
7


that encourage thoughtlessness, we are setting the grounds for the potential for
Eichmannesqe actions to manifest. Furthermore, the Eichmann metaphor can be used as a
tool for individuals to better visualize what it means to think critically. In the constant
recitation of the term think critically we sometimes begin to repeat this phrase without
fully understanding the meaning behind it. Since the Eichmann metaphor has been used by a
variety of authors within numerous different contexts, it can serve as a bridge and guide to
many different events that we might encounter, in this way the Eichmann metaphor can serve
to link the importance of thinking critically with our daily lives.
Additionally, I am aiming to redefine the media and politicians usage of terms like
monster and evil. These words are used to explain away events that occur and to
dehumanize the individuals responsible. For example, the Boston Marathon brothers, who
were responsible for the two bombs that exploded at the end of the Boston Marathon in 2013,
were immediately label as terrorists and as monsters. This has an interesting effect on
peoples attitudes toward the individuals who have committed the crime. Erin Steuter and
Deborah Wills (2010) observe that [t]he language and imagery used to discuss and frame the
war on terror discursively shape our experience, understanding and actions (p. 154). By
labeling certain acts as performed by terrorists and using the discourse of evil allows for
future acts of similar nature to no longer be analyzed, instead it is lumped into the irrational,
extremist, or the radical other category.
In contrast, I am arguing that a society must direct its attention to the structural
reasons behind an action that occurs. Roger Fisher (1981) writes that [o]ur assumption is
that the problem is simpleits us against them. We want to believe in a quick fix (p. 13).
8


By labeling individuals as terrorists we are only creating a temporary fix, or in the case of the
Iraq war, the illusion of a solution. And instead of analyzing and critiquing the system, or
considering our possible contributions, we declare perpetual war. Judith Butler (2004)
observes:
Those who commit acts of violence are surely responsible for them; they are not
dupes or mechanisms of an impersonal social force, but agents with responsibility.
On the other hand, these individuals are formed, and we would be making a
mistake if we reduced their actions to purely self-generated acts of will or
symptoms of individual pathology or evil. (p. 15)
If we refer back to Hugos quote at the beginning of this chapter, we can see the importance
of recognizing the systemic reasons behind an individuals actions, not by assigning it to a
category of evil, but by attempting to understand the causes leading up to the action in the
first place, so this behavior can be altered. It should be noted here that there is always an
element of personal responsibility, but the structural causes are fundamental to understand in
order to change the situations that will allow for us to make better decisions and to open up a
new dialogue.
It is important to mention that although my thesis begins with a discussion concerning
education, this is not my main concern. Although education is fundamental, I am not
providing a framework for a way to improve education. Instead, I am directing my thesis
toward a broader audience. I am writing to emphasize the need for critical thinking in
everyday life, as we encounter everyday rhetoric and the problem with our abundance of
distractions in achieving this. This thesis is attempting to help to illuminate some of the
processes used to blind us from seeing reality as it is, and thus attempting to change it. It is
important for us to remember that we live in a society built by peoplethe laws, rules,
9


norms, moralityand we have the ability to alter our societies to embrace more humane
thinking patterns. The way we think is crucial. Howard Zinn (1997) argues:
We are not bom critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or
month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then
caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness
embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of
newspapers, radio, and television. This would seem to lead to a simple
conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring the attention of
others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to
rethink long-held ideas, (p. 694)
In part, by providing an alternate perspective this thesis will help to engage the reader to
question our assumptions, our long-held ideas about the way things are, in order to think
more creatively about the way things could be.
Research Question
The basis of this project was ultimately founded in developing an understanding to
the how and why ordinary individuals come to commit evil acts; such as, Eichmanns
seemingly simple defense of obedience to Hitlers Final Solution. Other examples include
the American troop Charlie Company who massacred and raped civilian men, women, and
children at My Lai 4, or the American soldiers who tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
Or those men and women who sit in their offices and shuffle papers who fail to realize what
the results their actions may have on individuals not directly in front of them. There is much
scholarship that explores these very concerns. However, this thesis differs from these other
works in that it is coming to a solution, similar to Arendts, concerning the importance of
increasing our ability to think critically. The biggest difference between the other scholarship
and mine is that I will explore these actions as they have manifested in congruence with the
10


Eichmann metaphor, and I am arguing that in our culture of increasing thoughtlessness we
have the potential to create more Eichmann-like behavior. I am defining Eichmannism as the
act of individuals, who are oftentimes far removed from where the orders given are enacted,
that has great consequences on another. These consequences are largely unacknowledged
because of a lack of reflection and thinking.
To frame my question properly I will draw from a number of scholars who argue that
our culture is indeed embracing anti-intellectualism, cruelty, and a thoughtlessness to our
daily lives (Jacoby, 2009; Hedges, 2009; Arendt, 1992). Specifically, some questions that I
will address include: Is there the potential to be an Eichmann in each of us? Will we be able
to decipher through rhetoric and make good moral decisions if we are convinced that
intellectualism, reflection, dialogue, and thinking are unimportant aspects of life? Are the
effects of little Eichmanns in a culture of thoughtlessness, cruelty, and indifference?
Arendt was concerned that cruelty was a byproduct of the non-thinking individual. Although
Eichmann, himself, did not commit physical acts of cruelty directly on others, he was cruel
by his very act of refusing to think. Is cruelty enhanced when individuals cannot see the
victims upon which they inflict suffering upon? This is often the case in modern warfare
where the victim is far below the plane dropping the drone. These questions bring the
concept of Eichmannism into our very workplaces. Every day we are faced with decisions
that might have detrimental effects on another. An example is denying health insurance to an
individual because it is unprofitable for the business to grant coverage; or for choosing to
follow rules as they are dictated to us at the costs of human lives. Would we make the same
decisions if were to imagine ourselves in the other persons position? Our inaction in the face
11


of cruelty and refusal to imagine ourselves as the other is a form of looming Eichmannism.
This thesis aims to bring some clarity to these difficult questions.
Defining Key Terms
This section aims to define a number of terms that I will use throughout my thesis. An
upfront understanding of these terms will allow the reader to follow my argument more
closely and, hopefully, to also visualize the usefulness and relevance of these concepts in our
culture today. All three of the terms I have chosen to define here are used throughout
Arendts scholarship.
Thoughtlessness
According to Arendt (1958/1998), thoughtlessness is the heedless recklessness or
hopeless confusion or complacent repetition of truths which have become trivial and
empty (p. 5). This statement is important not only because it is the first definition that
Arendt provides of her meaning behind the term thoughtlessness, but also because she goes
on to claim that our culture today is largely reflective of this thoughtlessness. Further, this
concept provides insight and support for my own argument that Arendts notion also frames
our culture today, which I will explain at the end of this sub-section.
When observing Eichmann, Arendt was struck by Eichmanns seeming inability to
create any original thoughts of his own. He spoke in cliches in his explanations to the court
and he often avoided directly answering questions asked by the prosecution, often giving
long-winded and overly detailed explanations, even forgetting where he was going with
certain statements. Arendt (1971) writes that it was not stupidity or any particularity of
wickedness, pathology, or ideological conviction that predisposed Eichmann to being able
12


to perform such evil deeds, committed on a gigantic scale, but it was thoughtlessness,
further, a curious, quite authentic inability to think (p. 417). This thoughtlessness is the
unwillingness of an individual to reflect upon the consequences of his or her actions, and
then act morally upon that reflection. Arendt (1963/1992) writes of Eichmann:
Except for an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal
advancement, he had no motives at all. And this diligence in itself was in no way
criminal; he certainly would never have murdered his superior in order to inherit
his post. He merely to put the matter colloquially, never realized what he was
doing. [...] He was not stupid. It was sheer thoughtlessnesssomething by no
means identical with stupiditythat predisposed him to become one of the
greatest criminals of that period, (pp. 287-88)
Arendt marries this inability to think or thoughtlessness with the ability for an individual
to commit an evil act. Arendt (1978) posits that:
It was the absence of thinkingwhich is so ordinary an experience in our
everyday life, where we have hardly the time, let alone the inclination, to stop and
thinkthat awakened my interest. [...] Might the problem of good and evil, our
faculty for telling right from wrong, be connected with our faculty of thought? (p.
4)
She suggests that thinking is what determines our ability to make good moral decisions.
Additionally, I am arguing that we are currently living in a culture that is nurturing
thoughtlessness. It is being reproduced and encouraged in individuals, and since this
thoughtlessness is equivalent to the behavior of Eichmann, then we are also increasing the
potential for little Eichmanns to emerge in all of us, if left unchecked. In our culture today
we have a plethora of distractions, homogenous consciousness, and consumerism that are
problematic in setting the conditions for Eichmann-like behavior to manifest. In a culture that
encourages us to engage in mindless televisions programs, video games, celebrity gossip, and
to reject all things intellectual as snobbery, we must ask the question of when do we have
13


time left to think about anything of substance. Much less when do we have the time to be
concerned about human suffering, particularly when it occurs far away from us. Our ability
to flip the channel on a news program, in order to engage in a plethora of alternate
programming choices, allows us to disengage mentality and emotionally to anything of
substance in the world and alleviates ourselves from the responsibility that comes with
thinking critically about something. Susan Sontag (2003) argues:
Image-glut keeps attention light, mobile, relatively indifferent to content. [...] The
whole point of television is that one can switch channels, that it is normal to
switch channels, to become restless, bored. Consumers droop. They need to be
stimulated, jump-started, again and again, (p. 106)
Further symptomatic of this culture of thoughtlessness is the decline of reading. Hedges
(2009) argues that the loss of literacy, or the existence of functional literacy in our society
today results in illusions:
It corrodes the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to
express dissent when judgment and common sense tell you something is wrong,
to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to grasp historical facts, to advocate for
change, and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways, and
structures of being that are morally and socially acceptable, (p. 52)
If we only engage in material that is purely entertaining we come to a point where we are no
longer interested in engaging in material that has value that we must work for beyond the
immediate. Nicholas Carr (2008) writes of the importance of reading and quiet spaces for
thinking:
In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or
by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our associations, draw
our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. [...] If we lose those quiet
spaces, or fill them up with content, we will sacrifice something important not
only in our selves but in our culture. [...] As we come to rely on computers to
14


mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into
artificial intelligence. (Carr, 2008)
It is difficult to escape content today and continuous distractions, even online news is filled
with an abundance of alternate news links and the continuous bombardment of ads. It is rare
that we sit in quiet, walk without purpose, or simply think and contemplate. Arendt (2006)
writes of this:
The relatively new trouble with mass society is perhaps even more serious, but
not because of the masses themselves, but because this society is essentially a
consumers society where leisure time is used no longer for self-perfection or
acquisition of more social status, but for more and more consumption but more
and more entertainment. [...] The point is that a consumers society cannot
possibly know how to take care of a world and the things which belong
exclusively to the space of worldly appearances, because its central attitude
toward all objects, the attitude of consumption, spells ruin to everything it
touches, (p. 208)
Our culture of thoughtlessness may be increasing the likelihood of us to fail to think about
our actions, resulting in the possibility of Eichmann-like behavior.
Thinking
Arendt dedicated an entire book, The Life of the Mind, in order to understand how
individuals think. As Arendt (1971) observes, If the ability to tell right from wrong should
have anything to do with our ability to think, then we must be able to demand its exercise in
every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant, how intelligent or stupid he may prove
to be (p. 422). Arendt posits that thinking as an activity is often isolated to the intellectuals
or the philosophers who choose this as their way of life.
Arendt (1978) repeatedly clarifies that thinking is in no way related to ones
intelligence. She writes:
15


absence of thought is not stupidity; it can be found in highly intelligent people,
and a wicked heart is not its cause; it is probably the other way round, that
wickedness may be caused by absence of thought. In any event, the matter can no
longer be left to specialists as though thinking, like higher mathematics, were
the monopoly of a specialized discipline, (p. 13)
Thinking is different from knowledge insofar as knowledge is generally considered to be
pragmatic, it can be possessed, accumulated, and, then, passed down through generations.
Thinking is a solitary function performed by an individual. Without solitude, thinking and
imagining become more difficult. Solitude makes thinking possible for the mind only after it
has withdrawn from the present and the urgencies of everyday life (p. 76). When
individuals are thinking they withdraw from all of the present surroundings, it is as though
we moved into a different world, when individuals are awoken from their thoughts by
distraction they move back into the world of appearances (1971, p. 423).
Solitude, however, is not the only factor necessary for thinking, it also requires
individuals to use their imagination. The process of thinking allows one to imagine objects
that are absent, removed from the direct sense perception [...], which by virtue of
imagination, can make it present in the form of an image (Arendt, 1971, p. 423). By
imagining others while thinking we are able to see more directly the consequences of our
individual actions on others, oftentimes, as was the case with Eichmann, these are actions
resulting in systemic injustice. As we will see in Chapter Three, subjects in the Milgram
experiment were far more likely to deliver electric shocks to an individual they could not see
or hear. The importance of thinking and imagination manifests more clearly in modem
practices of warfare; for example, the use of military drone strikes allow individuals to be
16


able to carry out deeds with life and death consequences, without having to think, by simply
using a computer or pressing a lever far away from the one who suffers.
Metaphor
I find it necessary to also define the concept of metaphor in order to enhance the
understanding of the following material. The definition of metaphor that most closely
correlates with using Eichmann as such would be an abstraction that is intended to construct
a meaning for something else. Arendt (1978) suggests that metaphors serve as a bridge
between the thinking world and the physical world. She posits that language succeeds in
bridging the gulf between the realm of invisibles and the world of appearances (p. 108). The
abstraction occurs first through the thought processes of an individual, then using language
we can communicate and remove these abstractions from the world of thinking, but at the
same time the use of language is limiting to the communication of ideas and thoughts.
Metaphors are important because they demand us to think upon hearing them and, in
doing so, we are able to visualize a pathway or an understanding that was previously hidden
from us. Arendt (1978) explains that in the thinking process itself, [metaphors] serve as
models to give us our bearings lest we stagger blindly among experiences that our bodily
senses with their relative certainty of knowledge cannot guide us through (p. 109). Thus, the
metaphor itself is essential to guide us in our daily thinking activities, and in that manner the
Eichmann metaphor is also a tool for us to guide our thinking patterns in a way that allows
for us to see the consequences of our daily actions. Precisely what this means will be
expanded upon in the following chapters.
17


Review of the Literature
I will primarily use three frames to situate my argument: philosophical and political
scholarship, sociological theory of moral panics, and critical theory. Since, a large part of my
argument will be using the ideas developed by Arendt I will dedicate one sub-section to two
of her works. I will name this sub-section philosophical and political scholarship because
Arendt considered herself a political theorist, although she is generally assigned the identity
of philosopher by academics. Moreover, Arendt pulls her arguments from a variety of
academic fields herself, she claims, in order to not be limited by a certain theory or
discipline. The second sub-section will be a discussion of the sociological theory of moral
panics. Moral panics will allow for me to better understand the climate of fear that
manifested in the aftermath of 9/11 resulting in our acceptance of the reduction in our civil
liberties and silencing dissenting perspectives, which will be discussed more in Chapter Four.
The final subsection will be on critical theory and how it will contribute to my overall
argument. Using critical theory to frame my argument, I will primarily draw from the works
of the later Frankfurt tradition, of which, I will also include Arendt in this category, as she
studied and worked with some individuals who were a part of the Frankfurt School. It should
be noted here that I will not include the Eichmann metaphor as a sub-section in this literature
review since there is no particular field of study that examines Eichmann as a metaphor as a
collective topic; mostly, I have collected the sporadic usages of this concept throughout a
variety of authors and across many academic disciplines.
18


Philosophical and Political Scholarship
Arendt has become an increasingly recognized and important figure in Western
thought since her death in 1975. She wrote seven primary works that are still commonly used
to analyze politics and philosophy. For this literature review, I will only use three of her
books, although I will reference most of her work throughout my thesis in order to solidify
my overall argument. First, one of Arendts more popular works, and one that forms the
foundation for my argument, is her analysis of the Eichmann trial. In Eichmann in
Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Arendt comes to the controversial conclusion
that Eichmann was an ordinary individual, rather than anti-Semitic or sadistic person. Arendt
argues that it was thoughtlessness that allowed for Eichmann to indirectly become a
participant in the death of millions of individuals.
Finally, Arendt greatly expands on her idea of thoughtlessness in her unfinished
final book that was published posthumously entitled The Life of the Mind and briefly in The
Human Condition. Thoughtlessness, she posits in these texts, is simply the refusal of an
individual to think, to imagine what the other person is experiencing (2013, p. 48). In the
former text, Arendt explores, in a philosophical fashion, the life of the mind. She pulls
from the works of Plato and Aristotle in order to develop an exploration of why, how, and
where individuals are when they think. Arendt (1972) theorizes that individuals are removed
from the present moment when they think, they leave all distractions in the world of
appearances behind, and thus are able to imagine and to think of objects or people that are
not directly in our sense perception (p. 423). In the latter text, Arendt primarily looks at the
nature of humans as they encounter work, labor, and action.
19


Sociological Theory of Moral Panics
I will use the works of four sociologists and one rhetorical and english studies scholar
to establish a groundwork for the concept of moral panics. Moral panics is important to my
thesis because it helps to create an understanding of the environment that can manifest in a
society that allows for individuals to feel fearful of a targeted group of people and become
more likely to accept things they may not have otherwise. Edward J. Ingebretsen (2001)
argues that the usage of the term monster, in news articles, on television, or by politicians,
to describe and dismiss much violence that occurs, is a way to encourage a society to be
fearful and obedient. He suggests that by assigning someone the identity of monster is to
amplify the violence that occurred in order to reinforce a particular norm or social behavior.
Similarly, Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda (2009) suggest that a moral panic
is a mechanism that blames an out-group, or a folk-devil for the moral and social problems
in a society. Stanley Cohen (1972/2002) defines a moral panic as:
A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a
threat to societal value and interests; its nature is presented in a stylized and
stereotypical fashion by the mass media; the moral barricades are manned by
editors, bishops, politicians and other right-wing people; socially accredited
experts pronounce their diagnoses and solutions; ways of coping are evolved or
(more often) resorted to; the condition then disappears, submerges or deteriorates
and becomes more visible, (p. 1)
Similarly, Scott A. Bonn (2010) argues that the most recent example of the occurrence of a
moral panic, as meets the definitions of the scholars above, is 9/11 and the War on Terror.
He suggests that through the use of rhetoric, which is reinforced by the media and politicians,
support for the war has been accrued by invoking fear of the terrorist or Arab enemy. Bonn
refers to the rhetoric used to rally mass support around the invasion of Iraq, primarily being
20


based on the often repeated assumption that Iraq was in possession weapons of mass
destruction, as mass deception.
Finally, Sam Keen (1991), although he does not focus on moral panics, provides an
excellent insight into the necessary support system of a public panic. He argues that in order
for societies to go to war we must use dehumanizing tactics and rhetoric to create an enemy
that we can perceive as dangerous to our way of life, or to our families, less than human, and
less important than our own lives. This image is reinforced through pop culture, the media,
and the elite who aim to homogenize these thinking patterns.
Critical Theory
Critical theory is essential to making my main argument of critiquing our current
culture. Max Horkheimer is a primary thinker in establishing critical theory. In order to better
understand critical theory, he explores the primary differences between traditional and critical
theory. Horkheimer (1975) suggests that in contrast to critical theory, traditional theory is
geared toward efficiency and making the system function as it is, typically using abstractions,
such as mathematics, whereas, critical theory acknowledges concern for reasonable
conditions of life (p. 199). The primary aim of critical theory is not necessarily to present a
solution, as traditional theory is more inclined to do, but to improve the world through
critique. Horkheimer writes: the future of humanity depends on the existence today of the
critical attitude (p. 242). Moreover, Horkheimer argues that those using critical theory
should critique the concepts that make up the status quo in our society. Horkheimer suggests
that what determines if an analysis falls into the category of critical theory is if it attempts to
liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them (p. 244). Although critical
21


theory does not necessarily have to provide a solution, it does identify the factors that should
be changed in order to help to alter the current situation. These sentiments are particularly
useful for my purposes as a way to establish the critique I am making concerning our culture
of thoughtlessness and the uncritical acceptance of rhetoric and information.
Another aspect of critical theory that I will pull from is the culture industry as
formulated by Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer. Adorno and Horkheimer (1972/2002)
argue that the culture industry is a way to control the masses. Culture has become
commodified and we are presented with the illusion of choice. However, this is largely only a
choice between different products for consumption. The options for us to choose from are
variations of the same. Although we perceive ourselves to be making important choices, this
illusion of choice is largely a systematic method of mass production and control and done
primarily for profit. The culture industry is also visible in the standardization of television
narratives. Particular images are imposed on us through these mediums, the image of women
and the ideal form of beauty and perfection, men as hyper-masculine, these images consume
us, and we ignore other aspects of society in order to strive to be these images we are sold.
Horkheimer and Adorno observe: The triumph of advertising in the culture industry is that
consumers feel compelled to buy and use its products even though they see through them (p.
167).
Furthermore, through the programs that we watch and the images in magazines, we
are encouraged to embrace a particular morality and normative behavior that is a reflection of
a conventional standard. The culture industry tells us what to consume and all decisions that
seem to be based on individual preferences are actually between products that are essentially
22


the same. The choices that we are allowed to make our insignificant and inconsequential.
Adorno and Horkheimer (1972/2002) suggest the culture industry is infecting everyone with
sameness (p. 94). For my purposes, I will only use a generalization of the culture industry
and critical theory to guide some of my arguments concerning our society of
thoughtlessness. I will also look at public panics, our culture of constant distraction,
consumerism, and anti-intellectualism as being symptomatic of a culture industry.
Methodology and Theory
This project is based in theoretical, rather than empirical studies. Thus, neither
quantitative nor qualitative analyses will be used to further my argument. The primary
theories I will use are explored above in the literature review. To re-emphasize, the theories
that will help to frame my argument will be (1) critical theory, also using an offshoot of this
theory: the culture industry; and (2) the sociological theory of moral panics. Critical theory
will be the predominate theory in this project. This theory allows me to most effectively
critique our current culture and to recommend a solution which will consider human, animal,
and the environment as paramount to other socially constructed concerns. This thesis is
intending to highlight the complexities and nuances that come into play when looking at
reality and to question our assumptions about our own realities. Thus, I will use an
interdisciplinary approach to critiquing our culture. I will use Arendt as a basis for this, then
pull from other fields such as sociology, journalism, psychology, political science, history,
theology, and philosophy.
23


Roadmap
My thesis will consist of five chapters. The first is this introduction. In this chapter I
have explained the framework and goals guiding this thesis. In Chapter Two I will discuss the
capture of Eichmann and the sensationalism and spectacle surrounding his trial. I will
demonstrate two viewpoints concerning Eichmanns character: the more common image of
Eichmanns nature as a monstrous anti-semite and Arendts more controversial view of
Eichmann as an ordinary man. I will discuss why her notion of Eichmann as ordinary was so
controversial and explore her analysis of Eichmann. Further, I will discuss the sanity of
individuals who commit monstrous deeds. Drawing from the sanity and ordinariness of
Eichmann, I will look at others who argue that it is the sane ones who have committed some
of the most monstrous acts in human history. This discussion will help readers to more fully
understand the following chapters that explore using Eichmann as a metaphor.
The third chapter will explore the bureaucratic nature of the Eichmann metaphor. I
will further elaborate on the ways that the bureaucracy helps to set the conditions for
Eichmannism to manifest. I will look at the concept of an administrative massacre and
explore the uniqueness of this in terms of violence in the last century. Further, I will explore
the role of technology, profit, and indifference that a bureaucracy helps to foster and how this
relates to the role that Eichmann played in the Final Solution. Next, I will discuss the role
of creeping Eichmannism in our banal reactions toward the suffering of others.
Specifically, in this section I will look at the excusatory statements of police spokesmen
concerning the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers; British Petroleum
executives after the Gulf Oil Spill in 2013; and the banality toward the suffering after My Lai
24


4 and the village of Ben Sue massacres in Vietnam. Finally, I will look at Sociologist Stanley
Milgrams famous obedience experiment in order to illustrate the problematic nature of
authority.
In Chapter Four I will discuss the most recent controversial usage of the Eichmann
metaphor that was used by Ward Churchill. Churchill was a tenured professor at the
University of Colorado at Boulder when he wrote an essay on 9/11 comparing the majority of
individuals that died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon to being little Eichmanns. A
few years after writing this essay a national controversy erupted around the usage of the
metaphor, resulting in Churchills dismissal from the University. This incident will be
explored in great depth in order to understand why the metaphor used by Churchill caused
such an outraged response from the public. Further, I am interested in understanding why the
coverage from the media was a largely unconcerned with determining whether Churchills
narrative had any substantive value. In order to answer these questions I will reference
scholarship that suggests that Churchill was demonized and dehumanized. Moreover, that
after 9/11 the climate of the US emphasized war, patriotism, and homogenous sloganeering.
The culture of fear that was produced after 9/11 resembled a moral panic, effectively
silencing dissenting opinions that did not coincide with the dominate narrative as established
and reiterated by politicians and the media.
Finally, Chapter Five will be my closing chapter in which I will summarize my
findings in this thesis and conclude that the culture in the US is fostering thoughtlessness.
It encourages people to be non-thinking individuals and to engage in activities that are anti-
intellectual. Anti-intellectualism, for my purposes, will include most all distractions of
25


modern society that encourage people to not think about anything besides trivial and
inconsequential things. Further, it is typically marked by the refusal to participate in
intellectual activities, as basic as reading books. This type of behavior is prevalent in Western
society and helps to influence homogenous thinking patterns which is extremely problematic
in terms of the potential for Eichamnnesque actions to manifest with perhaps more voracity
than before.
Conclusion
In this chapter I explored the purposes of this project, the research questions that
frame my argument, and the statement of the problem. Overall, I identified education and the
lack of critical thinking as being extremely problematic when coupled with a society of
thoughtlessness. Then, I defined important terms that the reader will encounter in the
following chapters. Following this, I presented a literature review and three theories that will
guide my argument. Finally, I provided a roadmap to guide the reader through the next four
chapters.
26


CHAPTER II
HANNAH ARENDT, THE NARRATIVE OF THE ADOLF EICHMANN TRIAL, AND
REDEFINING MONSTROUSNESS
My name is Adolf Eichmann.
The Jews came every day
to vat they thought vould be
fun in the showers.
The mothers were quite ingenious.
They vould take the children
and hide them in bundles of clothing.
Ve found the children, scrubbed them,
put them in chambers, and sealed them in.
[...]
People say,
"Adolf Eichmann should have been hung!"
Nein.
Nein, if you recognize the whoredom
in all of you, that you would have done the same, if you
dared know yourselves.
My defense?
I vas a soldier.
People laugh Ha ha! This is no defense that you are a
soldier.
This is trite.
I vas a soldier, a good soldier.
I saw the end of a conscientious day's efforts.
I saw all the work that I did.
I, Adolf Eichmann, vatched through the portholes.
I saw every Jew burned und turned into soap.
Do you people think yourselves better because you burned
your enemies at long distances with missiles? Without
27


ever seeing what you'd done to them?
Hiroshima... AufWiedersehen
-Lenny Bruce, My Name is Adolf Eichmann
Introduction
This poem helps to highlight the ambiguity of evil. We often conceptualize good and
evil, like many other things, as black and white. However, Eichmann was the same as you
and I. Eichmann was ordinary. He was not particularly a thinking individual and it was his
refusal to think about his actions that resulted in the efficiency of the Final Solution. We
must consider that this non-thinking still occurs everyday in the workplace; rules and the
bureaucracy help to replace the need to think. It is imperative that we understand the
Holocaust as being enacted and carried out by the ordinary, in order to understand the
potential to become little Eichmanns ourselves. Furthermore, this sketch helps to
demonstrate the humanity of those we assign the identity of monster.
Eichmann was indirectly responsible for the death of millions of individuals during
the Holocaust; specifically, he was responsible for making the transportation systems run
smoothly and efficiently by enabling the trainsfilled with people on their way to camps to
be concentrated, then exterminatedto reach their destinations with little interruption.
Eichmann was a bureaucrat who set at his desk to issue orders ensuring efficiency and he
rarely saw the actual concentration camps. Yet the consequences of his actions would be
tremendous in scope, of which, he would never display regret at having done his job so well.
D. Lasok (1962), European law expert, writes that the prosecutions primary case was of
depicting Eichmann as a new style murdererone who carries out killing from his
28


desk, [...] the crimes were committed over the telephone, by signing an order, by writing a
note (p. 358). Above all else, Eichmann viewed his duty as a German citizen and member
of the prestigious Schutzstaffel (SS) to perform his job to his best ability and for the utmost
efficiency of the system. Eichmann possessed traits often highly valued in a bureaucracy,
those of loyalty, duty, conformity, and obedience.
Furthermore, Eichmanns faithfulness to the system was influenced by the effective
use of dehumanizing propaganda, ideologies, and eugenics that was prevalent in Nazi
Germany for years. One of the most disturbing aspects of the Holocaust was that it was
generally publicly well-known what was happening and that so many ordinary individuals
went along with Hitlers rhetoric. Patrick Hayden (2009), drawing from Arendts work,
suggests that:
[T]he great atrocities of totalitarianism, culminating in genocide, were
produced only because vast numbers of dutiful, rule-following citizens failed to
question or challenge social convention. The worst horrors imaginable were
produced by the masses of good respectable citizens of respectable society, not
by the perverted or demonic few. (p. 5)
The purpose of this chapter is to explore the notion of monstrousness by looking at Arendts
concept of the banality of evil and the narrative of Eichmann as a monster as formulated
during Eichmanns trial. I aim to explore the ways that individuals who commit monstrous
acts, or the perpetrator, are ordinary people, particularly when we consider evil actions that
manifest in groups or entire societies. For example, the ordinariness of the German people
and even the SS members who went along with the atrocities of the Third Reich; or the
Rwandans who were able to massacre their friends and neighbors, then in the evenings went
29


home to lead a normal family life. One perpetrator in the Rwandan genocide observes the
normalcy of life after a days work spent slaughtering Tutsis:
we soaped off the bloodstains in the basin, and our noses enjoyed the aromas of
full cooking pots. We rejoiced in the new life about to begin by feasting on leg of
veal. We were hot atop our wives, and we scolded our rowdy children. [... ] We
went about all sorts of human business without a care in the worldprovided we
concentrated on killing during the day, naturally. (Hatzfield, 2008, p. ??)
It should be mentioned here that Arendt argues that the banality of evil was not intended to
mean that there was a little Eichmann in all of us, she makes clear that she disagrees with
this statement. However, I will use her concept, in a way that she did not intend, to argue that
there is the potential of a little Eichmann to manifest in us all. In order to do his I will
explore Arendts conceptualization of Eichmann at his trial, the narrative that Eichmann was
evil, and the assumption that the actions of the Nazis were fundamentally different from other
actions that inflict mass suffering, such as the dropping of the atomic bomb or drone attacks.
It is important to redefine evil, primarily because assigning the causality of monstrousness
to an event is to deny a legitimate consideration of why an event has occurred. For example,
after the attacks of 9/11 the Bush administration argued that the attacks were unwarranted
and committed by evil terrorists who must be eliminated because they were a threat to
peace everywhere, instead of attempting to understand the act on a more historical or
structural basis. By assigning evil an entity of its own we legitimize violence with violence.
In the same way, simply calling Eichmann a monster prevents us from examining Eichmann,
and the society in which he lived, in order to understand how such ordinary people could
come to accept and participate so enthusiastically in a system of extermination.
30


This chapter will be organized as follows: First, I will discuss the capture of
Eichmann in Argentina and the subsequent trial in Jerusalem. This will help illustrate the
monstrous narrative surrounding the trial of Eichmanns representation as demonic and anti-
Semitic. Next, I will discuss Arendt as a counter-narrative. Her notion of Eichmann as
ordinary and the banality of evil were very controversial, primarily because it was so
difficult to imagine an ordinary individual being capable of such monstrous deeds. Moreover,
in Western society we typically do not imagine evil as something that potentially includes
ourselves. Instead it is the few bad apples who do evil acts. However, Arendts notion of
evil as banal forced us to reconsider our typical Western conceptions of evil. By analyzing
this controversy and Arendts ideas we will be able to draw parallels to the Ward Churchill
controversy which will be discussed in depth in Chapter Four.
Following this, I will discuss two authors who have recently contested Arendts thesis
arguing that Eichmann was actually a deeply anti-Semitic and sadistic murderer. This section
is important because I find that determining the exact nature of Eichmann is unnecessary
because many similar acts of varying extremities have occurred in the years since
Eichmanns role in the Final Solution, by a variety of obedient, dutiful men and women
throughout the last century.
In the final section of this chapter I will explore the sanity in acts of monstrousness.
Some of the most egregious atrocities in human history have been performed by the
Eichmanns, the certifiably normal ones, the ones who are dutifully obedient to the state or the
greater good. I will discuss how the rhetoric of monstrousness is used as a way to separate
the horrific actions of certain individuals or groups of people, instead of acknowledging that
31


most of these monstrous acts are committed by normal, perfectly sane individuals. I will look
at various authors who argue that the narrative of evil is problematic because we are all
capable of being monsters.
The Narrative of Monstrousness: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann
On May 11, 1960 Eichmann missed his usual bus home to Garibaldi St. from his job
at a German automobile warehouse in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He had fled Germany not
long after the end of the Third Reich, having been mentioned by a number of former Nazi
party members connecting him to playing an important role in Hitlers Final
Solution (Lasok, 1962, p. 355; Lipstadt, 2011, p. 5). Initially in Argentina, Eichmann, who
was then using the pseudonym Richardo Klement, was unsuccessful at establishing steady
work. He eventually received a job at Daimler-Benz, a German car company in Buenos Aires
(Horowitz, 1994, p. 1). Eichmann arrived at his home, a small, unimpressive shack on a hill,
late on that evening, where he was met by two Israeli agents who were pretending to be
stranded on the side of the road with car trouble (Lipstadt, 2011, p. 16). When he got off the
bus the Israelis grabbed Eichmann, forced him into their car, then took him to a safe house,
at which point the agents were able to confirm his identity as Adolf Otto Eichmann
(Horowitz, 1994, p. 2).
The trial of Eichmann was marked by controversy from the beginning. From
determining the location of the trial, to the sheer number of witnesses that testified about
their experiences at various concentration camps, to Eichmanns defense that he was simply
following orders from his superiorseverything about the trial was sensationalized. On top
of this, Arendts thesis on the banality of evil concerning Eichmanns rather ordinary nature
32


became the most contested part of the trial and is still inspiring debate today (Lipstadt, 2011;
Stangneth, 2014).
From the moment the dramatic capture of Eichmann in Argentina was published as
headline news in newspapers and on televisions around the world, Eichmann was labeled a
monster. The trial of Eichmann created the impression of him as evil by the prosecutions
use of over 112 witnesses to testify on stand reiterating the massive human suffering and
atrocities that had occurred in the concentration camps (Bigart, 1961, p. 9). These
testimonies, coming seventeen years after the liberation of Auschwitz, were exceedingly
dramatic. Philosopher and critic Harold Rosenberg (1961) describes the testimonies as
tragic poetry, that of making the pathetic and terrifying past live again in the mind, even
more, that it was too much and the audience is becoming dulled, the horrors are losing
their effect (pp. 369-371). Another reason for the mass demonization of Eichmann was
because the trial was televised worldwide, these often horrific testimonies became the first
many people had heard of the actual events that occurred during the Holocaust and, in
particular, the concentration camps. This perspective of Eichmann as evil was represented in
newspapers and broadcast around the world, all suggesting Eichmann was a diabolical anti-
Semite. The abundance of emotional testimonies used and the dramatic narrative from the
victims allowed for Eichmann to not so much be on trial as the Holocaust itself (Rosenberg,
1961, p. 375). Eichmann came to represent the anger and pain of all the individuals who
suffered during this time period as well as a scapegoat for the worlds collective inaction in
the face of the Holocaust.
33


Furthermore, the trial was a spectacle; not only was the trial held in the Beit Haam
theatre in Jerusalem, but Eichmann spent 25 days on the witness stand, far longer than any
other Nazi that was tried in the Nuremberg trials in 1945, which adjudicated 22 top Nazi
officials in only six months (Halkin, 2005, p. 59). This extended time spent on the
defendants stand, in a bullet proof glass booth, allowed for a certain perspective to be
formed around the nature of Eichmann as he repeated, ad nauseam, the same line of defense:
that he was only following orders. Moreover, the establishment of the monster narrative
contributed to the intense negative public and academic reaction toward Arendts thesis on
Eichmann
Eichmann was tried and found guilty of fifteen charges: four as crimes against the
Jewish people, seven as crimes against humanity, one war crime, and three for being a
member of a hostile organization (Lasok, 1962, p. 356). The final ruling from the judges was
in part as follows: Eichmann not only pulled the strings, but introduced new, more
effective methods for extermination, such as the chemical used in the gas chambers at
Auschwitz (p. 371). This ruling was important for two reasons. First, because it pushed forth
a dominant narrative, from a legitimate authority figure of Eichmann as a being fully aware
of his actions and the consequences of those actions. Moreover, that Eichmann was anti-
Semitic, that he was sadistic in that he enjoyed making Hitlers Final Solution operate so
efficiently. This narrative, that portrayed Eichmann as a sadistic Nazi, became the dominant
narrative.
Second, this narrative was important because it was picked up by the press and sent
into the eager ears of the public, who now could affirm that Eichmann must indeed be an evil
34


man, a monster, not the ordinary family man he pretended to be. It was much easier to
believe that the actions of the Nazis were done by manipulative monstrous individuals, not
by your next door neighbor or your father and mother. In essence, that it could not have
happened in our society. More importantly, this is part of the reason that Arendts publication
of Eichmann in Jerusalem became so controversial, her counter-narrative to Eichmanns
character was, for the most part, rejected by both academics and the general public. In the
next section, I will discuss Arendts conceptualization of Eichmann in order to further
understand the controversy surrounding her depiction of Eichmann, her meaning of
thoughtlessness and the banality of evil.
Hannah Arendt, the New Yorker, and the Banality of Evil Controversy
In this section I will explore Arendts conceptualization of Eichmann during his trial
as she presents in her work for the New Yorker. This will help us to visualize Arendts
argument that Eichmann was ordinary in order to properly juxtapose her argument with the
positions that I will expand on in the following section concerning scholars who are reviving
the argument of Eichmann as a sadistic anti-Semite. Second, this section is necessary in order
to more fully understand the later chapters of using Eichmann as a metaphor.
Arendt and the New Yorker
Arendt, who was already a respected and established political theorist after publishing
her well-received book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, contacted the New Yorker and offered
to cover the trial of Eichmann in Israel. The editor at the New Yorker, William Shawn, agreed
and, subsequently, Arendts journalistic reporting was published as a series of five essays,
35


later compiled, nearly word-for-word, into a book entitled Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report
on the Banality of Evil.
Arendts portrayal of Eichmann as an ordinary man, primarily interested in furthering
his career, was met with an exorbitant wave of criticism. Journalist Amos Elon (2006/2007)
writes that: No book within living memory had elicited such similar passions. [...] The
controversy has never really been settled. Such controversies often die down, simmer, then
erupt again (p. 93). Similarly, philosopher Seyla Benhabib (1996) argues that, Among all
Hannah Arendts writings, Eichmann in Jerusalem generated by far the most acrimonious
and the most tangled controversy (p. 35). Further, she suggests that Arendt is to be credited
for being among the first to encourage facing the facts of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust
in all their naked horror (p. 41). This sentiment is an important aspect of the controversy
surrounding Arendts argument because prior to Arendts narrative, Eichmann had been
primarily conceived of as a monster. The fact that many who made the Holocaust possible
were ordinary people made the Holocaust even more difficult for people to come to terms
with.
Furthermore, the original essays, in The New Yorker, were published among
advertisements for Tiffany jewelry and elegant fur coats and, by many, Arendts decision to
publish her work in The New Yorker was not considered intellectual enough for the serious
matter of her work (Elon, 2006/2007, p. 101). Some also criticized her for having attended
only a handful of sessions; due to this it was suggested she would not be able to determine
the true nature of Eichmanns deceptive character.
36


Upon publication one critic called her analysis of Eichmann significant and yet a
disappointing book, further that Arendt was subjective, and that the work was not
scholarly enough (Foster, 1965, pp. 71 & 73). Furthermore, many were offended at
Arendts accusation, although other intellectuals had also made the same observation: that the
Jewish Council members were actors in the increased effectiveness of the Final Solution
and that if they had not cooperated with the Germans the numbers who have died would have
been far fewer. Others scourged her subtitle to her book reducing evil to being banal. Louis
Harap (1964) writes: Whatever she may have meant, evil is never banal: there is too much
of human suffering in its infliction, too much of insensitivity or corruption or malice in its
doing, to warrant such a characterization (p. 227). Further, some suggest that her book is
arrogant, perverse, no doubt that she should have been more gentle, and she had some
lapses in taste; fewer argue it is brilliantly written and courageous (Harap, 1964, p.
225; Zeisel, 1964, p. 198; Burin, 1964, p. 122 & 125). One more recent critic bluntly states:
She is wrong (Halkin, 2005, p. 60).
Conservative political writer Norman Podhoretz (1963) argues that Arendts version
of Eichmann was the interesting version of the story he goes on to refute her thesis by
writing:
For uninteresting though it may be to say so, no person could have joined the Nazi
party, let alone the S.S., who was not at the very least a vicious anti-Semite; to
believe otherwise is to learn nothing about the nature of anti-Semitism.
Uninteresting though it may be to say so, no person of conscience could have
participated knowingly in mass murder: to believe otherwise is to learn nothing
about the nature of conscience. And uninteresting thought it may be to say so, no
banality of a man could have done so hugely evil a job so well; to believe
otherwise is to learn nothing about the nature of evil. (p. 206)
37


This critic, unfortunately, misses the meaning of Arendts conceptualization of Eichmann and
the banality of evil. The banality of evil as Arendt meant it is not extreme or radical evil, as
the West had typically envisioned evil, but as evil performed by the seemingly ordinary
actions of individuals doing their daily jobs. However, Arendt did not intend for this to mean
it was at all commonplace; rather, it was carried out by those individuals who simply failed to
think about the consequences of their actions on others.
Philosopher Seyla Benhabib (1996) argues, in reference to the banality of evil thesis:
It takes either a great deal of hermeneutic blindness and ill will or both to miss her meaning
in the usage of this term, although of course one may disagree with the assessment of
Eichmanns psychology (p. 45). Further, Benhabib suggests that the wider public found it
difficult to grasp what she was after, insofar as Arendts views were of quite a different
nature than what was commonly assumed about this phenomenon in the tradition of Western
thought (p. 46). Elon similarly argues that: Evil, as [Arendt] saw it, need not be committed
only by demonic monsters but with disastrous effects by morons and imbeciles as well
[...] (2006/2007, p. 95). In one of the final interviews Arendt gave, she clarifies her
meaning behind the banality of evil:
Eichmann was perfectly intelligent, but in this respect he was stupid. It was this
stupidity that was so outrageous. And that was what I actually meant by banality.
Theres nothing deep about itnothing demonic! There is simply the reluctance
ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing [...]. (1975/2013, p. 48)
It is important to understand that, prior to the Eichmann trial, Arendts conception of the
notion of evil in her 1951 book Origins of Totalitarianism was quite different. Elon
(2006/2007) writes of her transition:
38


In The Origins of Totalitarianism she still held on to a Kantian notion of radical
evil, the evil that, under the Nazis, corrupted the basis of moral law, exploded
legal categories, and defied human judgment. In Tichmann in Jerusalem, and in
the bitter controversies about it that followed, she insisted that only good had any
depth. Good can be radical; evil can never be radical, it can only be extreme, for it
possesses neither depth not any demonic dimension yetand this is its horror!
it can spread like a fungus over the surface of the earth and lay waste the entire
world, (p. xiv)
Moreover, that:
Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought
tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from
which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the
banality of evil. (p. xiv)
The banality of evil, as Arendt intended it to mean, was not that evil acts did not occur, but
that evil could manifest in such ordinary men and women whose actions could incur such
great harm on others, yet the individual appear mild, calm, not the sadist demented individual
that we might typically imagine, all because they failed to think. The evil actions that
unfolded during the Holocaust, and many other times since, were the actions of humans,
ordinary individuals, who, depending on particular situations and contexts, were able to
commit great acts of evil, without really thinking or by refusing to imagine the consequences
of their actions on others. For Arendt, this banality of evil was all the more terrifying.
This banality of evil was not only apparent in the actions of Eichmann during the
Third Reich, but as Arendt (1963/1992) suggests that the population at large obviously
could not have cared less (p. 156). Further, the banality of evil was apparent in the choice of
all the countries who refused to aid Jewish refugees at the time. Historian Henry Feingold
(1980) suggests that: [Eichmanns] reaction was, after all, not that far removed from
American consular officials who also discovered that blocking the entrance of Jews to the
39


United States was approved behavior which might further their careers (p. 45). Similarly,
Elie Wiesel (1961) asks: Is it not strangelet us use only that wordthat the civilized
world waited until it was too late before expressing its moral indignation, waited until there
were scarcely any Jews left to be saved (p. 512). Wiesel continues:
There can be no justification, nor any explanation for passivity when an effort had
to be made to save five to ten thousand Jews from murder each day. Just how
many meetings were there at Madison Square Garden, and how many
demonstrations in front of the White House? To think of how few, makes ones
blood run cold. (p. 512)
The banality of evil, is banal because the actions one chooses to make are so seemingly
unimportant, yet it can sometimes incur such serious harm on another. The choices of an
individual to pursue what is in his or her best interests in terms of a career might contribute to
the near annihilation of a group of people, and this is a very common trait to possess in a
bureaucracy. Arendt, is suggesting that, Eichmann had a choice, however, he refused to even
think about his options or the consequences of the choices he made, beyond the success of
his career. How many of us face a similar situation when we go to work daily?
Eichmann as Ordinary
Arendt conceptualizes Eichmann as an ordinary man who is primarily interested in
getting a good job, moving up in the ranks to be socially and economically successful,
following orders, and being dedicated to what he felt to be his duty as a good law-abiding
citizen: that is being faithful to Hitler as his perceived patriotic duty. Eichmann even
demonstrates his obedience, or general lack of thinking, when he was captured in Argentina.
Upon being taken to the safe house by his captors, he was taken to the toilet, at which point
when asked if he should begin only when he was told yes did he begin to move his
40


bowels (Lipstadt, 2011, p. 17). Deborah Lipstadt (2011), who outspokenly does not agree
with Arendts analysis of Eichmann, observes that the Israeli captors [witnessing
Eichmanns behavior [...] wondered if this man could possibly have decided the fate of
millions of my people (p. 17).
Similarly, Avner W. Less (1983), who had interrogated Eichmann for over 275 hours
accumulating in 3,564 pages when transcribed, writes that Eichmann would stand at
attention behind his chair until I said he could be seated and that he still wanted to be
treated like a soldier (p. 50). Further, Eichmann spoke terrible German, mixed with phrases
used by the Nazi bureaucracy, making much of what he said unintelligible, until one
became accustomed to his phrases (p. 45). Certainly the language used in the Nazi
bureaucracy and parroted by Eichmann helped him to ignore the consequences of his actions.
In the same vein, Arendt argues that Eichmann seemed unable to create any original thoughts
of his own. By using technical language, as Eichmann did, Eichmann came to view his
actions as contributing to his career; rather, than contributing to the extermination of groups
of people.
Furthermore, Arendt (1963/1992) observes that the use of language adopted by
Eichmann aided him in not thinking. For example, she discusses Eichmanns use of cliches in
court and his objective attitudetalking about concentration camps in terms of
administration, and about extermination camps in terms of economy[which] was typical
of the S.S. mentality, and something Eichmann, at the trial, was still very proud of (p. 69).
Less (1983) writes that it was further garbled by his liking for endlessly complicated
sentences which he himself would occasionally get lost in (p. 45). Less also observes that
41


Eichmann was a liar. That, in fact, He would lie until defeated by documentary proof and
frequently claimed he was following Befehlsnotstand (orders from above) (p. 46). Less,
although he suggests that Eichmann obviously had no feeling for the monstrousness of his
crime and did not show the slightest twinge of remorse, goes on to describe a
conversation with Eichmann where Eichmann inquires to Less about his family:
whether [Less] had any brothers and sisters, and whether [Lesss] parents were
still alive. [He] told him that [his] father had been deported to the East by
[Eichmanns] organization in January 1943, one of the last transports from Berlin.
Eichmann opened his eyes wide and cried out: But thats horrible, Herr
Hauptmann/ Thats horrible! (p. 46)
Although Less did not necessarily back up Arendts arguments, his comments concerning
Eichmanns inability to feel remorse, or to demonstrate an understanding of the importance
of his own role in the extermination of people, is reiterated through Arendts observations
that Eichmann was not sadistic, but that he was, rather simply, refusing to think in another
persons shoes, so to speak. This conversation between Less and Eichmann aids in
demonstrating that it was sheer thoughtlessness that allowed for Eichmann to react in this
manner toward Less, although he is the indirect cause of the death of Lesss father it is as if
Eichmann simply had not thought about the results of his actions in human form. Eichmann
seemed unwilling to imagine his own culpability in the results, in terms of real human lives.
Arendt (1963/1992) writes:
The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to
speak was closely connected with his inability to think, namely to think from the
standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not
because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all
safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality
as such. (p. 49)
42


However, Arendt (1963/1992) repeatedly argues that Eichmann was not stupid,
although he dropped out of High School, and was without any prospects for a career (p.
29). He appeared as a failure toward his family and himself, thus the opportunity to move
up in the Reich, and join the SS, was something that Eichmann was interested in doing in
order to establish himself and further his career (p. 33). Eichmann was a devoted family man,
even when he left for Argentina, after WWII, his family followed a short time later. He was
committed to performing his duty to the Nazi party and was an unquestioning, law-abiding
citizen above all else. Sociologist Fred E. Katz (1993) contributes to understanding
Eichmanns mentality by writing:
To return to Eichmanns career as an SS officer, he evidently did not deeply
support every item in the SS package. This was not atypical for SS officers.
Eichmann repeatedly expressed fairly explicitly reservations, but like other SS
officers, he carried out all aspects of the Nazi package. He expressed unhappiness
about the decision to annihilate the Jews, but zealously pursued its
implementation, (p. 98)
It is evident that a number of SS officers questioned the legitimacy, legality, and morality of
the orders that they were asked to carry out. However, most stated that they simply pushed
these thoughts from their head, in order to perform their perceived duty and in order to be
obedient to the orders that they were issued.
There are many examples of Eichmann-like behavior during the Third Reich. Just one
example, is Rudolf Hoess, who was in charge of Auschwitz. Under his command millions of
Jews were sent to their deaths, all the while, he was still a considerate, caring, and loving
family man in the evenings (Katz, 1993, p. 116). Katz (1993) writes: [Hoess] and his family
appear to have led a life of comfortable German burgherhood. There were bucolic joys of
43


quiet walks in the woods, not far from the electric fences and the chimneys (p. 126).
Psychologist Molly Harrower argues this nonchalant behavior in the midst of mass
exterminations was considerably normal under the Third Reich. She writes: The Nazis
who went on trial at Nuremberg were as diverse a group of people as one might find in our
own government today, or for that matter, in the leadership of the PTA (as cited in Chartock,
1978, p. 200). Moreover, Arendt (1963/1992) suggests that Eichmann was indeed normal
insofar as he was no exception within the Nazi regime. However, under the conditions of
the Third Reich only exceptions could be expected to react normally (p. 27).
Moreover, Arendt (1963/1992) observes that Eichmann was analyzed by a number of
physicians who had certified him as normal and that his was obviously also no case of
insane hatred of Jew, of fanatical anti-Semitism (p. 26). Israeli psychiatrist, Isidore S.
Kulcsar observes that Adolf Eichmanns sickness contrasts sharply with sadism. [...] In the
same manner as he organized the mass execution of Jews, he was ready to liquidate Russian
prisoners, Polish patriots, or German democrats. He killed impersonally, in a bureaucratic
way. He was the archetypal murderer of our time; furthermore, Kulcsar proposes that the
word Eichmannism be added to the psychiatric language to describe the uniqueness of his
state of mind (as cited in Society for Science & the Public, 1966, p. 318).
Moreover, the judges assumed that Eichmann was a masterful liar; however, Arendt
(1963/1994) found that they missed the greatest moral and even legal challenge of the whole
case and that the judges rested on the assumption that the defendant [...] must have been
aware of the criminal nature of his acts (pp. 26-27). Arendt suggests this was, in part,
because of the judges own inability to understand that an individual could contribute so
44


effectively to the Holocaust and still be considered a normal and ordinary person. In the
verdict, the judges wrote: [Eichmann] never showed repentance or weakness or any
weakening of strength or any weakening of will in the performance of the task which he
undertook. Further, that he carried out his unspeakably horrible crimes with genuine joy
and enthusiasm, to his own satisfaction and the satisfaction of all his superiors (Asser,
1963). Arendt (1963/1994) writes:
[The judges] did not believe him, because they were too good, and perhaps also
too conscious of the very foundations of their profession, to admit that an average,
normal person, neither feeble-minded nor indoctrinated nor cynical, could be
perfectly incapable of telling right from wrong, (p. 26)
For Arendt this was precisely the ordinariness, this indifference, this banality of evil, that was
what she considered all the more disturbing. In the next section, I will discuss the re-
emergence of the narrative of monstrousness to describe Eichmann, as was popularly
reiterated during his trial, in order to disregard this argument as unhelpful and irrelevant for
my purposes.
The Re-emergence of the Dominant Narrative of Monstrousness
In this section, I will briefly explore two individuals who recently rejuvenated, or
perhaps merely continued, the popular narrative of monstrousness in reference to Eichmann:
Deborah Lipstadt and Bettina Stangneth. This discussion is important in order to demonstrate
that these arguments are unhelpful deliberations that distract us from having other
meaningful conversations that could contribute to us understanding Eichmannesque behavior
as it still manifests today.
45


The first rejuvenator of the dominant narrative of monstrousness is the voice of
Stangneth (2014) who essentially disputes Arendts thesis that Eichmann was merely a rule-
following bureaucrat, with no particular hatred against Jews. She argues that Eichmann was a
mass murderer, a master manipulator and that if one was to research his past, information she
suggests was unavailable to Arendt at the time, this would be readily apparent. Similarly,
Lipstadt (2011) suggests that Arendt was tasteless and, perhaps, even a bit racist, as well as a
number of incorrect facts being present in Arendts scholarship. Further, she argues that
Eichmann and his cohorts did not randomly go from being ordinary men to being
murderers (p. 183). Lipstadt suggests that Arendt overgeneralized this assumption in her
work. However, Lipstadt does not disagree that Eichmann was indeed, at some point, an
ordinary person. She writes:
It was the transformation of seemingly normal people into killers that rightfully
intrigued her. Though much of what she said about the Jewish victims and the
manner in which she said it is disturbing, her contenting that many of the
perpetrators were not innately monsters or diabolical creatures but ordinary
people who did monstrous things not only seems accurate but is the accepted
understand among most scholars of the perpetrators. It is precisely their
ordinarinesstheir banalitythat makes their horrific actions so troubling. [...]
However, in Eichmanns case her analysis seems strangely out of touch with
reality of his historical record, (p. 169)
I included these current disputers toward Arendts work because I assumed this thesis might
be disputed on the basis that Arendts conceptualization of Eichmann was inaccurate and
wrong, that Eichmann was a monster. Thus, I am arguing that Stangneth and Lipstadts
perspectives, although well-researched and argued, are unimportant to the overall argument
that Eichmann was ordinary. Whether he developed into an anti-Semite over years, whether
Arendt got some facts wrong in her scholarship, or whether Eichmann was manipulative
46


during his trial is not important to the argument I am putting forth here, which is that
Eichmanns actions have manifested in different forms again and again in many ordinary
individuals and that our culture of thoughtlessness is only increasing the potential for
Eichmannism to manifest. In other words, while Eichmann the man is contemptible, we are
not off the hook for our thoughtlessness and our contributions to systemic injustice. Next, I
will discuss the sanity that underlies monstrousness.
Sanity and Monstrousness
The following poem written by Leonard Cohen (1964) entitled All there is to know
about Adolf Eichmann continues our discussion concerning the sanity of Eichmann and
connects us back to the opening poem at the beginning of this chapter:
EYES: Medium
HAIR: Medium
WEIGHT: Medium
HEIGHT: Medium
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: None
NUMBER OF FINGERS: Ten
NUMBER OF TOES: Ten
INTELLIGENCE: Medium
What did you expect?
Talons?
Oversize incisors?
Green saliva?
Madness?
Although this poem is specifically intended to help us to recognize the sanity in Eichmann, it
is important to consider the overall presence of this sanity in all doers of evil.
Thomas Merton (1980) observes that the few individuals who are truly sadistic or
insane are kept away from the button that drops the bomb or the frontline in the military.
He writes:
47


It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without
nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of
destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared. What makes us so sure, after
all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into a position to fire the first
shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones will keep them
far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have
perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They
will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command.
(p. 161)
Despite the typical messages broadcast to us that indicate violence and human suffering are
typically carried out by monstrous people, in reality, it is the sane among us who are
responsible for more deaths and suffering of humans, animals, and destruction of the
environment, than the few truly insane individuals. Merton further observes:
The generals and fighters on both sides, in World War II, the ones who carried out
the total destruction of entire cities, these were the sane ones. Those who have
invented and developed atomic bombs, thermonuclear bombs, milieus; who have
planned the strategy of the next war; who have evaluated the various possibilities
of using bacterial and chemical agents: those are not the crazy people, they are the
sane people. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can be
considered expendable in nuclear war [...]. (pp. 161-162)
The trouble with this sanity is that we, who are also sane, trust authority figures without
question, because authority is generally considered to be sane, to know better than the rest of
us, and to be obeyed without question. Thus, our mechanisms for thinking critically become
largely discarded in situations where we are asked to obey and to situate patriotism or the
survival of the state above the life of the individual that we are conditioned to view as the
enemy. Merton suggests that: If [modem man] was a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a
little more aware of his absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of
his survival (p. 162). Scientist Roger Fisher (1981) similarly argues that we ought to learn to
question our assumptions. He writes: The danger of nuclear war lies largely within us. It lies
48


in how we think about winning, in how we define success, and in our illusions of being able
to impose results (p. 14). If we continue to view our society with sane lenses, insofar as to
win means to consider that a certain amount of human life is disposable, is able to be
sacrificed for a state-sanctioned national interest, as Fisher suggests, then we will continue to
have mass suffering. Although the discussion by Fisher is concerning nuclear war it can
easily be translated into the dropping of napalm, drones, or any other weapon released at
great distances by the dutiful soldier.
Hans Askenasy (1978) similarly argues: By traditional standards, crime and
abnormality account for only a very small part of human destructiveness. This is so because
most men and women, including those who start wars and commit murder, and genocide,
have been and are considered normal (p. 103). In our general lives, we prefer to keep a
veil of illusions or distractions between what we take in directly and the horrors of the
insane in the world around us. Askenasy expands on this by suggesting that we prefer to
use illusions to allow us to deal with the insanity of reality. He writes that these are
abnormal illusions which keeps us insane and we ought to adapt to the fact that we are
blind (pp. 105-106). Moreover, he continues, we should dissolve these mechanism in our
society that keep us blind. These mechanisms keep us feeling sane in an insane world.
Arendt (1978) also contributes to this discussion in suggesting that Unthinking men are like
sleepwalkers (p. 191). She argues that distractions are necessary in order to prevent us from
becoming overwhelmed by the world around us; however, only to a certain extent, we must
always come back to our thinking selves in order to live a meaningful or fully alive life (p.
191). Furthermore, Askenasy suggests if we were to become aware of the insanity of the
49


sanity in the horrors of suffering that occur in our world we might be more likely to make
some lasting changes for a better future. Askenasy warns us: We are left with a grim
conclusion that while Eichmann is gone, Eichmannism is not. And the cost to mankind is
prohibitive (p. 77).
Similarly, literary critic Kenneth Burke (1959/1984) writes of the normality of
individuals who can be responsible for great suffering:
One problem of proportion with regard to the nature of our society has to do with
the disparity between our powers as physical organisms and our powers as
magnified by the resources, both technical and organizational, of applied science.
The horrors of Auschwitz derive from a few instructions give by authorities who
never went near the place. An overwhelming amount of the damage done by our
ingenious, spendthrift modem weaponry in Vietnam was made possible by
humble, orderly, obedient, peacefully behaving jobholders, who raise their
families in the quiet suburbs, and perhaps do no even spank their children, (p.
421)
This notion of sanity in the act of monstrousness is also reflected in the scholarship of Erich
Fromm (1994), who suggests: All of us are criminals, just as all of us are saints. Each of us
is good and each of us is evil. And precisely because evil is also human, we can understand
evil, insofar as we see evil in ourselves (p. 28). Moreover, Fromm (1981/2010) writes that
When Eichmann defends himself and states that he is only a bureaucrat and has, in reality,
only regulated trains and worked out schedules, then he is not altogether off the mark. I
believe that there is a bit of Eichmann in us all today (p. 28).
The convenient and comforting illusion of evil as existing out there in the world is
detrimental for our ability to think critically and to recognize that these acts are not
perpetrated by evil individuals, rather there is an entire system that functions behind the
50


acts of these individuals that contribute to their thought processes and decisions. Similarly,
Omar Swartz (2004) observes:
Americans pride themselves on their individuality, yet that individuality is largely
a myth. While we have choices as consumers, larger structural forces condition
our public morality and impel conformity. The most despicable acts are
perpetrated by people who are otherwise moral, productive, well-socialized
members of a civilized community (such as the recent Abu Ghraib Prison scandal
in which the American and British government acknowledge the widespread
torturing and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by their military forces). [...]
Recognizing this point is the first step toward reining in the Eichmann in all of us.
(p. 161)
If we can recognize the sanity in the acts of monstrousness, in those of evildoers, such as
Eichmann, we can begin to understand our own potential culpability and, thus, our individual
responsibility to the world around us in order to prevent Eichmannesque actions from
manifesting. In the following chapter I explore the Eichmann metaphor in relation to
bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is essential to this conversation because we live in a world similar
to Eichmanns, we share fundamental characteristics with Eichmann, and these are primarily a
result of a society that we come to learn to value these characteristics in the first place.
Conclusion
In this chapter I explored the capture and trial of Eichmann in order to illustrate how
the narrative of monstrousness became linked with the identity of Eichmann. Next, I
juxtaposed Arendts observations concerning Eichmann as ordinary and I discussed her
concept of the banality of evil. Then, I looked at two scholars who have recently disputed
Arendts argument with new evidence that Eichmann was actually a sadistic anti-Semite. I
demonstrated that Eichmanns true nature was unimportant for my overall argument as his
thoughtlessness has manifested in a variety of ways since Eichmanns actions during the
51


Third Reich. Finally, I observed that sanity and monstrous actions are not binary opposites,
rather evil is an act done by humans, and an act of the sane individual. In the next chapter I
will discuss the bureaucratization of Eichmannism and how the bureaucracy and the
development of technology have affected individuals ability to see the other as human.
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CHAPTER III
THE BUREAUCRATIZATION OF EICHMANNISM
I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of Admin. The greatest evil is not now
done in those sordid dens of crime that [Charles] Dickens loved to paint. It is
not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final
results. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted)
in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white
collars and cut figure nails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise
their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the
bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business
concern.
- C.S. Lewis, The Screw tape Letters
[H]uman history began as an act of disobedience, and it is not unlikely that it will
be terminated by an act of obedience.
Erich Fromm, On Disobedience
Introduction
Lewis (1942/1961) version of Hell as the office of a bureaucracy offers us quite a
different version of the doers of evil than commonly conceived. Lewis paints the image, in
the above quote, not of devils and sadistic individuals as responsible for the greatest evil, but
those that operate under the safety of the bright lights in an office building and those that are
sane. The bureaucratization of evil, turning evil actions into commonplace banal actions, is
something we will explore in this chapter. The above quote is important because it represents
both the sanity of the individual who commits evil acts, which we explored in the previous
chapter, and the bureaucracy as an essential aspect of Eichmannism.
The primary goal of this chapter is to explore the Eichmann metaphor as it has been
used in reference to actors influenced by the bureaucracy. I will address such questions as:
How has bureaucracy changed the nature of individuals? To what extent is our methods of
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thinking, or not-thinking, predicated on what we are taught from youth to be efficient, rule-
re-citing, and conformist individuals for success in a bureaucracy? Does our ability to
imagine our actions consequences on another change with distance when enhanced with the
use of technology or when guided by an authority figure? Does our education and culture of
thoughtlessness limit us in understanding the importance of imaging these consequences?
The Eichmann metaphor fits nicely into this discussion because a number of individuals have
used the Eichmann metaphor in reference to the oftentimes horrific actions inflicted upon
others at a distance. The bureaucratization of Eichmannism simply means that the
bureaucracy has set the framework for homogenized thought, particularly thought that is
formed around the basis of technological and managerial efficiency; in essence,
Eichmannesque qualities have been incorporated into the functionality of the bureaucracy
making them more commonplace. The bureaucracy elicits in individuals little autonomy;
rather, it encourages individuals to refer to handbooks and rules instead of rationalizing and
thinking for themselves.
In the first section, I will explore the bureaucratization of Eichmannism that allows
for individuals to become enthusiastic participants in wars, torturers, or just indifferent and
thoughtless paper-pushers. This section will include an in-depth exploration into the many
different facets of Eichmannism in relation to the bureaucracy. I will also look at the specific
uses of the Eichmann metaphor in regard to the responses of police spokespersons attempting
to justify the deaths of African Americans, the British Petroleum (BP) Gulf Coast oil spill
executive, and the banal reaction to the suffering of villagers in the massacres at My Lai 4
and Ben Sue.
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Finally, I will look at Stanley Milgram's obedience experiment which has been
referred to as the Eichmann experiment (1974, p. 178). I am looking at this social
experiment and not others because the Milgram obedience experiment is a good
representation of the behavior of an individual in the simulated setting of the bureaucracy. I
will briefly explain the experiment, then discuss the results. The main focus of this discussion
will be concerning the reaction of individuals when faced with an authority figure, potentially
the bureaucrat, and how commonly a perceived greater good can take precedence over the
suffering inflicted upon another human. Second, I will explore how this fits into our
discussion of Eichmannism and the bureaucracy as presented by Milgram. As I will
demonstrate, the elevation of a greater good in a society helps to create attitudes of
superfluousness toward some humans.
Bureaucratized Indifference: Technology, Superfluousness, and Eichmannism
For Arendt, the Holocaust represented a change in our traditional ways of thinking.
Old words and theories were no longer suitable to provide explanations for what had
unfolded during the Holocaust. Arendt found that the uniqueness of the Holocaust was that it
was largely a massacre carried out by generally well-intentioned and ordinary Germans
(1994, p. 288). Despite this, and the often used excuse of following orders, Arendt found
that this in no way excused the Nazis and Eichmann for what they had done; she concludes in
Eichmann in Jerusalem declaring that these individuals were still deserving of punishment
and that Eichmann certainly deserved to be hanged. However, this administration
massacre, or perhaps we could call it a bureaucratized massacre, is a fundamental aspect
to understanding the Eichmann metaphor and Eichmannism more generally. The existence of
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bureaucratization allows for significant distance to exist between the individual who gives
the orders, the individual who performs the act, and the individual who suffers the
consequences. As we will explore next, the Holocaust was marked by an entirely new way of
inflicting human suffering.
It is essential that I first explore what a bureaucracy is and some of the effects that a
bureaucracy can have on the individual. Media ecologist Neil Postman (1992) defines
bureaucracy as a coordinated series of techniques for deducting the amount of information
that requires processing and that a bureaucracy ignores all information and ideas that do
not contribute to efficiency (pp. 84-85). This is similar to what is commonly taught in
business classrooms, portraying profit and efficiency as being the number one consideration
for a successful businessperson.
In an age of globalized technology and instant communication we are taught, first and
foremost, to be efficient workers, emphasizing speed, time, and, most of all, profit. However,
Postman (1992) suggests there is a danger in this way of thinking:
[T]his makes bureaucracies exceedingly dangerous, because, though they were
originally designed to process only technical information, they now are
commonly employed to address problems of a moral, social, and political nature.
The bureaucracy of the nineteenth century was largely concerned with making
transportation, industry, and the distribution of goods more efficient. Technopolys
bureaucracy has broken loose from such restrictions and now claims sovereignty
over all of societys affairs, (p. 86)
In this way, certain human lives can come to be considered superfluous. For example, a
government or corporation that chooses to commodify resources, such as water, at the risk of
individuals living in poverty losing access to clean water, is considering some lives to be
disposable. This is considered to be part of the process of efficiency, these thinking patterns
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are enforced by a bureaucracy which is focused on profit. By ignoring these consequences
we are, in effect, behaving like Eichmann. For example, we know the probable effects of
denying an individual health care, yet we push these thoughts from our mind in order to
make money and to perform a job. In the same way, these corporations are often aware of the
consequences, yet they chose to ignore it. Postman observes:
The word bureaucrat has come to mean a person who by training, commitment,
and even temperament is indifferent to both the content and the totality of a
human problem. The bureaucrat considers the implications of a decision only to
the extent that the decision will affect the efficient operations of the bureaucracy,
and takes no responsibility for its human consequences. Thus, Adolf Eichmann
becomes the basic model and metaphor for a bureaucrat in the age of Technopoly.
(pp. 86-87)
He continues:
Eichmanns answer is probably given five thousand times a day in America alone:
I have no responsibility for the human consequences of my decisions. I am only
responsible for the efficiency of my part of the bureaucracy, which must be
maintained at all costs, (p. 87)
Postman acknowledges that, although this is true, the consequences of these actions are
typically not as extreme as the consequences of Eichmanns actions during the Holocaust. By
technopoly Postman means a society where the primary if not the only, goal of human
labor and thought is efficiency; that technical calculation is in all respects superior to human
judgment; [... ] that what cannot be measured either does not exist or is of no value; and that
the affairs of citizens are best guided and conducted by experts (p. 10). We must
acknowledge that the conditions that a bureaucracy helps to produce are those that have the
potential to allow for Eichmannism to occur; the possibility for mass human suffering is
found in the very systems that shape and guide us to treat some humans as disposable.
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Political scientists Michael Roskin, Robert Cord, James Medeiros, and Walter Jones
(2011) define bureaucracy as any large organization of appointed officials who implement
laws and policies typically operating under rules and procedures with a chain of command
or hierarchy of authority (p. 265). Further, without bureaucracy there is no government and
that a [bjureaucracy comes automatically with any large organization, public or private
including the military (pp. 265-266). It is defined by its ability to be efficient, profitable, and
productive (p. 271). Similar to Postman, Roskin, Cord, Medeiros, and Jones also identify
some of the problems that arise in a bureaucracy. They write:
At its worst, bureaucracy can show signs of Eichmannism named after the Nazi
official who organized the death trains for Europes Jews and after told his Israeli
judges that he was just doing his job. Nazi bureaucracy treated people like things,
a problem not limited to Germany, (p. 271)
Another common characteristic of a bureaucracy is the attitude of indifference toward the
consequences that affect others. Expanding on this notion, Henry Feingold (1980) writes:
Bureaucrats are not supposed to think or feel. If they did, whether it is the
administration of a mass murder program or one to help the poor, would not get
done. They objectify, think in terms of the larger system, are concerned about
programs, not people, (p. 50)
Humans, like objects to be traded and arranged, are snuggly fit into a cost-benefit equation,
they begin to become less than human as technical terms like collateral damage take the
place of naming the human life extinguished. This indifference, also mentioned by Postman,
becomes written into the personality and the prerequisites necessary to receive the career of a
bureaucrat. An individual in this position must learn to think in a certain way, and that is not
in the terms of human suffering or cost of lives, but in terms of profit and efficiency. Fromm
(1994) observes: Today, something fundamentally different is occurring. Evil no longer
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exists in contrast to good; rather, there is a new inhumanity: indifference..(p. 27). The
question then becomes: Has the bureaucracy helped in creating technologies that reduce our
capacity to identify those we harm from a distance as being human, and in effect creating an
indifference to suffering?
Susan Sontag (2003) observes that emotional indifference toward human suffering
can manifest with distance. She writes:
The war is waged as much as possible at a distance, through bombing, whose
targets can be chosen, on the basis of instantly relayed information and
visualizing technology, from continents away: the daily bombing operations in
Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002 were directed from U.S. Central
Command in Tampa, Florida, (p. 67)
Further problematic is that what is seen by American viewers is often staged, oftentimes the
tragedies that occur abroad are considered too violent or would influence unpatriotic
attitudes, thus unfit for Americans to view. Sontag argues that the use of restrictions for what
American viewers are allowed to see is often limited by the agenda of creating patriotism.
Sontag goes on to suggest that the American military promoted ... images that illustrated
Americas absolute military superiority over its enemy (p. 66). Moreover, that the effects of
this were largely censored:
American television viewers werent allowed to see footage acquired by NBC
(which the network then declined to run) of what [American] superiority could
wreak: the fate of thousands of Iraqi conscripts who, having fled Kuwait City at
the end of the war, on February 27, were carpet bombed with explosives, napalm,
radioactive DU (depleted uranium) rounds, and cluster bombs as they headed
north, in convoys and on foot, on the road to Basra, Iraqa slaughter notoriously
described by one American officer as a turkey shoot. (p. 66)
When coupled with the increasing thoughtlessness and anti-intellectualism in our culture, it
becomes difficult for us to determine what is real and what is not. The image of ourselves,
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our identity as Americans, is constructed by the information that we chose to engage with,
such as the books, television, or the news programs that we choose to watch. We come to
envision terrible atrocities that occur as being done by the other, the other who typically
resides in a third-world or savage country, moreover, all these are manifestations rooted in
imperialistic attitudes (p. 71). Sontag observes:
[S]uch atrocities [are] not as the acts of barbarians but as the reelection of a
belief system, racism, that by defining one people as less than human than another
legitimates torture and murder. But maybe they were barbarians. Maybe this is
what most barbarians look like. (They look like everybody else), (p. 92)
As Merton (1980) similarly argues, so long as we have the ideologies and the ability to create
the illusion of certain people to be less than human:
As long as this principle is easily available, as long as it is taken for granted, as
long as it can spread out on the front page at a moments notice and accepted by
all, we have no need of monsters: ordinary policemen and good citizens will take
care of everything, (p. 159)
We have seen in history that the convincing rhetoric of less-than-human has allowed for
some of the most atrocious acts to be carried out by ordinary individuals. As Sontag
observes, even in US history during the lynching of African Americans, families would
gather for picnics to watch the hangings. The image of suffering, and the act of evil, becomes
bearable, even commonplace and acceptable, so long as it is done to someone who is
considered sub-human, not us.
Another important question that comes to the forefront from this discussion is that of
what lives are sometimes considered superfluous. There are many examples of a disregard-
able or indifferent attitude toward the suffering of certain people. Judith Butler (2004) argues
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that in terms of the reaction of the US to 9/11, we are justifying slaughtering people for
slaughtering people (p. 13). She writes:
Those who remain faceless or whose faces are presented to us as so many
symbols of evil, authorize us to become senseless before those lives we have
eradicated, and whose grievability is indefinitely postponed. Certain faces must be
admitted into public view, must be seen and heard for some keener sense of the
value of life, all life, to take hold. (p. xviii)
Similarly, the actions of Eichmann were largely an act of indifference, guided by his refusal
to think about the human face connected to what the consequences of his actions were
entailing. Stanley Milgram (1974) contributes to this conversation by providing an insight to
Eichmanns mentality as a bureaucratic functionary:
Even Eichmann was sickened when he toured the concentration camps, but to
participate in mass murder he had only to sit at a desk and shuffle papers. At the
same time the man in the camp who actually dropped Cyclon-B into the gas
chambers was able to justify his behavior on the grounds that he was only
following orders from above. Thus, there is a fragmentation of the total human
act; no one man decides to carry out the evil act and is confronted with its
consequences. The person who assumes full responsibility for the act has
evaporated. Perhaps this is the most common characteristic of socially organized
evil in modern society, (p. 11)
The Jewish people, through years of propaganda and embedded prejudices, came to be
viewed as a disposable people, that their lives mattered less than others. In the same way,
some are treating the current influx of millions of refugees coming from Syria as if they were
faceless and disposable. They instead are assigned the identity of refugee and the many
problematic stereotypical images that comes with this word. One might argue that the US
officials refusal to help much in this situation, which was arguably largely created by the
actions of the US war in Afghanistan and Iraq, due to the often citied difficulties of the
bureaucracy, is an Eichmannesque act in itself (Harris, Sanger, and Herszenhorn, 2015).
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Bearing similarities to the refusal of the US to let in Jewish persons seeking refuge in during
the Third Reich, as discussed in Chapter Two, Butler suggests:
Some lives are grievable, and others are not; the differential allocation of
grievability that decides what kind of subject is and must be grieved, and which
kind of subject must not, operates to produce and maintain certain exclusionary
conceptions of who is normatively human: what counts as livable life and a
grievable death? (p. xv)
Similarly, sociologist Sam Keen (1991) argues that the nature of modern warfare has
changed, due to this indifference which has become a requirement of the modem soldier.
Keen suggests that, historically, war was considerably more humane. In many cases,
European wars used to encompass viewing your opponent as equal and worthy of a good
battle, with this fight came honor, respect, and chivalry. In opposition, modern warfare has
created a detached quality toward the perceived enemy. Instead of battling a worthy foe,
we aim to eliminate entire races of rhetorically created disposable people, often that are not
even visible or near us. Keen writes:
Like a unit in a society governed by mass production, the solider has been
reduced to standardized functionary. He is a part of a well-oiled war machine, and
his highest virtue is to function efficiently, which involves obeying the orders of
his superiors. And the enemy is merely an impediment, an obstacle to be
removed, (p. 83)
A soldiers top priority in the military is to accumulate the highest possible number of kills,
such as in Vietnam, where body counts were reported daily as a goal to work toward and as
a defining factor for military success.
Keen (1991) goes on to argue that it is important to understand the processes and
tactics of dehumanization and the dangers of technology in a bureaucracy. He observes that
we cannot see our enemy close-up; rather, we see them as an abstraction, far below the
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airplanes or drones, and thus, we are less likely to identify with them as human. So long as
we want to kill from a distance with clean hands, we must refrain from imagining the
consequences of our weapons, and must completely eliminate any awareness of the enemy as
human (p. 87). Keen suggests that our language of warfare is intended to direct
individuals thinking into dimensions not associated with attributing a face to human
suffering, particularly visible in the usage of terms like collateral damage in reference to
human life. He further suggests that language of this nature is deserving of the Adolf
Eichmann Memorial Prize (p. 87).
Similarly, Steven B. Katz (1992) suggests that the rhetoric used during the Holocaust
emphasized efficiency, thereby reducing individuals who were being exterminated to mere
numbers and objects through the rhetoric used in technical writing. For Katzs argument he
references a note written during the Third Reich by a bureaucrat. The note is written in an
objective manner, requesting the need for more efficient methods to be implemented into the
extermination processes, pre-extermination camps. The language used in this note excludes
the use of any words that identify the mass killing of humans, rather words such as load
and pieces are used to describe the people being killed. A quote from this note will help to
illustrate this:
The lighting must better be protected than now. The lamps must be enclosed in a
steel grid to prevent their being damaged. Lights could be eliminated, since they
apparently are never used. However, it has been observed that when the doors are
shut, the load always pressed hard against them as soon as darkness sets in. This
is because the load naturally rushes toward the light when darkness sets in, which
makes closing the doors difficult. Also, because of the alarming nature of
darkness, screaming always occurs when the doors are closed. It would therefore
be useful to light the lamp before and during the moments of operation, (p. 256)
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The technical and objective rhetoric used during the Third Reich, Katz argues, is comparable
to the profit geared rhetoric in our capitalist Western society today. He suggests, In the
United States, success and happiness, both personal and communal, are measured in
monetary terms. In a capitalistic culture, it is economic expediency that drives most
behavior (p. 270). In Katzs closing thoughts, he highlights many of the problematic
qualities that come out of this objective and technical rhetoric, he writes:
For in an age when it is sometimes considered economically rational to accept
high insurance costs on plane crashes rather than improve the safety of planes;
when Ford Motor company decided that it would be more cost-effective to incur
the law suits (and loss of life) caused by the placement of the gas tank on the
Pintos rather than fix the problem, and only changed its mind when an equally
expedient solution was found; [...] when launch dates are more important than the
safety of astronauts and production quotas more important than the safety of
of workers and residents alike; when expediency outweighs compassion in
government and cost/benefit analyses are applied to human welfare and technical
considerations in almost every field of endeavor even in the social sciences and
humanities [...]the holocaust may have something to teach those of us in technical
communication, composition, and rhetoric, (pp. 272-273)
Indeed, it may have something to teach us all. The long sentence above, I would argue, is an
exemplary representation of the thoughtlessness that manifests in us everyday as we go to
work to do our jobs; or the thoughtlessness that characterized Eichmann as he expertly
performed his job of arranging train schedules while pushing the human consequences from
his mind. Moreover, the banality of these everyday acts in comparison to the life and death
consequences that may result should not be overlooked. By ignoring the consequences and
using the justification of our jobs or an ideology as a greater good, trumping human dignity
and human life, is to place entire groups of people into the category of disposability and
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superfluousness. Unfortunately, this category is typically made up of those already in the
bottom rungs of society.
If we look at capitalism today we come to see a system that expends human life for
the good of the few. In specific, the Western economic policy of neoliberalism, implemented
in the 1970s during the Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher administrations, bears witness
to a system that functions for the betterment of the few, over the extreme impoverishment of
the many. As Erich Fromm (1994) states: the rich nations grow richer and the poor nations
poorer and [...] no serious effort is being made to change this trend (p. 48). Furthermore,
Katz (1992) writes:
In any highly bureaucratic, technological, capitalistic society, it is often the human
being who must adapt to the system which has been developed to perform a
specific function, and which is thus always necessarily geared toward the
continuation of its own efficient operation. In a capitalistic society, technological
expediency often takes precedence over human convenience, and sometimes even
human life. (p. 271).
Furthermore, if we consider the alienation that manifests in individuals living in a capitalist
society, due to the separation of ones labor and the product that one produces, we end up
becoming not only alienated individuals, but individuals that are influenced deeply by
ideologies and are actively seeking these ideologies. Fromm (1981/2010) writes: Eichmann
is a symbol of the organized man, of the alienated bureaucrat for whom men, women and
children have become numbers (p. 23). Similarly, Lewis Mumford (1974) argues:
Ultimately, Organizational Man has no reason for existence except as a
depersonalized servo-mechanism in the megamachine. On those terms Adolf
Eichmann, the obedient exterminator, who carried out Hitlers policy and
Himmlers orders with unswerving fidelity, should be hailed as the Hero of Our
Time. But unfortunately our time has produced many such heroes who have been
willing to do at a safe distance, with napalm or atom bombs, by a mere press of
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the release button, what the exterminators at Belsen and Auschwitz did by old-
fashioned handicraft methods. [...] In every country there are now countless
Eichmanns in administrative offices, in business corporations, in universities, in
laboratories, in the armed forces: orderly obedient people, ready to carry out any
officially sanctioned fantasy, however dehumanized and debased, (p. 279)
Although Arendt did not intend for her concept of the banality of evil to be used in a
commonplace sense, I am arguing that these obedient and thoughtlessly made decisions, that
lead to great suffering, have become commonplace in the nature of the modern bureaucracy
and in capitalism. Finally, Fromm (1994) observes that:
In the midst of this plenty, industrial bureaucratic society is a society of anxious
and frightened men, men indeed so frightened about their possibilities of success
or failure that they might be too frightened in those aspects of their personal life
to be frightened about the possibility of total destruction by nuclear war.
Eventually, man in the most developed industrial societies becomes more and
more enamored of technical gadgets, rather than of living beings and processes of
life. [... ] The result is that man becomes indifferent to life and is even more proud
of having invented missiles and nuclear weapons than he is abhorrent of them and
saddened by contemplating the destruction of all life. (p. 36)
In our culture today we seem more concerned with the latest technical gadget than with the
suffering of others. For example, many seem largely indifferent to the current massive influx
of refugees or the unrecorded loss of Iraqi lives in the longest war in American history, less
concerned that is than when a new gadget is released into the marketplace where long lines
appear outside of stores in order to be the first to obtain the newest trend. Next, I would like
to discuss three specific examples, organized by theme, of this bureaucratic mentality of
superfluousness toward humanity or the environment that pervades our society, as it
correlates with the usage of the Eichmann metaphor.
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Eric Garner and the Police Spokesperson
On July 17, 2014, an African American man was stopped by a police officer in New
York City for allegedly selling loose, non-taxed cigarettes. Garner denied to the police
officer he was illegally selling cigarettes. When the officer attempted to arrest him, Garner
swatted his arms away. The officer then put Gamer in a chokehold, deemed illegal for use
by the police force. Gamer was then forced to the ground, facedown, at which point he began
telling the officer repeatedly that he could not breath. An ambulance was later called; during
the wait no one moved forward to provide Gamer with CPR as he lay on the sidewalk. He
was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Conrad Black (2014) describes the response of a police spokesperson who gave an
interview about the incident as being full of evasion and Eichmannesque references to the
rules and orders. Another example of this Eichmannesque response toward suffering is a
more recent incident, involving a white police officer who pulled over an African American
woman, named Sandra Bland, in July 2015. Bland was stopped for allegedly failing to use
her signal as she switched lanes. After being asked by the officer why she seemed agitated,
she expressed frustration with being pulled over by the officer. He then told her to put out her
cigarette, when Bland refused, the officer told her he would light her up with his taser
unless she complied by getting out of the car. The remainder of the incident is out of the view
of the camera. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis made a statement concerning
the incident in which he refers to Bland as very combative, and when a reporter asked for
clarification on this statement Mathis said that it was not a model traffic stop or/and it was
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not a model person that was stopped [...] (Sandra, 2015). Bland was in jail with a $5,000
bond, when she committed suicide on the third day.
It is not clear precisely why Bland would be considered not a model person, nor
why it was not a model traffic stop, insofar as any other person might also have reacted
with annoyance upon being pulled over for not using their signal to change lanes. However,
the point of this section is not to discuss the actions of the individual police officers, but to
discuss the excusatory nature of the police spokespersons in explaining away the actions of a
police officer who had used excessive and unnecessary force resulting in the loss of the life
of an individual. By explaining these acts away, the police spokespersons are justifying the
deaths. Their deaths are perceived to be less important. Merton (1980) likens the
disproportionate attacks on African Americans in relation to the prison system in the US to
being taken off to concentration camps and the US ghettos a place where African
Americans can easily be destroyed or arrested (pp. 246-247). The popular hashtag and
slogan Black Lives Matter is a way to bring attention to these issues and to signify to
others to stop and think about this inconsistency in reactions toward the deaths of certain
individuals when compared to others.
BP and the Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the Gulf of
Mexico, near the coast of Louisiana. Underneath the surface of the water, it was discovered
that an oil pipe had burst. Before it could be properly stopped, over the course of 87 days,
approximately 3.19 million barrels of oil and gas were released into the ocean (Gulf, 2010).
This accident damaged ecosystems, affected wildlife, and sea-animals; the effects of which
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will be felt for several generations in the Gulf of Mexico. Although numbers vary, it has been
estimated that up to 82,000 birds, 6,000 sea turtles, 25,900 marine mammals, and many
people living on the Southern coast of the US have been negatively impacted by the spill
(Gulf, 2010).
Journalist Chris Hedges (2013) called the reactions of the top officials at BP, the
company who owned the rig that exploded, in specific Tony Hayward, to comparable to
being Eichmannesque. He specifically references Ward Churchills use of the metaphor,
which we will discuss in more detail in the following chapter. Hedges writes:
Those who carry out this global genocidemen like BPs chief executive Tony
Hayward, who, during the Gulf oil crisis, when millions of gallons of oil leaked
from a distressed well, polluting the Gulf, assured us that The Gulf of Mexico is
a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in
relation to the total water volumeare, to steal a line from Ward Churchill,
little Eichmanns. (p. 100)
He goes on to suggest that:
The corporations, and those who run them, consume, pollute, oppress, and kill.
The little Eichmanns who manage them reside in a parallel universe of staggering
wealth, luxury, and splendid isolation that rivals that of the closed court of
Versailles. The elite, sheltered and enriched, continue to prosper even as the rest
of us and the natural world start to die. They are numb. They will drain the last
drop of profit from us until there is nothing left. (p. 101)
This is reminiscent of Eichmann in his deeds during the Third Reich. Recall, his obedience,
his inability, even during the court trials, to express empathy for what he did or compassion
to those millions of individuals whose lives he drastically affected, instead he felt proud to
having done his deeds so wellgoing above and beyond what was required of him.
Furthermore, the notion of the greater good, that Eichmann felt, can be any number of
factors that an individual determines to be most important to them. For Eichmann it was his
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contribution to the efficiency of Hitlers Final Solution, his perceived duty to the state of
Germany and his career at the cost of millions of peoples lives. For the employees at BPor
many other corporations that justify destroying the natural environment by emitting extreme
amounts of pollutionthe greater good is undeniably profit and furthering their careers at the
expense of the environment. The bureaucracy prevails and our superfluous attitude toward
human life, animal life, and our environment spreads to encompass not just the individuals
that are living far from our direct senses, but even the individuals who cannot finds homes in
our own cities streets. Next, I will discuss the banal reaction of the public to My Lai 4 and
the village of Ben Sue, in which the Eichmann metaphor is used by Noam Chomsky.
The Banal Reaction to Suffering: My Lai 4 and Ben Sue
On March 16, 1968 in the Quang Ngai Province in South Vietnam the United States
Army troop known as Charlie Company entered the village of My Lai 4. Charlie Company
was informed that Vietcong forces would be occupying the city and to expect a battle.
However, the troop quickly discovered that the village was occupied only by civilians. The
troop, led by Lt. William Calley, Jr., whose superior was Mad Dog Earnest Medina,
proceeded to systematically kill and rape between 450-500 civilians, annihilating most of the
village, which had a population of around 700, including killing the livestock, burning
homes, and slaughtering nearly all the civilians within a few hours. The small village of Ben
Sue was another small, prosperous farming community in Vietnam. On January 8, 1967,
similar to the instructions given the troop at My Lai 4, the American forces were told to
bulldoze the village of farmers and their families (Chomsky, 1969/2002, p. 277). Despite
many different angles that could be used to approach the tragic and problematic nature of
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both these events, I would only like to discuss the public reaction toward My Lai 4 and the
village of Ben Sue and, subsequently, how this relates to the Eichmann metaphor.
Noam Chomsky (1969/2002) argues that the public reaction toward the destruction of
the village of Ben Sue testif[ies] to a kind of creeping Eichmannism (p. 277). Chomsky
comes to this conclusion by exploring a number of individuals who wrote book reviews of
Johnathan Schells book, The Village of Ben Sue, in newspapers such as the New York Times
and the Christian Science Monitor. These reviewers failed to criticize the actions of the
soldiers in devastating the livelihood of the individuals who lived in village of Ben Sue.
According to Chomsky, one individual suggests it would be a good experience to learn from,
in order to do an operation of similar caliber, more efficiently in the future (p. 277). Chomsky
observes: One can hardly decide which is more scandalous, the events themselves or the
muted response (p. 277). Similarly, Seymour Hersh (1970) suggests that after the public
found out about the massacre at My Lai 4 there were mixed reactions. Many individuals took
the position that it was simply something that occasionally happens during a war, others
thought that it was an isolated occurrence, still others suggested that the Vietnamese people
deserved it (pp. 153-155). Many claimed they thought it was a false story, with fake
photographs, concocted by those supporting the Vietcong side (p. 151). However, a great
many of these reactions also testify to a kind of creeping Eichmannism. It is a disturbing
banality toward the suffering of individuals that are considered to be the other. If these
were events had occurred on American soil, a bulldozing of a town, a slaughter of American
elderly men, women, and children these same individuals would be in an uproar. This is
reminiscent of Sontags discussion concerning our unwillingness to see ourselves on equal
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footing or our lives as being equally important as those in other countries. Sontag (2003)
writes: The more remote or exotic the place, the more likely we are to have full frontal
views of the dead and dying and that [t]he ubiquity of those photographs, and those
horrors, cannot help but nourish belief in the inevitability of tragedy in the benighted or
backwardthat is, poorparts of the world (pp. 70-71). The reason I included two
examples of this banality toward the suffering of others is that this reaction was not
isolated toward the village of Ben Sue; My Lai 4, which occurred around the same time, also
demonstrated this creeping Eichmannism. Next, I will discuss a famous social experiment
that demonstrates the problem of obedience and thoughtlessness when directed by an
authority figure to inflict suffering on another.
The Eichmann Experiment: Obedience and the Problem of Authority
One of the most well-known obedience experiments is Stanley Milgrams study on
obedience that took place in the Department of Psychology at Yale University between the
years of 1960 to 1963 and subsequently published in a book entitled Obedience to Authority
(1974). One reason this study it is useful for my purposes is because Milgram references
Eichmann a number of times throughout his text, as comparison to some of the actions of the
individuals participating in the experiment and as guidance to the initial formulation of the
experiment. In one instance he writes that a psychologist referred to Milgrams obedience
study as the Eichmann experiment, for he saw in the subjects situation something akin to
the position occupied by the infamous Nazi bureaucrat who, in the course of carrying out his
job, contributed to the destruction of millions of human beings (1974, p. 178). Although
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Milgram stresses that the broad applicability of his experiment should not be limited by this
connection.
Milgram (1974) concludes that after conducting these experiments Arendts
conceptualization of Eichmann comes closer to the truth than one might dare imagine (p.
6). Milgrams experiment demonstrates that these individuals, like Eichmann, felt an
obligation to their duties and the perceived contract made with the authority figure, rather
than having particularly sadistic or aggressive tendencies (p. 6). Milgram suggests that the
most fundamental lesson of our study: ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without
any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process and
that even when people realize the actions being asked of them were not typically acceptable
to their personal standards of morality in everyday life relatively few people have the
resources needed to resist authority particularly in a setting that encourages obedient
behavior as a conventional norm (p. 6). I will discuss the results in more detail after I explore
the structure, context, and individual reactions to the experiment.
The experiment would consist of one individual designated to be the teacher, one to
be the learner, and one to guide the experiment. The gist of the study told to the subject is
this: It is an experiment to understand the effects of punishment on learning. In reality, the
experiment was intended to provide some answers to the role of an ordinary individual when
confronted with a perceived legitimate authority figure telling them to inflict punishment or
suffering on another individual. The experiment was set up to be simple and a relatively
straightforward process, in order to achieve the most easily interpretable results, and in order
to be able to change variables of the experiment for later variations of the studies.
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The learner was set down at a shock generator machine that indicated on the panel a
variety of shock levels, from 15, the lowest, to 450, the highest (Milgram, 1974, p. 20). The
goal, for Milgram, was to see at what point ordinary individuals (i.e., the teachers) would
break with authority and end the experiment when being pressed to harm another individual.
The authority figure was instructed to given a scripted series of remarks to guide the teacher,
such as The experiment requires that you continue; You have no other choice, you must
go on; or It is absolutely necessary that you continue (p. 21). The response from the
learner (the actor) of being shocked were originally none; however, due to virtually every
subject overwhelmingly continuing to shock the learner all the way to 450-volts, the victim
was also given a script of protests, ranging from grunts to vehement screams to be let out (p.
22). To even further evoke the sympathy chords of the subject, the victim was to verbally
describe a heart condition to the experimenter in hearing range of the subject. The results,
Milgram suggests, are for the most part equivalent with other versions of this experiment that
have been performed around the world, however, the results are still somewhat surprising.
Initially, the experiment consisted of a group of Yale undergraduates who
demonstrated a high 85 percent obedience, however, Milgram decided to instead gather a
more realistic representation of subjects from the general population in New Haven,
Connecticut. Participants in the study had various backgrounds, from white collar, to blue
collar, to unemployed. Some highly educated, some not, and a variety of ages groups were
included. The only consistent variable, in the first study, was that all the participants were
male. Later studies included females, with no significant change in results.
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Before Milgram began the experiments he asked a group of individuals who attended
a lecture concerning obedience to respond with their opinion to what an experiment of this
nature would reveal. The individuals all responded that they see himself disobeying the
experimenter at some point in the command series (1974, p. 28). Milgram suggests that a
variety of other individuals were also posed the same question. He writes: They predict that
virtually all subjects will refuse to obey the experimenter; only a pathological fringe, not
exceeding one or two per cent, was expected to proceed to the end of the shockboard and
that about one subject in a thousands would administer the highest shock on the board (p.
31). This way of thinking is consistent with the usual way we visualize people who inflict
suffering on others. We would like to think our fellow humans are humane and would not
unnecessarily inflict harm on another. We assign the ones who do inflict harm on others, such
as at Abu Ghraib, My Lai 4, or Eichmann as being the outsiders to the norm, they are pegged
as the monstrous few. However, as the results of Milgrams experiment indicate this is not the
case. Milgram observes that in the original study [o]f the 40 subjects, 26 obeyed the orders
of the experimenter to the end (p. 33).
The significance of the extraordinary statement, that 26 out of 40 participants went all
the way to the end of the experiment, is something that should not be glossed over. In this
experiment going all the way to the end entailed shocking the victim, not only until the
victim was no longer responding, but to continue to shock the victim even though no audible
response was coming from the victim. In essence, the majority of these subjects were willing
to follow the directions of an authority figure telling them to inflict suffering on another to
the point that, for as far as the subjects knew, the victim could have been dead. Those who
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went all the way to the end of the experiment certainly would not fall into the category of the
insane, demented, or lunatic fringealthough a few certainly may havebut, for the most
part, they would fall into the category of ordinary.
I would like to briefly discuss one individual who went all the way to the end of the
experiment, in order to better understand the question of little Eichmanns in our society
today. The example I would like to expand on is of the social worker Morris Braverman.
Throughout the experiment, Braverman laughs with increasing gusto at the screams and
protests, verbalized by the victim, for the experiment to come to an end. Braverman later
describes his laughter as being due to the stress and impossibility of the scenario in which
he couldnt try to help the victim (Milgram, 1974, p. 54). In a questionnaire that Milgram
sent out to all the participants a year after the experiment, Braverman responds: As my wife
said, You can call yourself Eichmann (p. 54).
In some respect, to understand the reactions of the individuals who participated in the
experiment it is necessary to look at the system in which these individuals reside. Milgram
(1974) suggests that, in the modem bureaucratic system, individuals are placed at a distance
from whom they are inflicting suffering upon and that this distance matters. The subjects in
this experiment were more likely to be obedient to authority, in fact they would demonstrate
nearly 100 percent obedience, when they could not see the victim or hear his screams.
Milgram explains:
Any competent manager of a destructive bureaucratic system can arrange his
personnel so that only the most callous and obtuse are directly involved in
violence. The greater part of the personnel can consist of men and women who,
by virtue of their distance from the actual acts of brutality, will feel little strain in
their performance of supportive functions. They will feel doubly absolved from
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responsibility. First, legitimate authority has given full warrant for their actions.
Second, they have not themselves committed brutal physical acts. (p. 122)
The mudding of responsibility is an important factor in Eichmannesque behavior. In a
bureaucracy workers have little responsibility for his or her decisions, they are guided by a
higher authority. This makes committing an act that we may not commit in everyday life,
more plausible. Like Eichmann, who never murdered or physically hurt anyone in his daily
interactions, who was considered a devoted husband, father, and maybe even active
community member, was still able to be contribute to the death of millions because of his
sheer thoughtlessness. Further contributing to this was his use of meaningless justifications
and bureaucratic jargon to explain his work, duty, and obedience to a higher authority and
greater good.
As Milgram observes, the lesson to be learned from this experiment is broader than
simply understanding the actions of ordinary Germans in Nazi Germany, or even in
attempting to understand the obedience of Eichmann or the other Nazis who also cited
obedience to authority as a defense during the Nuremberg trials. Milgram (1974) posits that
the problem is not authoritarianism as a mode of political organization or a set of
psychologic attitudes, but authority itself. Authoritarianism may give way to democratic
practice, but authority itself cannot be eliminated as long as society is to continue in the form
we know (p. 179). Moreover, that when man merges his person into an organization
structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of the
individual morality, freed of humane inhibition, mindful only of the sanctions of
authority (p. 188). Further, Milgram argues that:
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the kind of character produced in American democratic society, cannot be counted
on to insulate its citizens from brutality and inhumane treatment at the direction of
malevolent authority. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to
do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so
long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate source, (pp.
188-189)
Similar to my above discussion concerning the bureaucratization of Eichmannism, Milgram
writes that we find a set of people carrying out their jobs and dominated by an
administrative, rather than a moral outlook, and that [individual values of loyalty, duty,
and discipline take precedent over human lives (p. 186). This is particularly true in a
capitalist democratic society, like our own, that puts great emphasis on individualism.
Finally, Neil Postman (1992) appropriately concludes: For myself, I feel quite sure that if
each of Milgrams subjects had been required to read Hannah Arendts Eichmann in
Jerusalem before showing up at the laboratory, his numbers would have been quite different
(p. 152).
Conclusion
In this chapter I developed a discussion concerning the bureaucratization of
Eichmannism. First, I broke down the nature of a bureaucracy and the effect of the
bureaucracy on the individual. I explored how distance and rhetoric affects our perception of
the enemy and the consequences that technology has on viewing each other as equal
humans, instead of disposable, displaceable, or superfluous. Next, I looked at the banality of
the reactions to suffering in terms of Eichmannism. I used three examples where the
Eichmann metaphor had been used: the police spokespersons, the BP oil spill executive, and
the public reaction toward the destruction and massacres of the villages of Ben Sue and My
78


Lai 4. Finally, I explored Milgram's Obedience to Authority experiment and analyzed the
importance of this today. In the next chapter, I will discuss the tremendous controversy that
erupted surrounding Ward Churchills usage of the Eichmann metaphor in order to help the
reader to better understand further usages of the Eichmann metaphor and the significance of
being able to think critically today.
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CHAPTER IV
THE WARD CHURCHILL CONTROVERSY
Introduction
Ward Churchill was a professor of Ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at
Boulder when he wrote an essay comparing some of the individuals who died in the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 to being little Eichmanns (Churchill, 2003, p. 19).
A nationwide controversy erupted; first, around the comments that Churchill made, then
around Churchill as an individual, resulting in an investigation into his research practices
leading to his dismissal from the University of Colorado.
The tremendous upheaval and outrage that surfaced surrounding Churchills usage of
the Eichmann metaphor is worth looking at in depth considering it has parallels with the
controversy that Arendt experienced. Thus, the aim of this chapter is to explore the
controversy surrounding Churchill after his essay became controversial. In particular, I would
like to answer a number of important questions, such as: Why did Churchills essay spark
such a controversy? Was Churchills narrative legitimate? In other words, should the media
have considered it as a possible alternate narrative to understanding the events of 9/11?
In this chapter I will first provide a detailed analysis of Churchills argument,
including his ideas that were expanded upon in a subsequent book, in order to fully
understand Churchills perspective. The point that Churchill was making was not that the
men and women who died during the attacks were deserving of it. Rather, he was aiming to
provide a deeper understanding of the events that occurred on 9/11 as not being
warrantless. Second, I will look at the controversy that erupted around his comments, a few
80


years after he wrote the essay. Moreover, I will look at how the conversation changed from
one about his comment, comparing some of the victims in the World Trade Center and
Pentagon to being little Eichmanns, to whether Churchills Native American heritage was
genuine and whether he had engaged in academic misconduct. Third, I will explore the
social climate in the aftermath of 9/11.1 will use the concept of moral panic as a way to
help bring to light the attitude that existed, post 9/11, in the US. For example, the public was
led to believe that another attack of similar or greater caliber as 9/11 could occur at any
moment. Terror alert levels were used, sometimes increasing, sometimes decreasing. It was
based on color to indicate the severity of the level of threat; however, it largely left the
population confused and fearful. Psychologist Philip Zimbardo (2007) writes of this:
A different method of fear mongering can be seen in the politicization of the terror
alarm (color code) warning system by the Bush administrations Department of
Homeland Security. [...] In the end, broadcasting the color-coded threat levels
was less a valid warning system than the governments costly way of ensuring and
sustaining the nations fear of terroristsin the absence of any terror attacks, (p.
432)
Furthermore, he argues fear stops people from thinking rationally (p. 432). On top of this,
an extremely heightened level of nationalism manifested. Anyone who was not displaying
patriotic behavior was considered suspect of being a terrorist, aiding a terrorist, or supporting
their ideology. Analyzing this climate will help to demonstrate why Churchill was demonized
by the media and public. I will also discuss the rhetoric used by the Bush administration to
explain the events of 9/11 as terrorist acts committed by evil monsters. This narrative of
innocence about the victims was used to prevent any analysis concerning the possible
systemic reasons behind why 9/11 occurred, to say otherwise displayed unpatriotic and
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suspect behavior. This is important to understand in order to visualize why Churchills
counter-narrative was ignored by the media and public.
Finally, I will address this chapters importance. The primarily reason for dedicating
an entire chapter to the Churchill controversy is two-fold. First, because this is an excellent
example of the Eichmann metaphor. It also fits nicely into the previous chapter concerning
the bureaucratization of Eichmannism. Second, because of the large-scale controversy that
erupted around this particular use of the Eichmann metaphor, bearing similarities to Arendts
own experience with controversy. More importantly, it provides a disturbing example of the
retaliation and anger that can manifest in a society when expressing an unpopular dissenting
view, despite the First Amendment.
Ward Churchill on Roosting Chickens
Churchill was a professor and chair of the Ethnic Studies department at the University
of Colorado at Boulder from 1990 to 2007, gaining tenure in 1991. During his time at CU he
had established himself as a well-known critic of American culture and imperialism, in
particular focusing his academic writings on Native American issues, racism, genocide, and
social justice. However, the day after 9/11, when the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a
field were struck by planes, Churchill wrote an essay, followed by a book two years later, that
became a national controversy.
In this essay, Churchill (2001) posits that the events that occurred on 9/11 were not
random, unprovoked, first-strike attacks; rather, the terrorists were chickens coming home
to roost. Essentially, this statement is specifically in reference to the terrorists on board
the airplanes that crashed into the twin towers and the Pentagon as pushing back against
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the actions and policies of the United States government in the Middle East. However, this
phrase was derived from Malcolm X who used the phrase chickens coming home to roost
in reference to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the climate of hate that existed
during this time period, of which, Churchill provides the appropriate attribution at the
beginning of his essay. It should be noted that Arendt also uses the phrase chickens coming
home to roost in reference to the Vietnam war and Watergate scandal (Arendt, 1970, p. 28;
Arendt, 1975, pp. 3-6). The phrase chickens coming home to roost has a two-fold meaning.
First, that when people are pushedoppressed, brutalized, etc.eventually people will
push back, as Churchill primarily intended his usage of the phrase to mean. Second, due to
the nature of our overseas imperialist policies we can come to create a climate of hate in our
own country that is a manifestation of this othering and hate abroad. Seyla Benhabib (2003)
explains, Imperialism in other lands leaves indelible marks at home, upon the psyche of the
nation as well. The other is not outside us in far lands; through experiences of imperial
domination and racism, we become prone to create the other within, in our midst (p. 76).
Churchill (2001) argues that due to the embargoes, bombings, and sanctions of Iraq
during the first Iraq war in 1991, the country has not been able to import the nutrients,
medicines, and other materials necessary to saving the lives of even their toddlers (p. 1).
Moreover, Churchill goes on to argue that the perhaps 100,00 [Iraqis] in full retreat, routed
and effectively defenseless, many of them conscripted civilian laborers, slaughtered in a
single day by firing the most hyper-lethal types of ordinance was cause enough to push back
(p. 2). Recall the discussion in Chapter Three about Sontags description of, what was coined
by officials, as a turkey shoot.
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Furthermore, Churchill (2001) suggests that despite the large number of civilian
deaths in Iraq and elsewhere overseas, the American public greeted these revelations with
yawns, and that people elsewhere in the worldthe Mideast, for instancebegan to
wonder where, exactly, aside from the streets of the US itself, one was to find the peace
Americas purportedly oppositional peacekeepers claim they were keeping (p. 3). Churchill
suggests that the terrorists on 9/11 finally responded ... to what this country has dispensed
to their people as a matter of course (p. 3).
The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were not first-strike attacks; rather, Churchill (2001)
argues, that war against the East, by the Christian West, has been occurring since the First
Crusades, renewed in the early 20th century during the Ottoman Empire. In fact, the attacks
on 9/11 were a testament to [the Easts] patience and restraint and that they were certainly
not cowards, fanatics, insane, or evil (pp. 3-4). He continues:
the word [coward] describes all those fighting men and women who
sat at computer consoles aboard ships in the Persian Gulf, enjoying air-
conditioned comfort while launching cruise missiles into neighborhoods filled
with random human beings. Whatever else can be said of them, the men who
struck on September 11 manifested the courage of their convictions, willingly
expending their own lives in attaining their objectives, (p. xx)
In other words, the attacks on the US, as Churchill details in his subsequent book, were long
in the making and not limited to the millions that have died as a result of US actions over the
course of history. Some examples, although not necessarily related to Iraq, is the genocide of
Native Americans during the founding of this country, the slaughter of filipinos during the
Philippines war, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just to name a few.
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Furthermore, Churchill (2003) argues that the terrorists took it easy on the US,
compared to what the US has inflicted on others throughout its history and that Americans
were given a tiny does of their own medicine (p. 7). He suggests that Americans for the
most part still don't get it. Furthermore, Churchill (2001) argues that the nature of the
attacks on 9/11, from the terrorists perspective, were to help Americans realize the extremely
detrimental effects of their foreign policy on other countries:
To all appearances, the idea is now to give the tonic a little time to take effect,
jolting Americans into the realization that the sort of pain theyre now
experiencing first-hand is no different fromor the least bit more excruciating
thanthat which they've been so cavalier in causing others, and thus to respond
appropriately. [...] Perhaps the strategists underestimated the impact a couple of
generations-worth of media indoctrination can produce in terms of demolishing
the capacity of human beings to form coherent thoughts, (p. 1)
However, the tonic did not take effect. The reaction to Churchills essay and book was
explosive, particularly from the conservative community, resulting in him being fired from
the university, one of three professors with tenure to ever be fired from the Boulder campus
since it was founded in 1876 (Kuta, 2014).
However, Churchill returns his argument to the individuals actually working in the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He posits that the majority of individuals who died in
the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were not innocent civilians; rather, these individuals
were comparable to the Nazis, and in specific to being like little Eichmanns. The immense
reaction toward Churchills essay was mostly revolving around this singular concept: the
Eichmann metaphor. Churchill (2003) writes:
Well, really. Lets get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a
sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very
heart of Americas global financial empirethe mighty engine of profit to
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which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslavedand they
did so both willingly and knowingly. To the extent that any of them were unaware
of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved inand in
many cases excelling atit was because of their absolute refusal to see. [...] If
there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some
penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the
sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, Id be really interested in hearing
about it. (p. 8)
Churchill defines little Eichmanns as a cadre of faceless bureaucrats and technical
experts who willingly (and profitably) harnessed themselves to the task of Americas
genocidal world order hum with maximal efficiency (p. 19). Churchill argues that the World
Trade Center victims were culpable by reason of complicity even though no actual
perpetrators were exclusively obvious or identifiable (p. 19). In the same way that
Eichmann was considered responsible for his contributions to the efficiency of carrying out
the Final Solution, these individuals were doing their jobs, although they all had a vague
understanding of the consequences of their jobs, they still chose to continue even though the
result was of the increase tally of the loss of human lives.
Churchill further explains his meaning behind the phrase little Eichmanns during a
recorded impromptu question. He suggests that Eichmann primarily arranged train
schedules and that those who were outraged by his comments did not know enough about
Eichmann to understand his statement (Stewart, 2007). Further, that the similarity between
Eichmann and those working in the Pentagon and many in the World Trade Center was that
they were the technicians that made the killing possible. He suggests that you do not have
to look like Eichmann to act like Eichmann. For example, he argues these individuals in
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon contributed to the suffering and the immiseration of
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many people in foreign countries by supporting sweatshops in Malaysia and the Marshall
Islands (Stewart, 2007). Churchill continues:
Thats exactly how Adidas makes its money; thats exactly how the dividends for the
stockholders get raised; thats exactly how you make sales; thats exactly how you
increase your commissions and gain status in the firm youre working for; thats
exactly the technical enterprise leading to massive immiseration and death; and thats
exactly Eichmann-like. (Stewart, 2007)
For the most part, it seems that Churchills meaning behind little Eichmanns, and the
overall substance of his essay, was ignored by the media, instead the controversy became an
attack on Churchills character. An exploration of this controversy and subsequent trial will
be expanded on in the following section.
The Controversy and the Trial
The 2001 essay was originally posted to an online forum called Dark Night. This
forum was established for individuals who were dedicated to supporting the struggle for
liberation of indigenous peoples against the powers responsible for the colonization of their
lands (Churchill, 2000). In 2005, more than three years after Churchill had written his essay
and a book expanding upon his ideas in the original essay, he was scheduled to be on a panel
titled Limits of Dissent? at Hamilton College, a private university in upstate New York.
Before Churchill was set to speak, the student newspaper at Hamilton College found
Churchills essay on Dark Night. Following this, an article was published in a Syracuse
newspaper concerning the essay and Churchills metaphorical usage of little Eichmanns. A
controversy ensued followed by a number of death threats and student protests of Churchills
scheduled appearance at Hamilton. The president of Hamilton College, Joan Hinde Stewart,
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decided to cancel Churchills lecture citing security and safety of the students as the
primary reasons (Debraggio, 2005).
Churchill faced significant backlash from the media. Many television networks such
as Fox News, ultra conservatives Rush Limbaugh and Bill OReilly (2005) made comments
like radical teachers are indoctrinating students at liberal minded universities and that
many academics, such as Churchill, were teaching our students to hate America and that
Churchill was a traitor (OReilly, 2005). Churchill responded to similar comments made
during an interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News, stating: This [9/11] is what it feels like
when people who are sitting at computer consoles fifteen hundred miles away firing cruise
missiles into your cities are called heroes (Onepost, 2014). Further, OReilly announced
on his show the e-mail address of the president of Hamilton College asking people to write to
her their opinions about Churchill speaking at the College. The Governor of Colorado, Bill
Owens (2005), suggested that Churchills views were anti-American and that All decent
people ... should denounce the views of Ward Churchill... They are at odds with simple
decency, and antagonistic to the beliefs and conduct of civilized people around the world (p.
1).
In partial contrast to these viewpoints, Michael Faughnan (2005)whose brother,
Chris, a political, human rights, and environmental activist, also a US government Treasury
bond broker, had died in the WTC attackswrote a letter to the Boulder Daily Camera titled
An Open Letter to Ward Churchill: My Brother, the Eichmann. In this letter Faughnan
struggles with siding with Churchill, mostly, because of the language and framing used by
Churchill. Faughnan writes:
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Human beings are not symbols and your essays dehumanization of the victims of
9/11 reduces them to mere symbolsdrones in a capitalist machine. In this way,
you are guilty of what you claim to condemn, that is the dehumanization of
individuals. It is the inability to see the human face of the other that allows the
horrible violence in this world to continue, (p. 1)
However, Faughnan does acknowledge that he appreciates that Churchill is attempting to
provide a comprehensible meaning to what happened on 9/11, when so many others were
dismissing any analysis of our country, although, he suggests, by using painful rhetoric.
Faughnan observes:
Behind the painful rhetoric you use, I sense a nobler goal, the desire to tell the
American people that we must be aware of ourselves in the world, take
responsibility and work to understand and change the wrongs that have been
committed. If this is your greater message, my brother Chris would have agreed
with you whole-heartedly, (p. 1)
Faughnan also recognizes that the conversation that Churchill attempted to start was quickly
replaced by an empty attack on Churchills identity as Native American as a way to disregard
having to take seriously the argument substantiated by Churchill. Faughnan writes: Shame
on the University of Colorado, certain political leaders and others who attack you personally,
while side-stepping a deeper understanding of the views that you appear to be raising (p. 1).
Due to a national outcry for Churchill to step down from his position at the University
of Colorado, and combined with the number of emails his department and the University
were receiving, he was removed from his position as chair. In February of 2005, the
University of Colorado began an investigation into the research practices of Churchill. The
Board of Regents determined that Churchill had engaged in research misconduct and was
fired from his position at the University. Subsequently, Churchill (2012) filed a lawsuit in
which he argues that:
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the University of Colorado at Boulder opened an investigation into his academic
integrity in retaliation for the publication of a controversial essay, and that both
the investigation and resulting termination of his employment violated his free
speech rights, (p. 1)
The court agreed with Churchill ruling that his employment was terminated in retaliation for
his free speech; however, he was awarded one dollar in damages, since the court found that
he suffered no actual damages as a result of being terminated (p. 1). Churchill appealed to
be reinstated to his position, but failed to be reinstated due to an irreparably damaged
relationship between Churchill and the University.
The hype surrounding ChurchilTs expulsion from the academic community has been
described as a witch-hunt. It certainly rings with vibes of the McCarthy era, another example
of a moral panic, when communists, or people associated with left wing ideas, were declared
un-American and many academics who expressed critiques of the United States were afraid
of losing their jobs or worse. Anthropologist C. Richard King (2009) argues that part of the
reason why the comment by Churchill sparked a national controversy was because, in the
aftermath of 9/11, a moral panic had manifested. Many Americans were trying to appear as
American as they could, anything else was defined as terrorist (p. 35). Moreover, King
suggests that these shifts lay a foundation for policing critical thinking and silencing
perspectives meant to trouble naturalized relations (p. 34). Interestingly, King posits that the
behavior that a moral panic evokes is apparent in the emails that Churchill received in the
spring of 2005 and in the comments sent to the president of Hamilton College after the public
became aware of ChurchilTs essay.
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According to Kings analysis of these emails, the comments sent to the president at
Hamilton College did three things that resonated with moral panics: first, the comments
demonize Ward Churchill as inhuman and un-American; second, the comments associated
the college with evil and incivility. Finally, the comments denied freedom of speech for
Churchill on the grounds that he is against civilization [and] that he does not deserve the
freedoms that define it (King, 2009, p. 36). King observes in the comments that Churchill
was represented as a monster: an abject Other beyond the bounds of civilization and worse
inhumane threat to it (p. 36). Further, King continues his analysis by studying around thirty
e-mails that Churchill or the University of Colorado at Boulders Ethnic studies department
received concerning Churchill (p. 35). In Kings study of these email messages, he concluded
that the rhetoric used by nearly all the individuals in reference to Churchill was blatantly
racist and a reiteration of colonial cliches (p. 37).
I found Kings study to be of particular importance for my overall argument because a
moral panic can be an essential factor for the process of dehumanization to work as well as it
does. It is also important because, in order for us to attack an individual we must break him
or her down to be less than human. Because the public and the media attacked Churchill as a
human and as a scholar they effectively evaded any responsibly to entertain his counter-
narrative. Instead of Churchills comments and essay about 9/11 and little Eichmanns being
taken as a lesson or as a learning experience, he was instead demonized and discredited as an
academic, in effect he was silenced for expressing a radicalized viewpoint. Essentially this
viewpoint was not part of the homogenized patriotic majority, certainly not a part of the
narrative presented by Bush following the events of 9/11.
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Similarly, Sociologists Erika King and Mary deYoung (2008) conducted a study that
suggests that Churchill was demonized and not fairly represented as a legitimate counter-
narrative to the popularized frame that President Bush had presented. They write that, on
9/11, the victims were represented in the narrative establish by Bush, and in direct contrast to
Churchills narrative, as:
ordinary people who were engaged in the routines of everyday life on that fateful
day, [Bush] not only stressed their absolute moral innocence but also, in doing so,
underscored the risk for all ordinary Americans. [...] [T]he innocent victims of
the September 11 attacks represent and symbolize each and every American as
well as the moral community that is America. (2008, p. 125)
King and deYoung further suggest that this narrative was accepted as the hegemonic norm
and was further instilled in the American mind by the repetition of this in the media and by
other politicians.
Ultimately, Churchill was dehumanized and delegitimized. Churchill was accused of
being uncivil, his views as being extremist, and not to be considered as a potentially
legitimate narrative, and that he was a traitor, radical, and savage. The attack on Churchill
was also an attack on academic freedom, and the range of free and open discussions in
academic and public communities without fear of prosecution for thoughts, no matter the
content. Next, I think it is important to discuss the concept of moral panic more deeply and to
further understand the atmosphere of our culture after the events of 9/11 in order to
understand the relentless attack on Churchills perspective.
Moral Panic and 9/11
In this section I would like to explore the concept of moral panic as it relates to the
fear that manifested in the United States after 9/11. It largely emerged because of the
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Full Text

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EICHMANN AS A METAPHOR ARENDT, MONSTERS, AND A CULTURE OF "THOUGHTLESSNESS" by ROBIN HOOVER B.S., Missouri State University, 2008 ! ! ! ! A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Social Science Humanities & Social Sciences Program 2015

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 2015 ROBIN HOOVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ii

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! ! ! The thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by Robin Hoover has been approved for the Humanities & Social Science Program by ! Omar Swartz, Chair Lucy McGuffey Jordan Hill Nov. 19, 2015 ! ! iii

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Hoover, Robin (M.S.S., Humanities & Social Science) Eichmann as Metaphor: Arendt, Monsters and a Culture of Thoughtlessness Thesis directed by Associate Professor Omar Swartz ABSTRACT This thesis is an exploration of the Eichmann metaphor and the implications of Eichmannism in a culture of "thoughtlessness." I draw heavily from Hannah Arendt's scholarship in which she argues that it was because of Adolf Eichmann's "thoughtlessness" that he was able to participate in the systematic extermination of millions of people. I am arguing that in the United States today we are nurturing a culture that encourages a similar "thoughtlessness" and that we are potentially increasing the possibility of Eichmannesque behavior to manifest in all of us. In particular, I look at the nature of bureaucracy and the detrimental effects of this on an individual's ability to think critically when profit and efficiency guide our thinking patterns. I am arguing that Eichmannesque behavior has become quite commonplace in many workplaces today and is creating an attitude of indifference toward human suffering. To further demonstrate my argument I look at tenured professor Ward Churchill's controversial usage of the Eichmann metaphor that resulted in his dismissal from the University of Colorado at Boulder. This contributes to understanding Eichmann as a metaphor better and demonstrates that the climate after 9/11 was one that smothered dissent and critical thoughts. Furthermore, the firing of Churchill set a dangerous precedent by limiting free speech in the academic community. I conclude that our culture is embracing a "thoughtlessness" and lack of critical thinking in our daily lives and, thus, that iv

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the possibility of a "little Eichmann" manifesting in each of us is a primary concern for the future. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Omar Swartz iv

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TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction 1 Statement of the Problem 7 Research Question 10 Defining Key Terms 12 Thoughtlessness 12 Thinking 15 Metaphor 17 Review of the Literature 18 Philosophical and Political Scholarship 19 Sociological Theory of Moral Panics 20 Critical Theory 21 Methodology and Theory 23 Roadmap 24 Conclusion 26 II. HANNAH ARENDT, THE NARRATIVE OF THE EICHMANN TRIAL, AND REDEFINING MONSTROUSNESS 27 Introduction 28 The Narrative of Monstrousness: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann 32 Hannah Arendt, the New Yorker and the "Banality of Evil" Controversy 35 vi

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Arendt and the New Yorker 35 Eichmann as Ordinary 40 The Re-Emergence of the Dominant Narrative of Monstrousness 45 Sanity and Monstrousness 47 Conclusion 51 III. THE BUREAUCRATIZATION OF EICHMANNISM 53 Introduction 53 Bureaucratized Indifference: Technology, Superfluousness, and Eichmanns 55 Eric Garner and the Police Spokesperson 67 BP and the Oil Spill 68 The Banal Reaction to Suffering: My Lai 4 and Ben Suc 70 "The Eichmann Experiment": Obedience and the Problem of Authority 72 Conclusion 78 IV. THE WARD CHURCHILL CONTROVERSY 80 Introduction 80 Ward Churchill on "Roosting Chickens" 82 The Controversy and the Trial 87 Moral Panics and 9/11 92 Moral Panic 93 "Rhetoric of Evil" 95 A Dangerous Precedent 99 Conclusion 102 vii

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V. CONCLUSION 102 Future Research 111 REFERENCES 113 ! ! ! viii

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing instruction for all, and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness. -Victor Hugo, Les Miserables [H] ow a society educates its youth is connected to the collective future the people hope for. Henry A. Giroux, Hearts of Darkness There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism Introduction The above quotes signify that a good education is essential in helping to provide individuals with the tools necessary to learn how to think critically and effectively throughout their life. The quote by Hugo is particularly important because it counters the common narrative that individuals who commit monstrous deeds are the only ones "guilty" for that act. This is true only to the extent that the society we construct, that an individual is raised in and gather one's experiences, is also guilty and responsible for what it we have produced. If a society does not provide people with the tools to learn to think critically, as Giroux argues, then we will create a society that is equally poor in the moral choices people are able to make. One of the greatest challenges confronting individuals in the twenty-first century is obtaining a quality education. Education, like so many other things in our culture, is becoming a commodity. Erich Fromm (1994) suggests that "everything and almost 1

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everybody is for sale Not only commodities and services, but ideas, art, books, persons, convictions, a feeling, a smilethey all have been transformed into commodities" (pp. 38-39). Not only is it difficult to receive a quality elementary and high school education, but it is increasingly difficult to attend colleges and universities without graduating with crippling amounts of debt. Furthermore, the teaching methods themselves are problematic. For example, universal standards are implemented in schools in the forms of tests that reduce education to something to be deposited into a student, instead of providing an interactive education that would strive to teach students to learn to think critically about subjects. Students are taught obedience, to recite a memorized fact, to be silent, or to blindly follow rules. However, this method of teaching does have a purpose; it is beneficial to help people become efficient workers in business, increase corporate profits, and to help the system to reproduce the status quo. It is not beneficial in teaching individuals how to think independently, draw their own conclusions, and trust their own reasoning. To attempt to rectify these problems, a popular wave of writings emerged in the social sciences placing emphasis on the importance for an individual to learn how to think critically. However, upon repetition, this phrase "thinking critically" is becoming empty and losing its important meaning. This phrase is essential to understand, not as the commonly recited stock phrase that it has become, but as something that is fundamentally necessary to create a strong democracy, with well-rounded and educated citizens. This thesis will explore the implications of not thinking critically when coupled with a culture of "thoughtlessness." The concept of "thoughtlessness" originates with Hannah Arendt (1963/1992), who argues that Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi bureaucrat, who had only to sit at his desk and sign papers in order to be 2

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indirectly responsible for the efficiency in the systematic extermination of millions of people, was merely "thoughtless." I am expanding upon Arendt's original notion of "thoughtlessness" when describing Eichmann by arguing that our culture also exudes this characteristic. Author Susan Jacoby (2009) similarly articulates that: America is now ill with a powerful mutual strain of intertwined ignorance, antirationalism, and anti-intellectualism [] the virulence of the current outbreak is inseparable from an unmindfulness []. This condition is aggressively promoted by everyone, from politicians to media executives, whose livelihood depends on a public that derives its opinions from sound bites and blogs, and it is passively accepted by a public in thrall to the serpent promising effortless enjoyment from the fruit of the tree of infotainment. (p. xx) A culture of "thoughtlessness" is one that delights in the programming of mindless television shows, idolatry of celebrities, conversations lacking in depth, an obsession with the trivial and inconsequential, and a general rejection of intellectual activities. I will expand on this further in the "defining key terms" section. One of the primary concerns of this thesis is the result of the lack of thinking about our daily actions mixed with the primary objectives emphasized in classrooms. For example, students are encouraged to learn to be good businesspersons and to choose degrees that will make them the most money. Journalist Chris Hedges (2013) observes that "our business schools and elite universities churn out tens of thousands of these deaf, dumb, and blind systems mangers, who are endowed with sophisticated management skills and the incapacity for the common sense, compassion, or remorse" (p. 101). From early youth children are encouraged to choose practical pathways for their career; the arts, music, dance, philosophy, the social sciences and humanities, and even writing are among the discouraged fields for 3

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students that enter into universities. The question: How will you make money with that degree? determines a students future that, perhaps, at one point might have been better suited for a more creative field. The following excerpt written by a principal, who was a Holocaust survivor, to his teaching staff identifies the importance of an education that emphasizes compassion, rather, than profit: Dear Teacher, I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates. So, I am suspicious of education. My request is: Help your children become human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important only if they serve to make our children more human. (as cited in Ginott, 1972) If education should do one thing, I think most of us would agree, it should "serve to make our children more human." How can we educate our children so that they do not become "educated Eichmanns"? How can we instill a love for all humanity and respect for other ways of life in our children? I argue that we can do this by teaching them to think As I will lay out in the following section, the aim of this thesis is two-fold. First, to be a tool to help individuals to think. Second, it will be a critique and a warning that our culture of "thoughtlessness" and our capitalist system, which increasingly focuses on profit, efficiency, and business above human life, is enhancing the possibilities of Eichmannesque behavior to manifest. Fromm (1994) contributes to this by writing of the inability for us to be aware of ourselves because of constant consumption: I have no conflict, no doubts; no decision has to be made; I am never alone with myself because I am busyeither working or having fun. I have no need to be 4

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aware of myself because I am constantly absorbed with consuming. I am a system of desires and satisfactions; I have to work in order to fulfill my desiresand these very desires are constantly stimulated and directed by the economic machine. (p. 35) How many Eichmanns must the world produce before we decide to look more closely at our actions? The problem of Eichmannism was not limited to Nazi Germany, but has become increasingly relevant as capitalism and the bureaucracy make it increasingly easy for individuals to make decisions in offices that affect the livelihood or life of those living elsewhere. Is our ability to reflect on our actions affected by being constantly surround by distractions? Journalist Chris Hedges (2013) posits: The moral and physical contamination is matched by a cultural contamination. Our political and civil discourse has become gibberish. It is dominated by elaborate spectacles, celebrity gossip, the lies of advertising and scandal. The tawdry and the salacious occupy our time and energy. We do not see the walls falling around us. We invest our intellectual and emotional energy in the inane and the absurd, the empty amusements that preoccupy a degenerate culture, so that when the final collapse arrives we can be herded, uncomprehending and fearful, into the inferno. (p. 104) As Arendt suggests (1971), "thoughtlessness" is "among the outstanding characteristics of our time" (p. 5). She further expresses her concern with literature becoming purely entertainment and thus losing its ability to educate and be meaningful. Arendt (1961/2006) observes: When books or pictures in reproduction are thrown on the market cheaply and attain huge sales, this does not affect the nature of the objects in question. But their nature is affected when these objects themselves are rewritten, condensed digested, reduced to kitsch in reproduction, or in preparation for the movies. This does not mean that culture spreads to the masses [like with the mass production of books], but that culture is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment. The result is not disintegration, but decay []. (p. 204) ! 5

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Our ideas and information are becoming commodified, simplified, and compacted into more entertaining forms. In this thesis I will argue that Eichmann as a metaphor is a warning in our culture of "thoughtlessness," in particular when coupled with the rhetoric of monstrousness, giving rise to an indifference toward human suffering and setting the conditions for the possibility of Eichmannism to manifest in each of us. Eichmann, as I will elaborate on in Chapter Two, has been coined a "desk murderer" and the "architect of the Holocaust" for his career choices that led to the death of millions of individuals during the second world war. Many observers of Eichmann's trial argued that Eichmann was simply an anti-Semite; that, like the other Nazis, he had a deep hatred for Jewish people. Further, it has been popularly argued that he had committed these acts fully aware of the consequences and did so sadistically. However, Arendt's observations concerning Eichmann's nature were quite the opposite. In her series of essays for the New Yorker subsequently a book titled Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil she argues that Eichmann was completely ordinary, neither evil, nor monstrous. This sentiment was terrifically controversial. Most relevant to my thesis is Arendt's statement that it was Eichmann's "thoughtlessness" that allowed for him to have no regrets, to be unapologetic on the witness stand, and to display no remorse for what he had done, even in the moments leading up to his execution. Understanding the depth and significance of the notion of critical thinking will become more clear as I begin to explore the many different contexts of the various authors who have used Eichmann as a metaphor since Arendt's work, Eichmann in Jerusalem The Eichmann metaphor is significant because it allows for one to see the sometimes deleterious 6

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effects of an individual's actions and the consequences on those not directly near them. Recognizing this is important especially in a culture that is embracing a new trend of antiintellectualism and assigning causes of events to being entities outside of our control, rather than analyzing our own possible role; for example, using the term "evil" to explain an action involves labeling something as evil or monstrous is to avoid having to think about contributing factors behind an action. This lack of analysis will only enhance the likelihood that Eichmannesque actions will be more commonplace in the future. Although I should clarify that Arendt did not intend for her concept of the "banality of evil" to mean that evil was commonplace. However, I am arguing that due to the structure of today's society, the possibility for "little Eichmanns" is increasing and that it has the potential to become commonplace, to manifest in all of us ordinary individuals. Finally, the least the metaphor will do is provide a tool to help us to think more critically. It will highlight what it means to think critically and help prevent the phrase "critical thinking" from being a clichÂŽ. The Eichmann metaphor will do this by illustrating the potential consequences and results of not thinking fully, or simply, not thinking at all. Statement of the Problem The primary goals of this thesis are, first, to provide a critique of our culture and a warning to the possibility that Eichmannism may be more likely to manifest in our current culture of "thoughtlessness." Second, I use Eichmann as a metaphor as a tool for individuals to use to learn to think more critically. I am critiquing the problem that our current culture is marked by "thoughtlessness," which involves the same thinking patterns that Eichmann may have also embraced. This is also a warning; if our culture exalts the aspects of our society 7

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that encourage "thoughtlessness," we are setting the grounds for the potential for Eichmannesqe actions to manifest. Furthermore, the Eichmann metaphor can be used as a tool for individuals to better visualize what it means to think critically. In the constant recitation of the term "think critically" we sometimes begin to repeat this phrase without fully understanding the meaning behind it. Since the Eichmann metaphor has been used by a variety of authors within numerous different contexts, it can serve as a bridge and guide to many different events that we might encounter, in this way the Eichmann metaphor can serve to link the importance of thinking critically with our daily lives. Additionally, I am aiming to redefine the media and politician's usage of terms like "monster" and "evil." These words are used to explain away events that occur and to dehumanize the individuals responsible. For example, the Boston Marathon brothers, who were responsible for the two bombs that exploded at the end of the Boston Marathon in 2013, were immediately label as terrorists and as monsters. This has an interesting effect on people's attitudes toward the individuals who have committed the crime. Erin Steuter and Deborah Wills (2010) observe that "[t]he language and imagery used to discuss and frame the war on terror discursively shape our experience, understanding and actions" (p. 154). By labeling certain acts as performed by "terrorists" and using the discourse of "evil" allows for future acts of similar nature to no longer be analyzed, instead it is lumped into the irrational, extremist, or the radical "other" category. In contrast, I am arguing that a society must direct its attention to the structural reasons behind an action that occurs. Roger Fisher (1981) writes that "[o]ur assumption is that the problem is simpleits us against them. We want to believe in a quick fix" (p. 13). 8

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By labeling individuals as terrorists we are only creating a temporary fix, or in the case of the Iraq war, the illusion of a solution. And instead of analyzing and critiquing the system, or considering our possible contributions, we declare perpetual war. Judith Butler (2004) observes: Those who commit acts of violence are surely responsible for them; they are not dupes or mechanisms of an impersonal social force, but agents with responsibility. On the other hand, these individuals are formed, and we would be making a mistake if we reduced their actions to purely self-generated acts of will or symptoms of individual pathology or "evil." (p. 15) If we refer back to Hugo's quote at the beginning of this chapter, we can see the importance of recognizing the systemic reasons behind an individual's actions, not by assigning it to a category of evil, but by attempting to understand the causes leading up to the action in the first place, so this behavior can be altered. It should be noted here that there is always an element of personal responsibility, but the structural causes are fundamental to understand in order to change the situations that will allow for us to make better decisions and to open up a new dialogue. It is important to mention that although my thesis begins with a discussion concerning education, this is not my main concern. Although education is fundamental, I am not providing a framework for a way to improve education. Instead, I am directing my thesis toward a broader audience. I am writing to emphasize the need for critical thinking in everyday life, as we encounter everyday rhetoric and the problem with our abundance of distractions in achieving this. This thesis is attempting to help to illuminate some of the processes used to blind us from seeing reality as it is, and thus attempting to change it. It is important for us to remember that we live in a society built by peoplethe laws, rules, 9

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norms, moralityand we have the ability to alter our societies to embrace more humane thinking patterns. The way we think is crucial. Howard Zinn (1997) argues: We are not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television. This would seem to lead to a simple conclusion: that we all have an enormous responsibility to bring the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas. (p. 694) In part, by providing an alternate perspective this thesis will help to engage the reader to question our assumptions, our "long-held ideas" about the way things are, in order to think more creatively about the way things could be. Research Question The basis of this project was ultimately founded in developing an understanding to the how and why ordinary individuals come to commit "evil" acts; such as, Eichmann's seemingly simple defense of obedience to Hitler's "Final Solution." Other examples include the American troop "Charlie Company" who massacred and raped civilian men, women, and children at My Lai 4, or the American soldiers who tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. Or those men and women who sit in their offices and shuffle papers who fail to realize what the results their actions may have on individuals not directly in front of them. There is much scholarship that explores these very concerns. However, this thesis differs from these other works in that it is coming to a solution, similar to Arendt's, concerning the importance of increasing our ability to think critically. The biggest difference between the other scholarship and mine is that I will explore these actions as they have manifested in congruence with the 10

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Eichmann metaphor, and I am arguing that in our culture of increasing "thoughtlessness" we have the potential to create more Eichmann-like behavior. I am defining Eichmannism as the act of individuals, who are oftentimes far removed from where the orders given are enacted, that has great consequences on another. These consequences are largely unacknowledged because of a lack of reflection and thinking. To frame my question properly I will draw from a number of scholars who argue that our culture is indeed embracing anti-intellectualism, cruelty, and a thoughtlessness to our daily lives (Jacoby, 2009; Hedges, 2009; Arendt, 1992). Specifically, some questions that I will address include: Is there the potential to be an Eichmann in each of us? Will we be able to decipher through rhetoric and make good moral decisions if we are convinced that intellectualism, reflection, dialogue, and thinking are unimportant aspects of life? Are the effects of "little Eichmanns" in a culture of "thoughtlessness," cruelty, and indifference? Arendt was concerned that cruelty was a byproduct of the non-thinking individual. Although Eichmann, himself, did not commit physical acts of cruelty directly on others, he was cruel by his very act of refusing to think. Is cruelty enhanced when individuals cannot see the victims upon which they inflict suffering upon? This is often the case in modern warfare where the victim is far below the plane dropping the drone. These questions bring the concept of Eichmannism into our very workplaces. Every day we are faced with decisions that might have detrimental effects on another. An example is denying health insurance to an individual because it is unprofitable for the business to grant coverage; or for choosing to follow rules as they are dictated to us at the costs of human lives. Would we make the same decisions if were to imagine ourselves in the other person's position? Our inaction in the face 11

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of cruelty and refusal to imagine ourselves as the other is a form of looming Eichmannism. This thesis aims to bring some clarity to these difficult questions. Defining Key Terms This section aims to define a number of terms that I will use throughout my thesis. An upfront understanding of these terms will allow the reader to follow my argument more closely and, hopefully, to also visualize the usefulness and relevance of these concepts in our culture today. All three of the terms I have chosen to define here are used throughout Arendt's scholarship. Thoughtlessness According to Arendt (1958/1998), thoughtlessness is "the heedless recklessness or hopeless confusion or complacent repetition of truths' which have become trivial and empty" (p. 5). This statement is important not only because it is the first definition that Arendt provides of her meaning behind the term "thoughtlessness," but also because she goes on to claim that our culture today is largely reflective of this thoughtlessness. Further, this concept provides insight and support for my own argument that Arendt's notion also frames our culture today, which I will explain at the end of this sub-section. ! When observing Eichmann, Arendt was struck by Eichmann's seeming inability to create any original thoughts of his own. He spoke in cliches in his explanations to the court and he often avoided directly answering questions asked by the prosecution, often giving long-winded and overly detailed explanations, even forgetting where he was going with certain statements. Arendt (1971) writes that "it was not stupidity" or "any particularity of wickedness, pathology, or ideological conviction" that predisposed Eichmann to being able 12

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to perform such "evil deeds, committed on a gigantic scale," but it was "thoughtlessness," further, "a curious, quite authentic inability to think" (p. 417). This "thoughtlessness" is the unwillingness of an individual to reflect upon the consequences of his or her actions, and then act morally upon that reflection. Arendt (1963/1992) writes of Eichmann: ! Except for an extraordinary diligence in looking out for his personal advancement, he had no motives at all. And this diligence in itself was in no way criminal; he certainly would never have murdered his superior in order to inherit his post. He merely to put the matter colloquially, never realized what he was !doing [...] He was not stupid. It was sheer thoughtlessnesssomething by no ! means identical with stupiditythat predisposed him to become one of the greatest criminals of that period. (pp. 287-88) Arendt marries this "inability to think" or "thoughtlessness" with the ability for an individual to commit an evil act. Arendt (1978) posits that: ! It was the absence of thinkingwhich is so ordinary an experience in our everyday life, where we have hardly the time, let alone the inclination, to stop and thinkthat awakened my interest. [...] Might the problem of good and evil, our faculty for telling right from wrong, be connected with our faculty of thought? (p. 4) She suggests that thinking is what determines our ability to make good moral decisions. Additionally, I am arguing that we are currently living in a culture that is nurturing "thoughtlessness." It is being reproduced and encouraged in individuals, and since this "thoughtlessness" is equivalent to the behavior of Eichmann, then we are also increasing the potential for "little Eichmanns" to emerge in all of us, if left unchecked. In our culture today we have a plethora of distractions, homogenous consciousness, and consumerism that are problematic in setting the conditions for Eichmann-like behavior to manifest. In a culture that encourages us to engage in mindless televisions programs, video games, celebrity gossip, and to reject all things intellectual as snobbery, we must ask the question of when do we have 13

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time left to think about anything of substance. Much less when do we have the time to be concerned about human suffering, particularly when it occurs far away from us. Our ability to flip the channel on a news program, in order to engage in a plethora of alternate programming choices, allows us to disengage mentality and emotionally to anything of substance in the world and alleviates ourselves from the responsibility that comes with thinking critically about something. Susan Sontag (2003) argues: Image-glut keeps attention light, mobile, relatively indifferent to content. [] The whole point of television is that one can switch channels, that it is normal to switch channels, to become restless, bored. Consumers droop. They need to be stimulated, jump-started, again and again. (p. 106) Further symptomatic of this culture of "thoughtlessness" is the decline of reading. Hedges (2009) argues that the loss of literacy, or the existence of "functional literacy" in our society today results in illusions: It corrodes the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense tell you something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to grasp historical facts, to advocate for change, and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways, and structures of being that are morally and socially acceptable. (p. 52) If we only engage in material that is purely entertaining we come to a point where we are no longer interested in engaging in material that has value that we must work for beyond the immediate. Nicholas Carr (2008) writes of the importance of reading and quiet spaces for thinking: In the quiet spaces opened up by the sustained, undistracted reading of a book, or by any other act of contemplation, for that matter, we make our associations, draw our own inferences and analogies, foster our own ideas. [] If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with "content," we will sacrifice something important not only in our selves but in our culture. [] As we come to rely on computers to 14

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mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence. (Carr, 2008) It is difficult to escape "content" today and continuous distractions, even online news is filled with an abundance of alternate news links and the continuous bombardment of ads. It is rare that we sit in quiet, walk without purpose, or simply think and contemplate. Arendt (2006) writes of this: The relatively new trouble with mass society is perhaps even more serious, but not because of the masses themselves, but because this society is essentially a consumers' society where leisure time is used no longer for self-perfection or acquisition of more social status, but for more and more consumption but more and more entertainment. [] The point is that a consumers' society cannot possibly know how to take care of a world and the things which belong exclusively to the space of worldly appearances, because its central attitude toward all objects, the attitude of consumption, spells ruin to everything it touches. (p. 208) Our culture of "thoughtlessness" may be increasing the likelihood of us to fail to think about our actions, resulting in the possibility of Eichmann-like behavior. Thinking Arendt dedicated an entire book, The Life of the Mind, in order to understand how individuals think. As Arendt (1971) observes, "If the ability to tell right from wrong should have anything to do with our ability to think, then we must be able to demand' its exercise in every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant, how intelligent or stupid he may prove to be" (p. 422). Arendt posits that thinking as an activity is often isolated to the intellectuals or the philosophers who choose this as their way of life. Arendt (1978) repeatedly clarifies that thinking is in no way related to one's intelligence. She writes: 15

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absence of thought is not stupidity; it can be found in highly intelligent people, and a wicked heart is not its cause; it is probably the other way round, that wickedness may be caused by absence of thought. In any event, the matter can no longer be left to "specialists" as though thinking, like higher mathematics, were the monopoly of a specialized discipline. (p. 13) Thinking is different from knowledge insofar as knowledge is generally considered to be pragmatic, it can be possessed, accumulated, and, then, passed down through generations. Thinking is a solitary function performed by an individual. Without solitude, thinking and imagining become more difficult. Solitude makes thinking "possible for the mind only after it has withdrawn from the present and the urgencies of everyday life'" (p. 76). When individuals are thinking they withdraw from all of the present surroundings, "it is as though we moved into a different world," when individuals are awoken from their thoughts by distraction they move back into the world of "appearances" (1971, p. 423). Solitude, however, is not the only factor necessary for thinking, it also requires individuals to use their imagination. The process of thinking allows one to imagine "objects that are absent, removed from the direct sense perception [...], which by virtue of imagination, can make it present in the form of an image" (Arendt, 1971, p. 423). By imagining others while thinking we are able to see more directly the consequences of our individual actions on others, oftentimes, as was the case with Eichmann, these are actions resulting in systemic injustice. As we will see in Chapter Three, subjects in the Milgram experiment were far more likely to deliver electric shocks to an individual they could not see or hear. The importance of thinking and imagination manifests more clearly in modern practices of warfare; for example, the use of military drone strikes allow individuals to be 16

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able to carry out deeds with life and death consequences, without having to think, by simply using a computer or pressing a lever far away from the one who suffers. Metaphor I find it necessary to also define the concept of metaphor in order to enhance the understanding of the following material. The definition of metaphor that most closely correlates with using Eichmann as such would be an abstraction that is intended to construct a meaning for something else. Arendt (1978) suggests that metaphors serve as a "bridge" between the thinking world and the physical world. She posits that "language succeeds in bridging the gulf between the realm of invisibles and the world of appearances" (p. 108). The abstraction occurs first through the thought processes of an individual, then using language we can communicate and remove these abstractions from the world of thinking, but at the same time the use of language is limiting to the communication of ideas and thoughts. ! Metaphors are important because they demand us to think upon hearing them and, in doing so, we are able to visualize a pathway or an understanding that was previously hidden from us. Arendt (1978) explains that "in the thinking process itself, [metaphors] serve as models to give us our bearings lest we stagger blindly among experiences that our bodily senses with their relative certainty of knowledge cannot guide us through" (p. 109). Thus, the metaphor itself is essential to guide us in our daily thinking activities, and in that manner the Eichmann metaphor is also a tool for us to guide our thinking patterns in a way that allows for us to see the consequences of our daily actions. Precisely what this means will be expanded upon in the following chapters. ! 17

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Review of the Literature I will primarily use three frames to situate my argument: philosophical and political scholarship, sociological theory of moral panics, and critical theory. Since, a large part of my argument will be using the ideas developed by Arendt I will dedicate one sub-section to two of her works. I will name this sub-section "philosophical and political scholarship" because Arendt considered herself a political theorist, although she is generally assigned the identity of philosopher by academics. Moreover, Arendt pulls her arguments from a variety of academic fields herself, she claims, in order to not be limited by a certain theory or discipline. The second sub-section will be a discussion of the "sociological theory of moral panics. Moral panics will allow for me to better understand the climate of fear that manifested in the aftermath of 9/11 resulting in our acceptance of the reduction in our civil liberties and silencing dissenting perspectives, which will be discussed more in Chapter Four. The final subsection will be on critical theory and how it will contribute to my overall argument. Using critical theory to frame my argument, I will primarily draw from the works of the later Frankfurt tradition, of which, I will also include Arendt in this category, as she studied and worked with some individuals who were a part of the Frankfurt School. It should be noted here that I will not include the Eichmann metaphor as a sub-section in this literature review since there is no particular field of study that examines Eichmann as a metaphor as a collective topic; mostly, I have collected the sporadic usages of this concept throughout a variety of authors and across many academic disciplines. ! ! 18

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Philosophical and Political Scholarship Arendt has become an increasingly recognized and important figure in Western thought since her death in 1975. She wrote seven primary works that are still commonly used to analyze politics and philosophy. For this literature review, I will only use three of her books, although I will reference most of her work throughout my thesis in order to solidify my overall argument. First, one of Arendt's more popular works, and one that forms the foundation for my argument, is her analysis of the Eichmann trial. In Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil Arendt comes to the controversial conclusion that Eichmann was an ordinary individual, rather than anti-Semitic or sadistic person. Arendt argues that it was "thoughtlessness" that allowed for Eichmann to indirectly become a participant in the death of millions of individuals. Finally, Arendt greatly expands on her idea of "thoughtlessness" in her unfinished final book that was published posthumously entitled The Life of the Mind and briefly in The Human Condition "Thoughtlessness," she posits in these texts, is simply the refusal of an individual to think, to "imagine what the other person is experiencing" (2013, p. 48). In the former text, Arendt explores, in a philosophical fashion, the "life of the mind." She pulls from the works of Plato and Aristotle in order to develop an exploration of why, how, and where individuals are when they think. Arendt (1972) theorizes that individuals are removed from the present moment when they think, they leave all distractions in the "world of appearances" behind, and thus are able to imagine and to think of objects or people that are not directly in our "sense perception" (p. 423). In the latter text, Arendt primarily looks at the nature of humans as they encounter work, labor, and action. ! 19

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Sociological Theory of Moral Panics I will use the works of four sociologists and one rhetorical and english studies scholar to establish a groundwork for the concept of moral panics. Moral panics is important to my thesis because it helps to create an understanding of the environment that can manifest in a society that allows for individuals to feel fearful of a targeted group of people and become more likely to accept things they may not have otherwise. Edward J. Ingebretsen (2001) argues that the usage of the term "monster," in news articles, on television, or by politicians, to describe and dismiss much violence that occurs, is a way to encourage a society to be fearful and obedient. He suggests that by assigning someone the identity of monster is to amplify the violence that occurred in order to reinforce a particular norm or social behavior. Similarly, Erich Goode and Nachman Ben-Yehuda (2009) suggest that a moral panic is a mechanism that blames an out-group, or a "folk-devil" for the moral and social problems in a society. Stanley Cohen (1972/2002) defines a moral panic as: ! A condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal value and interests; its nature is presented in a stylized and stereotypical fashion by the mass media; the moral barricades are manned by editors, bishops, politicians and other right-wing people; socially accredited experts pronounce their diagnoses and solutions; ways of coping are evolved or (more often) resorted to; the condition then disappears, submerges or deteriorates and becomes more visible. (p. 1) Similarly, Scott A. Bonn (2010) argues that the most recent example of the occurrence of a moral panic, as meets the definitions of the scholars above, is 9/11 and the "War on Terror." He suggests that through the use of rhetoric, which is reinforced by the media and politicians, support for the war has been accrued by invoking fear of the "terrorist" or Arab enemy. Bonn refers to the rhetoric used to rally mass support around the invasion of Iraq, primarily being 20

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based on the often repeated assumption that Iraq was in possession weapons of mass destruction, as "mass deception." ! Finally, Sam Keen (1991), although he does not focus on moral panics, provides an excellent insight into the necessary support system of a public panic. He argues that in order for societies to go to war we must use dehumanizing tactics and rhetoric to create an enemy that we can perceive as dangerous to our way of life, or to our families, less than human, and less important than our own lives. This image is reinforced through pop culture, the media, and the elite who aim to homogenize these thinking patterns. Critical Theory ! Critical theory is essential to making my main argument of critiquing our current culture. Max Horkheimer is a primary thinker in establishing critical theory. In order to better understand critical theory, he explores the primary differences between traditional and critical theory. Horkheimer (1975) suggests that in contrast to critical theory, traditional theory is geared toward efficiency and making the system function as it is, typically using abstractions, such as mathematics, whereas, critical theory acknowledges "concern for reasonable conditions of life" (p. 199). The primary aim of critical theory is not necessarily to present a solution, as traditional theory is more inclined to do, but to improve the world through critique. Horkheimer writes: "the future of humanity depends on the existence today of the critical attitude" (p. 242). Moreover, Horkheimer argues that those using critical theory should critique the concepts that make up the status quo in our society. Horkheimer suggests that what determines if an analysis falls into the category of critical theory is if it attempts "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them" (p. 244). Although critical 21

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theory does not necessarily have to provide a solution, it does identify the factors that should be changed in order to help to alter the current situation. These sentiments are particularly useful for my purposes as a way to establish the critique I am making concerning our culture of "thoughtlessness" and the uncritical acceptance of rhetoric and information. ! Another aspect of critical theory that I will pull from is the "culture industry" as formulated by Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer. Adorno and Horkheimer (1972/2002) argue that the culture industry is a way to control the masses. Culture has become commodified and we are presented with the illusion of choice. However, this is largely only a choice between different products for consumption. The options for us to choose from are variations of the same. Although we perceive ourselves to be making important choices, this illusion of choice is largely a systematic method of mass production and control and done primarily for profit. The culture industry is also visible in the standardization of television narratives. Particular images are imposed on us through these mediums, the image of women and the ideal form of beauty and perfection, men as hyper-masculine, these images consume us, and we ignore other aspects of society in order to strive to be these images we are sold. Horkheimer and Adorno observe: "The triumph of advertising in the culture industry is that consumers feel compelled to buy and use its products even though they see through them" (p. 167). Furthermore, through the programs that we watch and the images in magazines, we are encouraged to embrace a particular morality and normative behavior that is a reflection of a conventional standard. The culture industry tells us what to consume and all decisions that seem to be based on individual preferences are actually between products that are essentially 22

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the same. The choices that we are allowed to make our insignificant and inconsequential. Adorno and Horkheimer (1972/2002) suggest "the culture industry is infecting everyone with sameness" (p. 94). For my purposes, I will only use a generalization of the culture industry and critical theory to guide some of my arguments concerning our society of "thoughtlessness." I will also look at public panics, our culture of constant distraction, consumerism, and anti-intellectualism as being symptomatic of a culture industry. Methodology and Theory This project is based in theoretical, rather than empirical studies. Thus, neither quantitative nor qualitative analyses will be used to further my argument. The primary theories I will use are explored above in the literature review. To re-emphasize, the theories that will help to frame my argument will be (1) critical theory, also using an offshoot of this theory: the culture industry; and (2) the sociological theory of moral panics. Critical theory will be the predominate theory in this project. This theory allows me to most effectively critique our current culture and to recommend a solution which will consider human, animal, and the environment as paramount to other socially constructed concerns. This thesis is intending to highlight the complexities and nuances that come into play when looking at reality and to question our assumptions about our own realities. Thus, I will use an interdisciplinary approach to critiquing our culture. I will use Arendt as a basis for this, then pull from other fields such as sociology, journalism, psychology, political science, history, theology, and philosophy ! 23

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Roadmap My thesis will consist of five chapters. The first is this introduction. In this chapter I have explained the framework and goals guiding this thesis. In Chapter Two I will discuss the capture of Eichmann and the sensationalism and spectacle surrounding his trial. I will demonstrate two viewpoints concerning Eichmann's character: the more common image of Eichmann's nature as a monstrous anti-semite and Arendt's more controversial view of Eichmann as an ordinary man. I will discuss why her notion of Eichmann as ordinary was so controversial and explore her analysis of Eichmann. Further, I will discuss the sanity of individuals who commit monstrous deeds. Drawing from the sanity and ordinariness of Eichmann, I will look at others who argue that it is the sane ones who have committed some of the most monstrous acts in human history. This discussion will help readers to more fully understand the following chapters that explore using Eichmann as a metaphor. The third chapter will explore the bureaucratic nature of the Eichmann metaphor. I will further elaborate on the ways that the bureaucracy helps to set the conditions for Eichmannism to manifest. I will look at the concept of an "administrative massacre" and explore the uniqueness of this in terms of violence in the last century. Further, I will explore the role of technology, profit, and indifference that a bureaucracy helps to foster and how this relates to the role that Eichmann played in the "Final Solution." Next, I will discuss the role of "creeping Eichmannism" in our banal reactions toward the suffering of others. Specifically, in this section I will look at the excusatory statements of police spokesmen concerning the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers; British Petroleum executives after the Gulf Oil Spill in 2013; and the banality toward the suffering after My Lai 24

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4 and the village of Ben Suc massacres in Vietnam. Finally, I will look at Sociologist Stanley Milgram's famous obedience experiment in order to illustrate the problematic nature of authority. In Chapter Four I will discuss the most recent controversial usage of the Eichmann metaphor that was used by Ward Churchill. Churchill was a tenured professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder when he wrote an essay on 9/11 comparing the majority of individuals that died in the World Trade Center and Pentagon to being "little Eichmanns." A few years after writing this essay a national controversy erupted around the usage of the metaphor, resulting in Churchill's dismissal from the University. This incident will be explored in great depth in order to understand why the metaphor used by Churchill caused such an outraged response from the public. Further, I am interested in understanding why the coverage from the media was a largely unconcerned with determining whether Churchill's narrative had any substantive value. In order to answer these questions I will reference scholarship that suggests that Churchill was demonized and dehumanized. Moreover, that after 9/11 the climate of the US emphasized war, patriotism, and homogenous sloganeering. The culture of fear that was produced after 9/11 resembled a moral panic, effectively silencing dissenting opinions that did not coincide with the dominate narrative as established and reiterated by politicians and the media. Finally, Chapter Five will be my closing chapter in which I will summarize my findings in this thesis and conclude that the culture in the US is fostering "thoughtlessness." It encourages people to be non-thinking individuals and to engage in activities that are antiintellectual. Anti-intellectualism, for my purposes, will include most all distractions of 25

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modern society that encourage people to not think about anything besides trivial and inconsequential things. Further, it is typically marked by the refusal to participate in intellectual activities, as basic as reading books. This type of behavior is prevalent in Western societ y and helps to influence homogenous thinking patterns which is extremely problematic in terms of the potential for Eichamnnesque actions to manifest with perhaps more voracity than before. Conclusion In this chapter I explored the purposes of this project, the research questions that frame my argument, and the statement of the problem. Overall, I identified education and the lack of critical thinking as being extremely problematic when coupled with a society of "thoughtlessness." Then, I defined important terms that the reader will encounter in the following chapters. Following this, I presented a literature review and three theories that will guide my argument. Finally, I provided a roadmap to guide the reader through the next four chapters. ! ! ! ! 26

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CHAPTER II HANNAH ARENDT, THE NARRATIVE OF THE ADOLF EICHMANN TRIAL, AND REDEFINING MONSTROUSNESS My name is Adolf Eichmann. The Jews came every day to vat they thought vould be fun in the showers. The mothers were quite ingenious. They vould take the children and hide them in bundles of clothing Ve found the children, scrubbed them, put them in chambers, and sealed them in. [] People say, "Adolf Eichmann should have been hung!" Nein. Nein, if you recognize the whoredom in all of you, that you would have done the same, if you dared know yourselves. My defense? I vas a soldier. People laugh "Ha ha! This is no defense that you are a soldier." This is trite I vas a soldier, a good soldier. I saw the end of a conscientious day's efforts I saw all the work that I did I, Adolf Eichmann, vatched through the portholes. I saw every Jew burned und turned into soap. Do you people think yourselves better because you burned your enemies at long distances with missiles? Without 27

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ever seeing what you'd done to them? Hiroshima Auf Wiedersehen -Lenny Bruce, My Name is Adolf Eichmann Introduction This poem helps to highlight the ambiguity of evil. We often conceptualize good and evil, like many other things, as black and white. However, Eichmann was the same as you and I. Eichmann was ordinary. He was not particularly a thinking individual and it was his refusal to think about his actions that resulted in the efficiency of the "Final Solution." We must consider that this non-thinking still occurs everyday in the workplace; rules and the bureaucracy help to replace the need to think. It is imperative that we understand the Holocaust as being enacted and carried out by the ordinary, in order to understand the potential to become "little Eichmanns" ourselves. Furthermore, this sketch helps to demonstrate the humanity of those we assign the identity of monster. Eichmann was indirectly responsible for the death of millions of individuals during the Holocaust; specifically, he was responsible for making the transportation systems run smoothly and efficiently by enabling the trainsfilled with people on their way to camps to be concentrated, then exterminatedto reach their destinations with little interruption. Eichmann was a bureaucrat who set at his desk to issue orders ensuring efficiency and he rarely saw the actual concentration camps. Yet the consequences of his actions would be tremendous in scope, of which, he would never display regret at having done his job so well. D. Lasok (1962), European law expert, writes that the prosecution's primary case was of depicting "Eichmann as a new style murdererone who carries out killing from his 28

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desk,' [] the crimes were committed over the telephone, by signing an order, by writing a note'" (p. 358). Above all else, Eichmann viewed his duty as a German citizen and member of the prestigious Schutzstaffel (SS) to perform his job to his best ability and for the utmost efficiency of the system. Eichmann possessed traits often highly valued in a bureaucracy, those of loyalty, duty, conformity, and obedience. Furthermore, Eichmann's faithfulness to the system was influenced by the effective use of dehumanizing propaganda, ideologies, and eugenics that was prevalent in Nazi Germany for years. One of the most disturbing aspects of the Holocaust was that it was generally publicly well-known what was happening and that so many ordinary individuals went along with Hitler's rhetoric. Patrick Hayden (2009), drawing from Arendt's work, suggests that: [T]he great atrocities of totalitarianism, culminating in genocide, were produced only because vast numbers of dutiful, rule-following citizens failed to question or challenge social convention. The worst horrors imaginable were produced by the masses of "good" respectable citizens of respectable society, not by the perverted or demonic few. (p. 5) The purpose of this chapter is to explore the notion of monstrousness by looking at Arendt's concept of the "banality of evil" and the narrative of Eichmann as a monster as formulated during Eichmann's trial. I aim to explore the ways that individuals who commit monstrous acts, or the perpetrator, are ordinary people, particularly when we consider evil actions that manifest in groups or entire societies. For example, the ordinariness of the German people and even the SS members who went along with the atrocities of the Third Reich; or the Rwandans who were able to massacre their friends and neighbors, then in the evenings went 29

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home to lead a normal family life. One perpetrator in the Rwandan genocide observes the normalcy of life after a day's work spent slaughtering Tutsi's: we soaped off the bloodstains in the basin, and our noses enjoyed the aromas of full cooking pots. We rejoiced in the new life about to begin by feasting on leg of veal. We were hot atop our wives, and we scolded our rowdy children. [] We went about all sorts of human business without a care in the worldprovided we concentrated on killing during the day, naturally. (Hatzfield, 2008, p. ?? ) It should be mentioned here that Arendt argues that the "banality of evil" was not intended to mean that there was "a little Eichmann in all of us," she makes clear that she disagrees with this statement. However, I will use her concept, in a way that she did not intend, to argue that there is the potential of a "little Eichmann" to manifest in us all. In order to do his I will explore Arendt's conceptualization of Eichmann at his trial, the narrative that Eichmann was evil, and the assumption that the actions of the Nazis were fundamentally different from other actions that inflict mass suffering, such as the dropping of the atomic bomb or drone attacks. It is important to redefine "evil," primarily because assigning the causality of monstrousness to an event is to deny a legitimate consideration of why an event has occurred. For example, after the attacks of 9/11 the Bush administration argued that the attacks were unwarranted and committed by "evil" terrorists who must be eliminated because they were a threat to peace everywhere, instead of attempting to understand the act on a more historical or structural basis. By assigning evil an entity of its own we legitimize violence with violence. In the same way, simply calling Eichmann a monster prevents us from examining Eichmann, and the society in which he lived, in order to understand how such ordinary people could come to accept and participate so enthusiastically in a system of extermination. 30

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This chapter will be organized as follows: First, I will discuss the capture of Eichmann in Argentina and the subsequent trial in Jerusalem. This will help illustrate the monstrous narrative surrounding the trial of Eichmann's representation as demonic and antiSemitic. Next, I will discuss Arendt as a counter-narrative. Her notion of Eichmann as ordinary and the "banality of evil" were very controversial, primarily because it was so difficult to imagine an ordinary individual being capable of such monstrous deeds. Moreover, in Western society we typically do not imagine evil as something that potentially includes ourselves. Instead it is the "few bad apples" who do evil acts. However, Arendt's notion of evil as banal forced us to reconsider our typical Western conceptions of evil. By analyzing this controversy and Arendt's ideas we will be able to draw parallels to the Ward Churchill controversy which will be discussed in depth in Chapter Four. Following this, I will discuss two authors who have recently contested Arendt's thesis arguing that Eichmann was actually a deeply anti-Semitic and sadistic murderer. This section is important because I find that determining the exact nature of Eichmann is unnecessary because many similar acts of varying extremities have occurred in the years since Eichmann's role in the "Final Solution," by a variety of obedient, dutiful men and women throughout the last century. In the final section of this chapter I will explore the sanity in acts of monstrousness. Some of the most egregious atrocities in human history have been performed by the Eichmanns, the certifiably normal ones, the ones who are dutifully obedient to the state or the greater good. I will discuss how the rhetoric of monstrousness is used as a way to separate the horrific actions of certain individuals or groups of people, instead of acknowledging that 31

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most of these monstrous acts are committed by normal, perfectly sane individuals. I will look at various authors who argue that the narrative of evil is problematic because we are all capable of being monsters. The Narrative of Monstrousness: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann On May 11, 1960 Eichmann missed his usual bus home to Garibaldi St. from his job at a German automobile warehouse in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He had fled Germany not long after the end of the Third Reich, having been mentioned by a number of former Nazi party members connecting him to playing an important role in Hitler's "Final Solution" (Lasok, 1962, p. 355; Lipstadt, 2011, p. 5). Initially in Argentina, Eichmann, who was then using the pseudonym Richardo Klement, was unsuccessful at establishing steady work. He eventually received a job at Daimler-Benz, a German car company in Buenos Aires (Horowitz, 1994, p. 1). Eichmann arrived at his home, a small, unimpressive shack on a hill, late on that evening, where he was met by two Israeli agents who were pretending to be stranded on the side of the road with car trouble (Lipstadt, 2011, p. 16). When he got off the bus the Israelis grabbed Eichmann, forced him into their car, then took him to a "safe house," at which point the agents were able to confirm his identity as Adolf Otto Eichmann (Horowitz, 1994, p. 2). The trial of Eichmann was marked by controversy from the beginning. From determining the location of the trial, to the sheer number of witnesses that testified about their experiences at various concentration camps, to Eichmann's defense that he was simply following orders from his superiorseverything about the trial was sensationalized. On top of this, Arendt's thesis on "the banality of evil" concerning Eichmann's rather ordinary nature 32

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became the most contested part of the trial and is still inspiring debate today (Lipstadt, 2011; Stangneth, 2014). From the moment the dramatic capture of Eichmann in Argentina was published as headline news in newspapers and on televisions around the world, Eichmann was labeled a "monster." The trial of Eichmann created the impression of him as evil by the prosecution's use of over 112 witnesses to testify on stand reiterating the massive human suffering and atrocities that had occurred in the concentration camps (Bigart, 1961, p. 9). These testimonies, coming seventeen years after the liberation of Auschwitz, were exceedingly dramatic. Philosopher and critic Harold Rosenberg (1961) describes the testimonies as "tragic poetry, that of making the pathetic and terrifying past live again in the mind," even more, that it was "too much" and the "audience is becoming dulled, the horrors are losing their effect" (pp. 369-371). Another reason for the mass demonization of Eichmann was because the trial was televised worldwide, these often horrific testimonies became the first many people had heard of the actual events that occurred during the Holocaust and, in particular, the concentration camps. This perspective of Eichmann as evil was represented in newspapers and broadcast around the world, all suggesting Eichmann was a diabolical antiSemite. The abundance of emotional testimonies used and the "dramatic narrative" from the victims allowed for Eichmann to not so much be on trial as the Holocaust itself (Rosenberg, 1961, p. 375). Eichmann came to represent the anger and pain of all the individuals who suffered during this time period as well as a scapegoat for the world's collective inaction in the face of the Holocaust. 33

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Furthermore, the trial was a spectacle; not only was the trial held in the Beit Ha'am theatre in Jerusalem, but Eichmann spent 25 days on the witness stand, far longer than any other Nazi that was tried in the Nuremberg trials in 1945, which adjudicated 22 top Nazi officials in only six months (Halkin, 2005, p. 59). This extended time spent on the defendant's stand, in a bullet proof glass booth, allowed for a certain perspective to be formed around the nature of Eichmann as he repeated, ad nauseam the same line of defense: that he was only following orders. Moreover, the establishment of the monster narrative contributed to the intense negative public and academic reaction toward Arendt's thesis on Eichmann Eichmann was tried and found guilty of fifteen charges: four as crimes against the Jewish people, seven as crimes against humanity, one war crime, and three for being a member of a hostile organization (Lasok, 1962, p. 356). The final ruling from the judges was in part as follows: Eichmann not only "pulled the strings," but introduced new, more effective methods for extermination, such as the chemical used in the gas chambers at Auschwitz (p. 371). This ruling was important for two reasons. First, because it pushed forth a dominant narrative, from a legitimate authority figure of Eichmann as a being fully aware of his actions and the consequences of those actions. Moreover, that Eichmann was antiSemitic, that he was sadistic in that he enjoyed making Hitler's "Final Solution" operate so efficiently. This narrative, that portrayed Eichmann as a sadistic Nazi, became the dominant narrative Second, this narrative was important because it was picked up by the press and sent into the eager ears of the public, who now could affirm that Eichmann must indeed be an evil 34

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man, a monster, not the ordinary family man he pretended to be. It was much easier to believe that the actions of the Nazis were done by manipulative monstrous individuals, not by your next door neighbor or your father and mother. In essence, that it could not have happened in our society More importantly, this is part of the reason that Arendt's publication of Eichmann in Jerusalem became so controversial, her counter-narrative to Eichmann's character was, for the most part, rejected by both academics and the general public. In the next section, I will discuss Arendt's conceptualization of Eichmann in order to further understand the controversy surrounding her depiction of Eichmann, her meaning of "thoughtlessness" and the "banality of evil." Hannah Arendt, the "New Yorker," and the "Banality of Evil" Controversy In this section I will explore Arendt's conceptualization of Eichmann during his trial as she presents in her work for the New Yorker This will help us to visualize Arendt's argument that Eichmann was ordinary in order to properly juxtapose her argument with the positions that I will expand on in the following section concerning scholars who are reviving the argument of Eichmann as a sadistic anti-Semite. Second, this section is necessary in order to more fully understand the later chapters of using Eichmann as a metaphor. Arendt and the New Yorker Arendt, who was already a respected and established political theorist after publishing her well-received book, The Origins of Totalitarianism contacted the New Yorker and offered to cover the trial of Eichmann in Israel. The editor at the New Yorker William Shawn, agreed and, subsequently, Arendt's journalistic reporting was published as a series of five essays, 35

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later compiled, nearly word-for-word, into a book entitled Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil Arendt's portrayal of Eichmann as an ordinary man, primarily interested in furthering his career, was met with an exorbitant wave of criticism. Journalist Amos Elon (2006/2007) writes that: "No book within living memory had elicited such similar passions. [] The controversy has never really been settled. Such controversies often die down, simmer, then erupt again" (p. 93). Similarly, philosopher Seyla Benhabib (1996) argues that, "Among all Hannah Arendt's writings, Eichmann in Jerusalem generated by far the most acrimonious and the most tangled controversy" (p. 35). Further, she suggests that "Arendt is to be credited for being among the first to encourage facing the facts of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust in all their naked horror" (p. 41). This sentiment is an important aspect of the controversy surrounding Arendt's argument because prior to Arendt's narrative, Eichmann had been primarily conceived of as a monster. The fact that many who made the Holocaust possible were ordinary people made the Holocaust even more difficult for people to come to terms with. Furthermore, the original essays, in The New Yorker were published "among advertisements for Tiffany jewelry and elegant fur coats" and, by many, Arendt's decision to publish her work in The New Yorker was not considered intellectual enough for the serious matter of her work (Elon, 2006/2007, p. 101). Some also criticized her for having attended only a handful of sessions; due to this it was suggested she would not be able to determine the true nature of Eichmann's deceptive character. 36

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Upon publication one critic called her analysis of Eichmann "significant and yet a disappointing book," further that Arendt was "subjective," and that the work was not "scholarly" enough (Foster, 1965, pp. 71 & 73). Furthermore, many were offended at Arendt's accusation, although other intellectuals had also made the same observation: that the Jewish Council members were actors in the increased effectiveness of the "Final Solution" and that if they had not cooperated with the Germans the numbers who have died would have been far fewer. Others scourged her subtitle to her book reducing evil to being banal. Louis Harap (1964) writes: "Whatever she may have meant, evil is never banal: there is too much of human suffering in its infliction, too much of insensitivity or corruption or malice in its doing, to warrant such a characterization" (p. 227). Further, some suggest that her book is "arrogant," "perverse," "no doubt that she should have been more gentle," and she had some "lapses in taste;" fewer argue it is "brilliantly written" and "courageous" (Harap, 1964, p. 225; Zeisel, 1964, p. 198; Burin, 1964, p. 122 & 125). One more recent critic bluntly states: "She is wrong" (Halkin, 2005, p. 60). Conservative political writer Norman Podhoretz (1963) argues that Arendt's version of Eichmann was the "interesting version of the story" he goes on to refute her thesis by writing: For uninteresting though it may be to say so, no person could have joined the Nazi party, let alone the S.S., who was not at the very least a vicious anti-Semite; to believe otherwise is to learn nothing about the nature of anti-Semitism. Uninteresting though it may be to say so, no person of conscience could have participated knowingly in mass murder: to believe otherwise is to learn nothing about the nature of conscience. And uninteresting thought it may be to say so, no banality of a man could have done so hugely evil a job so well; to believe otherwise is to learn nothing about the nature of evil. (p. 206) ! 37

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This critic, unfortunately, misses the meaning of Arendt's conceptualization of Eichmann and the banality of evil. The banality of evil as Arendt meant it is not extreme or "radical evil," as the West had typically envisioned evil, but as evil performed by the seemingly ordinary actions of individuals doing their daily jobs. However, Arendt did not intend for this to mean it was at all commonplace; rather, it was carried out by those individuals who simply failed to think about the consequences of their actions on others. Philosopher Seyla Benhabib (1996) argues, in reference to the banality of evil thesis: "It takes either a great deal of hermeneutic blindness and ill will or both to miss her meaning in the usage of this term, although of course one may disagree with the assessment of Eichmann's psychology" (p. 45). Further, Benhabib suggests that "the wider public found it difficult to grasp what she was after," insofar as "Arendt's views were of quite a different nature than what was commonly assumed about this phenomenon in the tradition of Western thought" (p. 46). Elon similarly argues that: "Evil, as [Arendt] saw it, need not be committed only by demonic monsters but with disastrous effects by morons and imbeciles as well []" (2006/2007 p. 95). In one of the final interviews Arendt gave, she clarifies her meaning behind "the banality of evil": Eichmann was perfectly intelligent, but in this respect he was stupid. It was this stupidity that was so outrageous. And that was what I actually meant by banality. There's nothing deep about itnothing demonic! There is simply the reluctance ever to imagine what the other person is experiencing []. (1975/2013, p. 48) It is important to understand that, prior to the Eichmann trial, Arendt's conception of the notion of evil in her 1951 book Origins of Totalitarianism was quite different Elon (2006/2007) writes of her transition: 38

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In The Origins of Totalitarianism she still held on to a Kantian notion of radical evil, the evil that, under the Nazis, corrupted the basis of moral law, exploded legal categories, and defied human judgment. In Eichmann in Jerusalem and in the bitter controversies about it that followed, she insisted that only good had any depth. Good can be radical; evil can never be radical, it can only be extreme, for it possesses neither depth not any demonic dimension yetand this is its horror! it can spread like a fungus over the surface of the earth and lay waste the entire world. (p. xiv) Moreover, that: Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil. (p. xiv) The banality of evil, as Arendt intended it to mean, was not that evil acts did not occur, but that evil could manifest in such ordinary men and women whose actions could incur such great harm on others, yet the individual appear mild, calm, not the sadist demented individual that we might typically imagine, all because they failed to think. The evil actions that unfolded during the Holocaust, and many other times since, were the actions of humans, ordinary individuals, who, depending on particular situations and contexts, were able to commit great acts of evil, without really thinking or by refusing to imagine the consequences of their actions on others. For Arendt, this "banality of evil" was all the more terrifying. This banality of evil was not only apparent in the actions of Eichmann during the Third Reich, but as Arendt (1963/1992) suggests that "the population at large obviously could not have cared less" (p. 156). Further, the banality of evil was apparent in the choice of all the countries who refused to aid Jewish refugees at the time. Historian Henry Feingold (1980) suggests that: "[Eichmann's] reaction was, after all, not that far removed from American consular officials who also discovered that blocking the entrance of Jews to the 39

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United States was approved behavior which might further their careers" (p. 45). Similarly, Elie Wiesel (1961) asks: "Is it not strangelet us use only that wordthat the civilized world waited until it was too late before expressing its moral indignation, waited until there were scarcely any Jews left to be saved" (p. 512). Wiesel continues: There can be no justification, nor any explanation for passivity when an effort had to be made to save five to ten thousand Jews from murder each day. Just how many meetings were there at Madison Square Garden, and how many demonstrations in front of the White House? To think of how few, makes one's blood run cold. (p. 512) The banality of evil, is banal because the actions one chooses to make are so seemingly unimportant, yet it can sometimes incur such serious harm on another. The choices of an individual to pursue what is in his or her best interests in terms of a career might contribute to the near annihilation of a group of people, and this is a very common trait to possess in a bureaucracy. Arendt, is suggesting that, Eichmann had a choice, however, he refused to even think about his options or the consequences of the choices he made, beyond the success of his career. How many of us face a similar situation when we go to work daily? Eichmann as Ordinary Arendt conceptualizes Eichmann as an ordinary man who is primarily interested in getting a good job, moving up in the ranks to be socially and economically successful, following orders, and being dedicated to what he felt to be his duty as a good law-abiding citizen: that is being faithful to Hitler as his perceived patriotic duty. Eichmann even demonstrates his obedience, or general lack of thinking, when he was captured in Argentina. Upon being taken to the safe house by his captors, he was taken to the toilet, at which point when asked if he should begin "only when he was told yes did he begin to move his 40

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bowels" (Lipstadt, 2011, p. 17). Deborah Lipstadt (2011), who outspokenly does not agree with Arendt's analysis of Eichmann, observes that the Israeli captors "[w]itnessing Eichmann's behavior [] wondered if this man could possibly have decided the fate of millions of my people'" (p. 17). Similarly, Avner W. Less (1983), who had interrogated Eichmann for over 275 hours accumulating in 3,564 pages when transcribed, writes that "Eichmann would stand at attention behind his chair until I said he could be seated" and that "he still wanted to be treated like a soldier" (p. 50). Further, Eichmann spoke terrible German, mixed with phrases used by the "Nazi bureaucracy," making much of what he said unintelligible, until one became accustomed to his phrases (p. 45). Certainly the language used in the Nazi bureaucracy and parroted by Eichmann helped him to ignore the consequences of his actions. In the same vein, Arendt argues that Eichmann seemed unable to create any original thoughts of his own. By using technical language, as Eichmann did, Eichmann came to view his actions as contributing to his career; rather, than contributing to the extermination of groups of people. Furthermore, Arendt (1963/1992) observes that the use of language adopted by Eichmann aided him in not thinking. For example, she discusses Eichmann's use of cliches in court and his "objective' attitudetalking about concentration camps in terms of administration,' and about extermination camps in terms of economy'[which] was typical of the S.S. mentality, and something Eichmann, at the trial, was still very proud of" (p. 69). Less (1983) writes that it was "further garbled by his liking for endlessly complicated sentences which he himself would occasionally get lost in" (p. 45). Less also observes that 41

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Eichmann was a liar. That, in fact, "He would lie until defeated by documentary proof" and frequently claimed he was following Befehlsnotstand (orders from above)" (p. 46). Less, although he suggests that Eichmann "obviously had no feeling for the monstrousness of his crime" and "did not show the slightest twinge of remorse," goes on to describe a conversation with Eichmann where Eichmann inquires to Less about his family: whether [Less] had any brothers and sisters, and whether [Less's] parents were still alive. [He] told him that [his] father had been deported to the East by [Eichmann's] organization in January 1943, one of the last transports from Berlin. Eichmann opened his eyes wide and cried out: "But that's horrible, Herr Hauptmann! That's horrible!" (p. 46) Although Less did not necessarily back up Arendt's arguments, his comments concerning Eichmann's inability to feel remorse, or to demonstrate an understanding of the importance of his own role in the extermination of people, is reiterated through Arendt's observations that Eichmann was not sadistic, but that he was, rather simply, refusing to think in another person's shoes, so to speak. This conversation between Less and Eichmann aids in demonstrating that it was "sheer thoughtlessness" that allowed for Eichmann to react in this manner toward Less, although he is the indirect cause of the death of Less's father it is as if Eichmann simply had not thought about the results of his actions in human form. Eichmann seemed unwilling to imagine his own culpability in the results, in terms of real human lives. Arendt (1963/1992) writes: The longer one listened to him, the more obvious it became that his inability to speak was closely connected with his inability to think namely to think from the standpoint of somebody else. No communication was possible with him, not because he lied but because he was surrounded by the most reliable of all safeguards against the words and the presence of others, and hence against reality as such. (p. 49) ! 42

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However, Arendt (1963/1992) repeatedly argues that Eichmann was not stupid, although he dropped out of High School, and was "without any prospects for a career" (p. 29). He appeared as a "failure" toward his family and himself, thus the opportunity to move up in the Reich, and join the SS, was something that Eichmann was interested in doing in order to establish himself and further his career (p. 33). Eichmann was a devoted family man, even when he left for Argentina, after WWII, his family followed a short time later. He was committed to performing his duty to the Nazi party and was an unquestioning, law-abiding citizen above all else. Sociologist Fred E. Katz (1993) contributes to understanding Eichmann's mentality by writing: To return to Eichmann's career as an SS officer, he evidently did not deeply support every item in the SS package. This was not atypical for SS officers. Eichmann repeatedly expressed fairly explicitly reservations, but like other SS officers, he carried out all aspects of the Nazi package. He expressed unhappiness about the decision to annihilate the Jews, but zealously pursued its implementation. (p. 98) It is evident that a number of SS officers questioned the legitimacy, legality, and morality of the orders that they were asked to carry out. However, most stated that they simply pushed these thoughts from their head, in order to perform their perceived duty and in order to be obedient to the orders that they were issued. There are many examples of Eichmann-like behavior during the Third Reich. Just one example, is Rudolf Hoess, who was in charge of Auschwitz. Under his command millions of Jews were sent to their deaths, all the while, he was still a considerate, caring, and loving family man in the evenings (Katz, 1993, p. 116). Katz (1993) writes: "[Hoess] and his family appear to have led a life of comfortable German burgherhood. There were bucolic joys of 43

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quiet walks in the woods, not far from the electric fences and the chimneys" (p. 126). Psychologist Molly Harrower argues this nonchalant behavior in the midst of mass exterminations was considerably "normal" under the Third Reich. She writes: "The Nazis who went on trial at Nuremberg were as diverse a group of people as one might find in our own government today, or for that matter, in the leadership of the PTA" (as cited in Chartock, 1978, p. 200). Moreover, Arendt (1963/1992) suggests that "Eichmann was indeed normal insofar as he was no exception within the Nazi regime.' However, under the conditions of the Third Reich only exceptions' could be expected to react normally'" (p. 27). Moreover, Arendt (1963/1992) observes that Eichmann was analyzed by a number of physicians who "had certified him as normal'" and that "his was obviously also no case of insane hatred of Jew, of fanatical anti-Semitism" (p. 26). Israeli psychiatrist, Isidore S. Kulcsar observes "that Adolf Eichmann's sickness contrasts sharply with sadism. [] In the same manner as he organized the mass execution of Jews, he was ready to liquidate Russian prisoners, Polish patriots, or German democrats. He killed impersonally, in a bureaucratic way. He was the archetypal murderer of our time;" furthermore, Kulcsar "proposes that the word Eichmannism' be added to the psychiatric language to describe the uniqueness of his state of mind" (as cited in Society for Science & the Public 1966, p. 318). Moreover, the judges assumed that Eichmann was a masterful liar; however, Arendt (1963/1994) found that they "missed the greatest moral and even legal challenge of the whole case" and that the judges "rested on the assumption that the defendant [] must have been aware of the criminal nature of his acts" (pp. 26-27). Arendt suggests this was, in part, because of the judges' own inability to understand that an individual could contribute so 44

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effectively to the Holocaust and still be considered a normal and ordinary person. In the verdict, the judges wrote: "[Eichmann] never showed repentance or weakness or any weakening of strength or any weakening of will in the performance of the task which he undertook." Further, that "he carried out his unspeakably horrible crimes with genuine joy and enthusiasm, to his own satisfaction and the satisfaction of all his superiors" (Asser, 1963). Arendt (1963/1994 ) writes: [The judges] did not believe him, because they were too good, and perhaps also too conscious of the very foundations of their profession, to admit that an average, "normal" person, neither feeble-minded nor indoctrinated nor cynical, could be perfectly incapable of telling right from wrong. (p. 26) For Arendt this was precisely the ordinariness, this indifference, this banality of evil, that was what she considered all the more disturbing. In the next section, I will discuss the reemergence of the narrative of monstrousness to describe Eichmann, as was popularly reiterated during his trial, in order to disregard this argument as unhelpful and irrelevant for my purposes. The Re-emergence of the Dominant Narrative of Monstrousness In this section, I will briefly explore two individuals who recently rejuvenated, or perhaps merely continued, the popular narrative of monstrousness in reference to Eichmann: Deborah Lipstadt and Bettina Stangneth. This discussion is important in order to demonstrate that these arguments are unhelpful deliberations that distract us from having other meaningful conversations that could contribute to us understanding Eichmannesque behavior as it still manifests today. 45

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The first rejuvenator of the dominant narrative of monstrousness is the voice of Stangneth (2014) who essentially disputes Arendt's thesis that Eichmann was merely a rulefollowing bureaucrat, with no particular hatred against Jews. She argues that Eichmann was a mass murderer, a master manipulator and that if one was to research his past, information she suggests was unavailable to Arendt at the time, this would be readily apparent. Similarly, Lipstadt (2011) suggests that Arendt was tasteless and, perhaps, even a bit racist, as well as a number of incorrect facts being present in Arendt's scholarship. Further, she argues that "Eichmann and his cohorts did not randomly go from being ordinary men to being murderers" (p. 183). Lipstadt suggests that Arendt overgeneralized this assumption in her work. However, Lipstadt does not disagree that Eichmann was indeed, at some point, an ordinary person. She writes: It was the transformation of seemingly normal people into killers that rightfully intrigued her. Though much of what she said about the Jewish victims and the manner in which she said it is disturbing, her contenting that many of the perpetrators were not innately monsters or diabolical creatures but "ordinary" people who did monstrous things not only seems accurate but is the accepted understand among most scholars of the perpetrators. It is precisely their ordinarinesstheir banalitythat makes their horrific actions so troubling. [] However, in Eichmann's case her analysis seems strangely out of touch with reality of his historical record. (p. 169) I included these current disputers toward Arendt's work because I assumed this thesis might be disputed on the basis that Arendt's conceptualization of Eichmann was inaccurate and wrong, that Eichmann was a monster. Thus, I am arguing that Stangneth and Lipstadt's perspectives, although well-researched and argued, are unimportant to the overall argument that Eichmann was ordinary. Whether he developed into an anti-Semite over years, whether Arendt got some facts wrong in her scholarship, or whether Eichmann was manipulative 46

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during his trial is not important to the argument I am putting forth here, which is that Eichmann's actions have manifested in different forms again and again in many ordinary individuals and that our culture of "thoughtlessness" is only increasing the potential for Eichmannism to manifest. In other words, while Eichmann the man is contemptible, we are not off the hook for our thoughtlessness and our contributions to systemic injustice. Next, I will discuss the sanity that underlies monstrousness. Sanity and Monstrousness The following poem written by Leonard Cohen (1964) entitled "All there is to know about Adolf Eichmann" continues our discussion concerning the sanity of Eichmann and connects us back to the opening poem at the beginning of this chapter: EYES: Medium HAIR: Medium WEIGHT: Medium HEIGHT: Medium DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: None NUMBER OF FINGERS: Ten NUMBER OF TOES: Ten INTELLIGENCE: Medium What did you expect? Talons? Oversize incisors? Green saliva? Madness? Although this poem is specifically intended to help us to recognize the sanity in Eichmann, it is important to consider the overall presence of this sanity in all doers of evil. Thomas Merton (1980) observes that the few individuals who are truly sadistic or insane are kept away from "the button" that drops the bomb or the frontline in the military. He writes: 47

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It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones have prepared. What makes us so sure, after all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into a position to fire the first shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones will keep them far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They will be obeying sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. (p. 161) Despite the typical messages broadcast to us that indicate violence and human suffering are typically carried out by monstrous people, in reality, it is the "sane" among us who are responsible for more deaths and suffering of humans, animals, and destruction of the environment, than the few truly insane individuals. Merton further observes: The generals and fighters on both sides, in World War II, the ones who carried out the total destruction of entire cities, these were the sane ones. Those who have invented and developed atomic bombs, thermonuclear bombs, milieus; who have planned the strategy of the next war; who have evaluated the various possibilities of using bacterial and chemical agents: those are not the crazy people, they are the sane people. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can be considered expendable in nuclear war []. (pp. 161-162) The trouble with this sanity is that we, who are also sane, trust authority figures without question, because authority is generally considered to be sane, to know better than the rest of us, and to be obeyed without question. Thus, our mechanisms for thinking critically become largely discarded in situations where we are asked to obey and to situate patriotism or the survival of the state above the life of the individual that we are conditioned to view as the enemy. Merton suggests that: "If [modern man] was a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of his absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of his survival" (p. 162). Scientist Roger Fisher (1981) similarly argues that we ought to learn to question our assumptions. He writes: "The danger of nuclear war lies largely within us. It lies 48

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in how we think about winning, in how we define success, and in our illusions of being able to impose results" (p. 14). If we continue to view our society with "sane" lenses, insofar as to win means to consider that a certain amount of human life is disposable, is able to be sacrificed for a state-sanctioned national interest, as Fisher suggests, then we will continue to have mass suffering. Although the discussion by Fisher is concerning nuclear war it can easily be translated into the dropping of napalm, drones, or any other weapon released at great distances by the dutiful soldier. Hans Askenasy (1978) similarly argues: "By traditional standards, crime and abnormality account for only a very small part of human destructiveness. This is so because most men and women, including those who start wars and commit murder, and genocide, have been and are considered normal'" (p. 103). In our general lives, we prefer to keep a veil of illusions or distractions between what we take in directly and the horrors of the "insane" in the world around us. Askenasy expands on this by suggesting that we prefer to use illusions to allow us to deal with the insanity of reality. He writes that these are "abnormal illusions which keeps us insane" and we ought to "adapt to the fact that we are blind" (pp. 105-106). Moreover, he continues, we should dissolve these mechanism in our society that keep us "blind." These mechanisms keep us feeling "sane" in an "insane" world. Arendt (1978) also contributes to this discussion in suggesting that "Unthinking men are like sleepwalkers" (p. 191). She argues that distractions are necessary in order to prevent us from becoming overwhelmed by the world around us; however, only to a certain extent, we must always come back to our thinking selves in order to live a meaningful or "fully alive" life (p. 191). Furthermore, Askenasy suggests if we were to become aware of the "insanity" of the 49

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"sanity" in the horrors of suffering that occur in our world we might be more likely to make some lasting changes for a better future. Askenasy warns us: "We are left with a grim conclusion that while Eichmann is gone, Eichmannism is not. And the cost to mankind is prohibitive" (p. 77). Similarly, literary critic Kenneth Burke (1959/1984) writes of the normality of individuals who can be responsible for great suffering: One problem of proportion with regard to the nature of our society has to do with the disparity between our powers as physical organisms and our powers as magnified by the resources, both technical and organizational, of applied science. The horrors of Auschwitz derive from a few instructions give by authorities who never went near the place. An overwhelming amount of the damage done by our ingenious, spendthrift modern weaponry in Vietnam was made possible by humble, orderly, obedient, peacefully behaving jobholders, who raise their families in the quiet suburbs, and perhaps do no even spank their children. (p. 421) This notion of sanity in the act of monstrousness is also reflected in the scholarship of Erich Fromm (1994), who suggests: "All of us are criminals, just as all of us are saints. Each of us is good and each of us is evil. And precisely because evil is also human, we can understand evil, insofar as we see evil in ourselves" (p. 28). Moreover, Fromm (1981/2010) writes that "When Eichmann defends himself and states that he is only a bureaucrat and has, in reality, only regulated trains and worked out schedules, then he is not altogether off the mark. I believe that there is a bit of Eichmann in us all today" (p. 28). The convenient and comforting illusion of evil as existing out there in the world is detrimental for our ability to think critically and to recognize that these acts are not perpetrated by "evil" individuals, rather there is an entire system that functions behind the 50

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acts of these individuals that contribute to their thought processes and decisions. Similarly, Omar Swartz (2004) observes: Americans pride themselves on their individuality, yet that individuality is largely a myth. While we have choices as consumers, larger structural forces condition our public morality and impel conformity. The most despicable acts are perpetrated by people who are otherwise moral, productive, well-socialized members of a civilized community (such as the recent Abu Ghraib Prison scandal in which the American and British government acknowledge the widespread torturing and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by their military forces). [] Recognizing this point is the first step toward reining in the Eichmann in all of us. (p. 161) If we can recognize the sanity in the acts of monstrousness, in those of evildoers, such as Eichmann, we can begin to understand our own potential culpability and, thus, our individual responsibility to the world around us in order to prevent Eichmannesque actions from manifesting. In the following chapter I explore the Eichmann metaphor in relation to bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is essential to this conversation because we live in a world similar to Eichmanns, we share fundamental characteristics with Eichmann, and these are primarily a result of a society that we come to learn to value these characteristics in the first place. Conclusion In this chapter I explored the capture and trial of Eichmann in order to illustrate how the narrative of monstrousness became linked with the identity of Eichmann. Next, I juxtaposed Arendt's observations concerning Eichmann as ordinary and I discussed her concept of the "banality of evil." Then, I looked at two scholars who have recently disputed Arendt's argument with new evidence that Eichmann was actually a sadistic anti-Semite. I demonstrated that Eichmann's "true" nature was unimportant for my overall argument as his "thoughtlessness" has manifested in a variety of ways since Eichmann's actions during the 51

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Third Reich. Finally, I observed that sanity and monstrous actions are not binary opposites, rather evil is an act done by humans, and an act of the sane individual. In the next chapter I will discuss the bureaucratization of Eichmannism and how the bureaucracy and the development of technology have affected individuals ability to see the other as human. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 52

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CHAPTER III THE BUREAUCRATIZATION OF EICHMANNISM I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that [Charles] Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final results. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut figure nails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern. C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters [H]uman history began as an act of disobedience, and it is not unlikely that it will be terminated by an act of obedience. Erich Fromm, On Disobedience Introduction Lewis' (1942/1961) version of Hell as the office of a bureaucracy offers us quite a different version of the doers of evil than commonly conceived. Lewis paints the image, in the above quote, not of devils and sadistic individuals as responsible for the greatest evil, but those that operate under the safety of the bright lights in an office building and those that are sane. The bureaucratization of evil, turning evil actions into commonplace banal actions, is something we will explore in this chapter. The above quote is important because it represents both the sanity of the individual who commits evil acts, which we explored in the previous chapter, and the bureaucracy as an essential aspect of Eichmannism. The primary goal of this chapter is to explore the Eichmann metaphor as it has been used in reference to actors influenced by the bureaucracy. I will address such questions as: How has bureaucracy changed the nature of individuals? To what extent is our methods of 53

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thinking, or not-thinking, predicated on what we are taught from youth to be efficient, rulere-citing, and conformist individuals for success in a bureaucracy? Does our ability to imagine our action's consequences on another change with distance when enhanced with the use of technology or when guided by an authority figure? Does our education and culture of "thoughtlessness" limit us in understanding the importance of imaging these consequences? The Eichmann metaphor fits nicely into this discussion because a number of individuals have used the Eichmann metaphor in reference to the oftentimes horrific actions inflicted upon others at a distance. The "bureaucratization of Eichmannism" simply means that the bureaucracy has set the framework for homogenized thought, particularly thought that is formed around the basis of technological and managerial efficiency; in essence, Eichmannesque qualities have been incorporated into the functionality of the bureaucracy making them more commonplace. The bureaucracy elicits in individuals little autonomy; rather, it encourages individuals to refer to handbooks and rules instead of rationalizing and thinking for themselves. In the first section, I will explore the bureaucratization of Eichmannism that allows for individuals to become enthusiastic participants in wars, torturers, or just indifferent and thoughtless paper-pushers. This section will include an in-depth exploration into the many different facets of Eichmannism in relation to the bureaucracy. I will also look at the specific uses of the Eichmann metaphor in regard to the responses of police spokespersons attempting to justify the deaths of African Americans, the British Petroleum (BP) Gulf Coast oil spill executive, and the banal reaction to the suffering of villagers in the massacres at My Lai 4 and Ben Suc. 54

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Finally, I will look at Stanley Milgram's obedience experiment which has been referred to as "the Eichmann experiment" (1974, p. 178). I am looking at this social experiment and not others because the Milgram obedience experiment is a good representation of the behavior of an individual in the simulated setting of the bureaucracy. I will briefly explain the experiment, then discuss the results. The main focus of this discussion will be concerning the reaction of individuals when faced with an authority figure, potentially the bureaucrat, and how commonly a perceived greater good can take precedence over the suffering inflicted upon another human. Second, I will explore how this fits into our discussion of Eichmannism and the bureaucracy as presented by Milgram. As I will demonstrate, the elevation of a greater good in a society helps to create attitudes of superfluousness toward some humans. Bureaucratized Indifference: Technology, Superfluousness, and Eichmannism For Arendt, the Holocaust represented a change in our traditional ways of thinking. Old words and theories were no longer suitable to provide explanations for what had unfolded during the Holocaust. Arendt found that the uniqueness of the Holocaust was that it was largely a massacre carried out by generally well-intentioned and ordinary Germans (1994, p. 288). Despite this, and the often used excuse of "following orders," Arendt found that this in no way excused the Nazis and Eichmann for what they had done; she concludes in Eichmann in Jerusalem declaring that these individuals were still deserving of punishment and that Eichmann certainly deserved to be hanged. However, this "administration massacre," or perhaps we could call it a "bureaucratized massacre," is a fundamental aspect to understanding the Eichmann metaphor and Eichmannism more generally. The existence of 55

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bureaucratization allows for significant distance to exist between the individual who gives the orders, the individual who performs the act, and the individual who suffers the consequences. As we will explore next, the Holocaust was marked by an entirely new way of inflicting human suffering. It is essential that I first explore what a bureaucracy is and some of the effects that a bureaucracy can have on the individual. Media ecologist Neil Postman (1992) defines bureaucracy as a "coordinated series of techniques for deducting the amount of information that requires processing" and that a bureaucracy "ignores all information and ideas that do not contribute to efficiency" (pp. 84-85). This is similar to what is commonly taught in business classrooms, portraying profit and efficiency as being the number one consideration for a successful businessperson. In an age of globalized technology and instant communication we are taught, first and foremost, to be efficient workers, emphasizing speed, time, and, most of all, profit. However, Postman (1992) suggests there is a danger in this way of thinking: [T]his makes bureaucracies exceedingly dangerous, because, though they were originally designed to process only technical information, they now are commonly employed to address problems of a moral, social, and political nature. The bureaucracy of the nineteenth century was largely concerned with making transportation, industry, and the distribution of goods more efficient. Technopoly's bureaucracy has broken loose from such restrictions and now claims sovereignty over all of society's affairs. (p. 86) In this way, certain human lives can come to be considered superfluous. For example, a government or corporation that chooses to commodify resources, such as water, at the risk of individuals living in poverty losing access to clean water, is considering some lives to be disposable. This is considered to be part of the process of efficiency, these thinking patterns 56

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are enforced by a bureaucracy which is focused on profit. By ignoring these consequences we are, in effect, behaving like Eichmann. For example, we know the probable effects of denying an individual health care, yet we push these thoughts from our mind in order to make money and to perform a job. In the same way, these corporations are often aware of the consequences, yet they chose to ignore it. Postman observes: The word "bureaucrat" has come to mean a person who by training, commitment, and even temperament is indifferent to both the content and the totality of a human problem. The bureaucrat considers the implications of a decision only to the extent that the decision will affect the efficient operations of the bureaucracy, and takes no responsibility for its human consequences. Thus, Adolf Eichmann becomes the basic model and metaphor for a bureaucrat in the age of Technopoly. (pp. 86-87) He continues: Eichmann's answer is probably given five thousand times a day in America alone: I have no responsibility for the human consequences of my decisions. I am only responsible for the efficiency of my part of the bureaucracy, which must be maintained at all costs. (p. 87) Postman acknowledges that, although this is true, the consequences of these actions are typically not as extreme as the consequences of Eichmann's actions during the Holocaust. By "technopoly" Postman means a society where "the primary if not the only, goal of human labor and thought is efficiency; that technical calculation is in all respects superior to human judgment; [] that what cannot be measured either does not exist or is of no value; and that the affairs of citizens are best guided and conducted by experts" (p. 10). We must acknowledge that the conditions that a bureaucracy helps to produce are those that have the potential to allow for Eichmannism to occur; the possibility for mass human suffering is found in the very systems that shape and guide us to treat some humans as disposable. 57

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Political scientists Michael Roskin, Robert Cord, James Medeiros, and Walter Jones (2011) define bureaucracy as "any large organization of appointed officials who implement laws and policies" typically operating "under rules and procedures with a chain of command or hierarchy of authority" (p. 265). Further, without bureaucracy there is no government and that a "[b]ureaucracy comes automatically with any large organization, public or private" including the military (pp. 265-266). It is defined by its ability to be efficient, profitable, and productive (p. 271). Similar to Postman, Roskin, Cord, Medeiros, and Jones also identify some of the problems that arise in a bureaucracy. They write: At its worst, bureaucracy can show signs of "Eichmannism" named after the Nazi official who organized the death trains for Europe's Jews and after told his Israeli judges that he was just doing his job. Nazi bureaucracy treated people like things, a problem not limited to Germany. (p. 271) Another common characteristic of a bureaucracy is the attitude of indifference toward the consequences that affect others. Expanding on this notion, Henry Feingold (1980) writes: Bureaucrats are not supposed to think or feel. If they did, whether it is the administration of a mass murder program or one to help the poor, would not get done. They objectify, think in terms of the larger system, are concerned about programs, not people. (p. 50) Humans, like objects to be traded and arranged, are snuggly fit into a cost-benefit equation, they begin to become less than human as technical terms like "collateral damage" take the place of naming the human life extinguished. This indifference, also mentioned by Postman, becomes written into the personality and the prerequisites necessary to receive the career of a bureaucrat. An individual in this position must learn to think in a certain way, and that is not in the terms of human suffering or cost of lives, but in terms of profit and efficiency. Fromm (1994) observes: "Today, something fundamentally different is occurring. Evil no longer 58

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exists in contrast to good; rather, there is a new inhumanity: indifference" (p. 27). The question then becomes: Has the bureaucracy helped in creating technologies that reduce our capacity to identify those we harm from a distance as being human, and in effect creating an indifference to suffering? Susan Sontag (2003) observes that emotional indifference toward human suffering can manifest with distance. She writes: The war is waged as much as possible at a distance, through bombing, whose targets can be chosen, on the basis of instantly relayed information and visualizing technology, from continents away: the daily bombing operations in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002 were directed from U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. (p. 67) Further problematic is that what is seen by American viewers is often staged, oftentimes the tragedies that occur abroad are considered too violent or would influence unpatriotic attitudes, thus unfit for Americans to view. Sontag argues that the use of restrictions for what American viewers are allowed to see is often limited by the agenda of creating patriotism. Sontag goes on to suggest that "the American military promoted images that illustrated America's absolute military superiority over its enemy" (p. 66). Moreover, that the effects of this were largely censored: American television viewers weren't allowed to see footage acquired by NBC (which the network then declined to run) of what [American] superiority could wreak: the fate of thousands of Iraqi conscripts who, having fled Kuwait City at the end of the war, on February 27, were carpet bombed with explosives, napalm, radioactive DU (depleted uranium) rounds, and cluster bombs as they headed north, in convoys and on foot, on the road to Basra, Iraqa slaughter notoriously described by one American officer as a "turkey shoot." (p. 66) When coupled with the increasing "thoughtlessness" and anti-intellectualism in our culture, it becomes difficult for us to determine what is real and what is not. The image of ourselves, 59

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our identity as Americans, is constructed by the information that we chose to engage with, such as the books, television, or the news programs that we choose to watch. We come to envision terrible atrocities that occur as being done by the other, the other who typically resides in a third-world or "savage" country, moreover, all these are manifestations rooted in imperialistic attitudes (p. 71). Sontag observes: [S]uch atrocities [are] not as the acts of "barbarians" but as the reelection of a belief system, racism, that by defining one people as less than human than another legitimates torture and murder. But maybe they were barbarians. Maybe this is what most barbarians look like. (They look like everybody else). (p. 92) As Merton (1980) similarly argues, so long as we have the ideologies and the ability to create the illusion of certain people to be less than human: As long as this principle is easily available, as long as it is taken for granted, as long as it can spread out on the front page at a moment's notice and accepted by all, we have no need of monsters: ordinary policemen and good citizens will take care of everything. (p. 159) We have seen in history that the convincing rhetoric of less-than-human has allowed for some of the most atrocious acts to be carried out by ordinary individuals. As Sontag observes, even in US history during the lynching of African Americans, families would gather for picnics to watch the hangings. The image of suffering, and the act of evil, becomes bearable, even commonplace and acceptable, so long as it is done to someone who is considered sub-human, not us. Another important question that comes to the forefront from this discussion is that of what lives are sometimes considered superfluous. There are many examples of a disregardable or indifferent attitude toward the suffering of certain people. Judith Butler (2004) argues 60

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that in terms of the reaction of the US to 9/11, we are justifying slaughtering people for slaughtering people (p. 13). She writes: Those who remain faceless or whose faces are presented to us as so many symbols of evil, authorize us to become senseless before those lives we have eradicated, and whose grievability is indefinitely postponed. Certain faces must be admitted into public view, must be seen and heard for some keener sense of the value of life, all life, to take hold. (p. xviii) Similarly, the actions of Eichmann were largely an act of indifference, guided by his refusal to think about the human face connected to what the consequences of his actions were entailing. Stanley Milgram (1974) contributes to this conversation by providing an insight to Eichmann's mentality as a bureaucratic functionary: Even Eichmann was sickened when he toured the concentration camps, but to participate in mass murder he had only to sit at a desk and shuffle papers. At the same time the man in the camp who actually dropped Cyclon-B into the gas chambers was able to justify his behavior on the grounds that he was only following orders from above. Thus, there is a fragmentation of the total human act; no one man decides to carry out the evil act and is confronted with its consequences. The person who assumes full responsibility for the act has evaporated. Perhaps this is the most common characteristic of socially organized evil in modern society. (p. 11) The Jewish people, through years of propaganda and embedded prejudices, came to be viewed as a disposable people, that their lives mattered less than others. In the same way, some are treating the current influx of millions of refugees coming from Syria as if they were faceless and disposable. They instead are assigned the identity of "refugee" and the many problematic stereotypical images that comes with this word. One might argue that the US officials' refusal to help much in this situation, which was arguably largely created by the actions of the US war in Afghanistan and Iraq, due to the often citied "difficulties of the bureaucracy," is an Eichmannesque act in itself (Harris, Sanger, and Herszenhorn, 2015). 61

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Bearing similarities to the refusal of the US to let in Jewish persons seeking refuge in during the Third Reich, as discussed in Chapter Two, Butler suggests: Some lives are grievable, and others are not; the differential allocation of grievability that decides what kind of subject is and must be grieved, and which kind of subject must not, operates to produce and maintain certain exclusionary conceptions of who is normatively human: what counts as livable life and a grievable death? (p. xv) Similarly, sociologist Sam Keen (1991) argues that the nature of modern warfare has changed, due to this indifference which has become a requirement of the modern soldier. Keen suggests that, historically, war was considerably more humane. In many cases, European wars used to encompass viewing your opponent as equal and worthy of a good battle, with this fight came honor, respect, and chivalry. In opposition, modern warfare has created a "detached" quality toward the perceived enemy. Instead of battling a worthy foe, we aim to eliminate entire races of rhetorically created disposable people, often that are not even visible or near us. Keen writes: Like a unit in a society governed by mass production, the solider has been reduced to standardized functionary. He is a part of a well-oiled war machine, and his highest virtue is to function efficiently, which involves obeying the orders of his superiors. And the enemy is merely an impediment, an obstacle to be removed. (p. 83) A soldier's top priority in the military is to accumulate the highest possible number of kills, such as in Vietnam, where "body counts" were reported daily as a goal to work toward and as a defining factor for military success. Keen (1991) goes on to argue that it is important to understand the processes and tactics of dehumanization and the dangers of technology in a bureaucracy. He observes that we cannot see our "enemy" close-up; rather, we see them as an "abstraction," far below the 62

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airplanes or drones, and thus, we are less likely to identify with them as human. "So long as we want to kill from a distance with clean hands, we must refrain from imagining the consequences of our weapons, and must completely eliminate any awareness of the enemy as human" (p. 87). Keen suggests that our "language of warfare" is intended to direct individuals thinking into dimensions not associated with attributing a face to human suffering, particularly visible in the usage of terms like "collateral damage" in reference to human life. He further suggests that language of this nature is deserving of the "Adolf Eichmann Memorial Prize" (p. 87). Similarly, Steven B. Katz (1992) suggests that the rhetoric used during the Holocaust emphasized efficiency, thereby reducing individuals who were being exterminated to mere numbers and objects through the rhetoric used in technical writing. For Katz's argument he references a note written during the Third Reich by a bureaucrat. The note is written in an objective manner, requesting the need for more efficient methods to be implemented into the extermination processes, pre-extermination camps. The language used in this note excludes the use of any words that identify the mass killing of humans, rather words such as "load" and "pieces" are used to describe the people being killed. A quote from this note will help to illustrate this: The lighting must better be protected than now. The lamps must be enclosed in a steel grid to prevent their being damaged. Lights could be eliminated, since they apparently are never used. However, it has been observed that when the doors are shut, the load always pressed hard against them as soon as darkness sets in. This is because the load naturally rushes toward the light when darkness sets in, which makes closing the doors difficult. Also, because of the alarming nature of darkness, screaming always occurs when the doors are closed. It would therefore be useful to light the lamp before and during the moments of operation. (p. 256) ! 63

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The technical and objective rhetoric used during the Third Reich, Katz argues, is comparable to the profit geared rhetoric in our capitalist Western society today. He suggests, "In the United States, success and happiness, both personal and communal, are measured in monetary terms. In a capitalistic culture, it is economic expediency' that drives most behavior" (p. 270). In Katz's closing thoughts, he highlights many of the problematic qualities that come out of this objective and technical rhetoric, he writes: For in an age when it is sometimes considered "economically rational" to accept high insurance costs on plane crashes rather than improve the safety of planes; when Ford Motor company decided that it would be more cost-effective to incur the law suits (and loss of life) caused by the placement of the gas tank on the Pintos rather than fix the problem, and only changed its mind when an equally expedient solution was found; [] when launch dates are more important than the safety of astronauts and production quotas more important than the safety of of workers and residents alike; when expediency outweighs compassion in government and cost/benefit analyses are applied to human welfare and technical considerations in almost every field of endeavor even in the social sciences and humanities []the holocaust may have something to teach those of us in technical communication, composition, and rhetoric. (pp. 272-273) Indeed, it may have something to teach us all. The long sentence above, I would argue, is an exemplary representation of the "thoughtlessness" that manifests in us everyday as we go to work to do our jobs; or the "thoughtlessness" that characterized Eichmann as he expertly performed his job of arranging train schedules while pushing the human consequences from his mind. Moreover, the banality of these everyday acts in comparison to the life and death consequences that may result should not be overlooked. By ignoring the consequences and using the justification of our jobs or an ideology as a greater good, trumping human dignity and human life, is to place entire groups of people into the category of disposability and 64

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superfluousness. Unfortunately, this category is typically made up of those already in the bottom rungs of society. If we look at capitalism today we come to see a system that expends human life for the good of the few. In specific, the Western economic policy of neoliberalism, implemented in the 1970s during the Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher administrations, bears witness to a system that functions for the betterment of the few, over the extreme impoverishment of the many. As Erich Fromm (1994) states: "the rich nations grow richer and the poor nations poorer and [] no serious effort is being made to change this trend" (p. 48). Furthermore, Katz (1992) writes: In any highly bureaucratic, technological, capitalistic society, it is often the human being who must adapt to the system which has been developed to perform a specific function, and which is thus always necessarily geared toward the continuation of its own efficient operation. In a capitalistic society, technological expediency often takes precedence over human convenience, and sometimes even human life. (p. 271). Furthermore, if we consider the alienation that manifests in individuals living in a capitalist society, due to the separation of one's labor and the product that one produces, we end up becoming not only alienated individuals, but individuals that are influenced deeply by ideologies and are actively seeking these ideologies. Fromm (1981/2010) writes: "Eichmann is a symbol of the organized man, of the alienated bureaucrat for whom men, women and children have become numbers" (p. 23). Similarly, Lewis Mumford (1974) argues: Ultimately, Organizational Man has no reason for existence except as a depersonalized servo-mechanism in the megamachine. On those terms Adolf Eichmann, the obedient exterminator, who carried out Hitler's policy and Himmler's orders with unswerving fidelity, should be hailed as the "Hero of Our Time." But unfortunately our time has produced many such heroes who have been willing to do at a safe distance, with napalm or atom bombs, by a mere press of 65

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the release button, what the exterminators at Belsen and Auschwitz did by oldfashioned handicraft methods. [] In every country there are now countless Eichmanns in administrative offices, in business corporations, in universities, in laboratories, in the armed forces: orderly obedient people, ready to carry out any officially sanctioned fantasy, however dehumanized and debased. (p. 279) Although Arendt did not intend for her concept of the "banality of evil" to be used in a commonplace sense, I am arguing that these obedient and thoughtlessly made decisions, that lead to great suffering, have become commonplace in the nature of the modern bureaucracy and in capitalism. Finally, Fromm (1994) observes that: In the midst of this plenty, industrial bureaucratic society is a society of anxious and frightened men, men indeed so frightened about their possibilities of success or failure that they might be too frightened in those aspects of their personal life to be frightened about the possibility of total destruction by nuclear war. Eventually, man in the most developed industrial societies becomes more and more enamored of technical gadgets, rather than of living beings and processes of life. [] The result is that man becomes indifferent to life and is even more proud of having invented missiles and nuclear weapons than he is abhorrent of them and saddened by contemplating the destruction of all life. (p. 36) In our culture today we seem more concerned with the latest "technical gadget" than with the suffering of others. For example, many seem largely indifferent to the current massive influx of refugees or the unrecorded loss of Iraqi lives in the longest war in American history, less concerned that is than when a new gadget is released into the marketplace where long lines appear outside of stores in order to be the first to obtain the newest trend. Next, I would like to discuss three specific examples, organized by theme, of this bureaucratic mentality of superfluousness toward humanity or the environment that pervades our society, as it correlates with the usage of the Eichmann metaphor. ! 66

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Eric Garner and the Police Spokesperson On July 17, 2014, an African American man was stopped by a police officer in New York City for allegedly selling "loose," non-taxed cigarettes. Garner denied to the police officer he was illegally selling cigarettes. When the officer attempted to arrest him, Garner "swatted his arms away." The officer then put Garner in a chokehold, deemed illegal for use by the police force. Garner was then forced to the ground, facedown, at which point he began telling the officer repeatedly that he could not breath. An ambulance was later called; during the wait no one moved forward to provide Garner with CPR as he lay on the sidewalk. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Conrad Black (2014) describes the response of a police spokesperson who gave an interview about the incident as being "full of evasion and Eichmannesque references to the rules and orders." Another example of this Eichmannesque response toward suffering is a more recent incident, involving a white police officer who pulled over an African American woman, named Sandra Bland, in July 2015. Bland was stopped for allegedly failing to use her signal as she switched lanes. After being asked by the officer why she seemed agitated, she expressed frustration with being pulled over by the officer. He then told her to put out her cigarette, when Bland refused, the officer told her he would "light her up" with his taser unless she complied by getting out of the car. The remainder of the incident is out of the view of the camera. Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis made a statement concerning the incident in which he refers to Bland as "very combative," and when a reporter asked for clarification on this statement Mathis said that "it was not a model traffic stop or/and it was 67

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not a model person that was stopped []" (Sandra, 2015). Bland was in jail with a $5,000 bond, when she committed suicide on the third day. It is not clear precisely why Bland would be considered "not a model person," nor why it was not a "model" traffic stop, insofar as any other person might also have reacted with annoyance upon being pulled over for not using their signal to change lanes. However, the point of this section is not to discuss the actions of the individual police officers, but to discuss the excusatory nature of the police spokespersons in explaining away the actions of a police officer who had used excessive and unnecessary force resulting in the loss of the life of an individual. By explaining these acts away, the police spokespersons are justifying the deaths. Their deaths are perceived to be less important. Merton (1980) likens the disproportionate attacks on African Americans in relation to the prison system in the US to being "taken off to concentration camps" and the US "ghettos" a place where African Americans can "easily be destroyed or arrested" (pp. 246-247). The popular hashtag and slogan "Black Lives Matter" is a way to bring attention to these issues and to signify to others to stop and think about this inconsistency in reactions toward the deaths of certain individuals when compared to others. BP and the Oil Spill On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank off the Gulf of Mexico, near the coast of Louisiana. Underneath the surface of the water, it was discovered that an oil pipe had burst. Before it could be properly stopped, over the course of 87 days, approximately 3.19 million barrels of oil and gas were released into the ocean (Gulf, 2010). This accident damaged ecosystems, affected wildlife, and sea-animals; the effects of which 68

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will be felt for several generations in the Gulf of Mexico. Although numbers vary, it has been estimated that up to 82,000 birds, 6,000 sea turtles, 25,900 marine mammals, and many people living on the Southern coast of the US have been negatively impacted by the spill (Gulf, 2010). Journalist Chris Hedges (2013) called the reactions of the top officials at BP, the company who owned the rig that exploded, in specific Tony Hayward, to comparable to being Eichmannesque. He specifically references Ward Churchill's use of the metaphor, which we will discuss in more detail in the following chapter. Hedges writes: Those who carry out this global genocidemen like BP's chief executive Tony Hayward, who, during the Gulf oil crisis, when millions of gallons of oil leaked from a distressed well, polluting the Gulf, assured us that "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume"are, to steal a line from Ward Churchill, "little Eichmanns." (p. 100) He goes on to suggest that: The corporations, and those who run them, consume, pollute, oppress, and kill. The little Eichmanns who manage them reside in a parallel universe of staggering wealth, luxury, and splendid isolation that rivals that of the closed court of Versailles. The elite, sheltered and enriched, continue to prosper even as the rest of us and the natural world start to die. They are numb. They will drain the last drop of profit from us until there is nothing left. (p. 101) This is reminiscent of Eichmann in his deeds during the Third Reich. Recall, his obedience, his inability, even during the court trials, to express empathy for what he did or compassion to those millions of individuals whose lives he drastically affected, instead he felt proud to having done his deeds so wellgoing above and beyond what was required of him. Furthermore, the notion of the greater good, that Eichmann felt, can be any number of factors that an individual determines to be most important to them. For Eichmann it was his 69

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contribution to the efficiency of Hitler's "Final Solution," his perceived duty to the state of Germany and his career at the cost of millions of people's lives. For the employees at BPor many other corporations that justify destroying the natural environment by emitting extreme amounts of pollutionthe greater good is undeniably profit and furthering their careers at the expense of the environment. The bureaucracy prevails and our superfluous attitude toward human life, animal life, and our environment spreads to encompass not just the individuals that are living far from our direct senses, but even the individuals who cannot finds homes in our own cities streets. Next, I will discuss the banal reaction of the public to My Lai 4 and the village of Ben Suc, in which the Eichmann metaphor is used by Noam Chomsky. The Banal Reaction to Suffering: My Lai 4 and Ben Suc On March 16, 1968 in the Quang Ngai Province in South Vietnam the United States Army troop known as Charlie Company entered the village of My Lai 4. Charlie Company was informed that Vietcong forces would be occupying the city and to expect a battle. However, the troop quickly discovered that the village was occupied only by civilians. The troop, led by Lt. William Calley, Jr., whose superior was "Mad Dog" Earnest Medina, proceeded to systematically kill and rape between 450-500 civilians, annihilating most of the village, which had a population of around 700, including killing the livestock, burning homes, and slaughtering nearly all the civilians within a few hours. The small village of Ben Suc was another small, prosperous farming community in Vietnam. On January 8, 1967, similar to the instructions given the troop at My Lai 4, the American forces were told to bulldoze the village of farmers and their families (Chomsky, 1969/2002, p. 277). Despite many different angles that could be used to approach the tragic and problematic nature of 70

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both these events, I would only like to discuss the public reaction toward My Lai 4 and the village of Ben Suc and, subsequently, how this relates to the Eichmann metaphor. Noam Chomsky (1969/2002) argues that the public reaction toward the destruction of the village of Ben Suc "testif[ies] to a kind of creeping Eichmannism" (p. 277). Chomsky comes to this conclusion by exploring a number of individuals who wrote book reviews of Johnathan Schell's book, The Village of Ben Suc, in newspapers such as the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor These reviewers failed to criticize the actions of the soldiers in devastating the livelihood of the individuals who lived in village of Ben Suc. According to Chomsky, one individual suggests it would be a good experience to learn from, in order to do an operation of similar caliber, more efficiently in the future (p. 277). Chomsky observes: "One can hardly decide which is more scandalous, the events themselves or the muted response" (p. 277). Similarly, Seymour Hersh (1970) suggests that after the public found out about the massacre at My Lai 4 there were mixed reactions. Many individuals took the position that it was simply something that occasionally happens during a war, others thought that it was an "isolated occurrence," still others suggested that the Vietnamese people deserved it (pp. 153-155). Many claimed they thought it was a false story, with fake photographs, concocted by those supporting the Vietcong side (p. 151). However, a great many of these reactions also "testify to a kind of creeping Eichmannism." It is a disturbing banality toward the suffering of individuals that are considered to be "the other." If these were events had occurred on American soil, a bulldozing of a town, a slaughter of American elderly men, women, and children these same individuals would be in an uproar. This is reminiscent of Sontag's discussion concerning our unwillingness to see ourselves on equal 71

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footing or our lives as being equally important as those in other countries. Sontag (2003) writes: "The more remote or exotic the place, the more likely we are to have full frontal views of the dead and dying" and that "[t]he ubiquity of those photographs, and those horrors, cannot help but nourish belief in the inevitability of tragedy in the benighted or backwardthat is, poorparts of the world" (pp. 70-71). The reason I included two examples of this banality toward the suffering of "others" is that this reaction was not isolated toward the village of Ben Suc; My Lai 4, which occurred around the same time, also demonstrated this "creeping Eichmannism." Next, I will discuss a famous social experiment that demonstrates the problem of obedience and "thoughtlessness" when directed by an authority figure to inflict suffering on another. "The Eichmann Experiment:" Obedience and the Problem of Authority One of the most well-known obedience experiments is Stanley Milgram's study on obedience that took place in the Department of Psychology at Yale University between the years of 1960 to 1963 and subsequently published in a book entitled Obedience to Authority (1974). One reason this study it is useful for my purposes is because Milgram references Eichmann a number of times throughout his text, as comparison to some of the actions of the individuals participating in the experiment and as guidance to the initial formulation of the experiment. In one instance he writes that a psychologist referred to Milgram's obedience study as "the Eichmann experiment,'" for he saw in the subjects' situation something akin to the position occupied by the infamous Nazi bureaucrat who, in the course of carrying out his job,' contributed to the destruction of millions of human beings" (1974, p. 178). Although 72

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Milgram stresses that the broad applicability of his experiment should not be limited by this connection. Milgram (1974) concludes that after conducting these experiments Arendt's conceptualization of Eichmann "comes closer to the truth than one might dare imagine" (p. 6). Milgram's experiment demonstrates that these individuals, like Eichmann, felt an "obligation" to their duties and the perceived contract made with the authority figure, rather than having particularly sadistic or "aggressive tendencies" (p. 6). Milgram suggests that "the most fundamental lesson of our study: ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process" and that even when people realize the actions being asked of them were not typically acceptable to their personal standards of morality in everyday life "relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority" particularly in a setting that encourages obedient behavior as a conventional norm (p. 6). I will discuss the results in more detail after I explore the structure, context, and individual reactions to the experiment. The experiment would consist of one individual designated to be the teacher, one to be the learner, and one to guide the experiment. The gist of the study told to the subject is this: It is an experiment to understand the effects of punishment on learning. In reality, the experiment was intended to provide some answers to the role of an ordinary individual when confronted with a perceived legitimate authority figure telling them to inflict punishment or suffering on another individual. The experiment was set up to be simple and a relatively straightforward process, in order to achieve the most easily interpretable results, and in order to be able to change variables of the experiment for later variations of the studies. 73

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The learner was set down at a shock generator machine that indicated on the panel a variety of shock levels, from 15, the lowest, to 450, the highest (Milgram, 1974, p. 20). The goal, for Milgram, was to see at what point ordinary individuals (i.e., the "teachers") would break with authority and end the experiment when being pressed to harm another individual. The authority figure was instructed to given a scripted series of remarks to guide the teacher, such as "The experiment requires that you continue"; "You have no other choice, you must go on"; or "It is absolutely necessary that you continue" (p. 21). The response from the learner (the actor) of being shocked were originally none; however, due to "virtually every subject" overwhelmingly continuing to shock the learner all the way to 450-volts, the victim was also given a script of protests, ranging from grunts to vehement screams to be let out (p. 22). To even further evoke the sympathy chords of the subject, the victim was to verbally describe a heart condition to the experimenter in hearing range of the subject. The results, Milgram suggests, are for the most part equivalent with other versions of this experiment that have been performed around the world, however, the results are still somewhat surprising. Initially, the experiment consisted of a group of Yale undergraduates who demonstrated a high 85 percent obedience, however, Milgram decided to instead gather a more realistic representation of subjects from the general population in New Haven, Connecticut. Participants in the study had various backgrounds, from white collar, to blue collar, to unemployed. Some highly educated, some not, and a variety of ages groups were included. The only consistent variable, in the first study, was that all the participants were male. Later studies included females, with no significant change in results. 74

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Before Milgram began the experiments he asked a group of individuals who attended a lecture concerning obedience to respond with their opinion to what an experiment of this nature would reveal. The individuals all responded that they "see himself disobeying the experimenter at some point in the command series" (1974, p. 28). Milgram suggests that a variety of other individuals were also posed the same question. He writes: "They predict that virtually all subjects will refuse to obey the experimenter; only a pathological fringe, not exceeding one or two per cent, was expected to proceed to the end of the shockboard" and that "about one subject in a thousands would administer the highest shock on the board" (p. 31). This way of thinking is consistent with the usual way we visualize people who inflict suffering on others. We would like to think our fellow humans are humane and would not unnecessarily inflict harm on another. We assign the ones who do inflict harm on others, such as at Abu Ghraib, My Lai 4, or Eichmann as being the outsiders to the norm, they are pegged as the monstrous few. However, as the results of Milgram's experiment indicate this is not the case. Milgram observes that in the original study "[o]f the 40 subjects, 26 obeyed the orders of the experimenter to the end" (p. 33). The significance of the extraordinary statement, that 26 out of 40 participants went all the way to the end of the experiment, is something that should not be glossed over. In this experiment going all the way "to the end" entailed shocking the victim, not only until the victim was no longer responding, but to continue to shock the victim even though no audible response was coming from the victim. In essence, the majority of these subjects were willing to follow the directions of an authority figure telling them to inflict suffering on another to the point that, for as far as the subjects knew, the victim could have been dead. Those who 75

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went all the way to the end of the experiment certainly would not fall into the category of the insane, demented, or lunatic fringealthough a few certainly may havebut, for the most part, they would fall into the category of ordinary. I would like to briefly discuss one individual who went all the way to the end of the experiment, in order to better understand the question of "little Eichmanns" in our society today. The example I would like to expand on is of the social worker Morris Braverman. Throughout the experiment, Braverman laughs with increasing gusto at the screams and protests, verbalized by the victim, for the experiment to come to an end. Braverman later describes his laughter as being due to the stress and "impossibility" of the scenario in which he "couldn't try to help" the victim (Milgram, 1974, p. 54). In a questionnaire that Milgram sent out to all the participants a year after the experiment, Braverman responds: "As my wife said, You can call yourself Eichmann'" (p. 54). In some respect, to understand the reactions of the individuals who participated in the experiment it is necessary to look at the system in which these individuals reside. Milgram (1974) suggests that, in the modern bureaucratic system, individuals are placed at a distance from whom they are inflicting suffering upon and that this distance matters. The subjects in this experiment were more likely to be obedient to authority, in fact they would demonstrate nearly 100 percent obedience, when they could not see the victim or hear his screams. Milgram explains: Any competent manager of a destructive bureaucratic system can arrange his personnel so that only the most callous and obtuse are directly involved in violence. The greater part of the personnel can consist of men and women who, by virtue of their distance from the actual acts of brutality, will feel little strain in their performance of supportive functions. They will feel doubly absolved from 76

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responsibility. First, legitimate authority has given full warrant for their actions. Second, they have not themselves committed brutal physical acts. (p. 122) The mudding of responsibility is an important factor in Eichmannesque behavior. In a bureaucracy workers have little responsibility for his or her decisions, they are guided by a higher authority. This makes committing an act that we may not commit in everyday life, more plausible. Like Eichmann, who never murdered or physically hurt anyone in his daily interactions, who was considered a devoted husband, father, and maybe even active community member, was still able to be contribute to the death of millions because of his "sheer thoughtlessness." Further contributing to this was his use of meaningless justifications and bureaucratic jargon to explain his work, duty, and obedience to a higher authority and greater good. As Milgram observes, the lesson to be learned from this experiment is broader than simply understanding the actions of ordinary Germans in Nazi Germany, or even in attempting to understand the obedience of Eichmann or the other Nazis who also cited obedience to authority as a defense during the Nuremberg trials. Milgram (1974) posits that "the problem is not authoritarianism' as a mode of political organization or a set of psychologic attitudes, but authority itself. Authoritarianism may give way to democratic practice, but authority itself cannot be eliminated as long as society is to continue in the form we know" (p. 179). Moreover, that "when man merges his person into an organization structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of the individual morality, freed of humane inhibition, mindful only of the sanctions of authority" (p. 188). Further, Milgram argues that: 77

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the kind of character produced in American democratic society, cannot be counted on to insulate its citizens from brutality and inhumane treatment at the direction of malevolent authority. A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate source. (pp. 188-189) Similar to my above discussion concerning the bureaucratization of Eichmannism, Milgram writes that "we find a set of people carrying out their jobs and dominated by an administrative, rather than a moral outlook," and that "[i]ndividual values of loyalty, duty, and discipline take precedent over human lives (p. 186). This is particularly true in a capitalist democratic society, like our own, that puts great emphasis on individualism. Finally, Neil Postman (1992) appropriately concludes: "For myself, I feel quite sure that if each of Milgram's subjects had been required to read Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem before showing up at the laboratory, his numbers would have been quite different" (p. 152). Conclusion In this chapter I developed a discussion concerning the bureaucratization of Eichmannism. First, I broke down the nature of a bureaucracy and the effect of the bureaucracy on the individual. I explored how distance and rhetoric affects our perception of the "enemy" and the consequences that technology has on viewing each other as equal humans, instead of disposable, displaceable, or superfluous. Next, I looked at the banality of the reactions to suffering in terms of Eichmannism. I used three examples where the Eichmann metaphor had been used: the police spokespersons, the BP oil spill executive, and the public reaction toward the destruction and massacres of the villages of Ben Suc and My 78

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Lai 4. Finally, I explored Milgram's "Obedience to Authority" experiment and analyzed the importance of this today. In the next chapter, I will discuss the tremendous controversy that erupted surrounding Ward Churchill's usage of the Eichmann metaphor in order to help the reader to better understand further usages of the Eichmann metaphor and the significance of being able to think critically today. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 79

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CHAPTER IV THE WARD CHURCHILL CONTROVERSY Introduction Ward Churchill was a professor of Ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder when he wrote an essay comparing some of the individuals who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11 to being "little Eichmanns" (Churchill, 2003, p. 19). A nationwide controversy erupted; first, around the comments that Churchill made, then around Churchill as an individual, resulting in an investigation into his research practices leading to his dismissal from the University of Colorado. The tremendous upheaval and outrage that surfaced surrounding Churchill's usage of the Eichmann metaphor is worth looking at in depth considering it has parallels with the controversy that Arendt experienced. Thus, the aim of this chapter is to explore the controversy surrounding Churchill after his essay became controversial. In particular, I would like to answer a number of important questions, such as: Why did Churchill's essay spark such a controversy? Was Churchill's narrative legitimate? In other words, should the media have considered it as a possible alternate narrative to understanding the events of 9/11? In this chapter I will first provide a detailed analysis of Churchill's argument, including his ideas that were expanded upon in a subsequent book, in order to fully understand Churchill's perspective. The point that Churchill was making was not that the men and women who died during the attacks were "deserving" of it. Rather, he was aiming to provide a deeper understanding of the events that occurred on 9/11 as not being "warrantless." Second, I will look at the controversy that erupted around his comments, a few 80

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years after he wrote the essay. Moreover, I will look at how the conversation changed from one about his comment, comparing some of the victims in the World Trade Center and Pentagon to being "little Eichmanns," to whether Churchill's Native American heritage was genuine and whether he had engaged in "academic misconduct." Third, I will explore the social climate in the aftermath of 9/11. I will use the concept of "moral panic" as a way to help bring to light the attitude that existed, post 9/11, in the US. For example, the public was led to believe that another attack of similar or greater caliber as 9/11 could occur at any moment. Terror alert levels were used, sometimes increasing, sometimes decreasing. It was based on color to indicate the severity of the level of threat; however, it largely left the population confused and fearful. Psychologist Philip Zimbardo (2007) writes of this: A different method of fear mongering can be seen in the politicization of the terror alarm (color code) warning system by the Bush administration's Department of Homeland Security. [] In the end, broadcasting the color-coded threat levels was less a valid warning system than the government's costly way of ensuring and sustaining the nation's fear of terroristsin the absence of any terror attacks. (p. 432) Furthermore, he argues "fear stops people from thinking rationally" (p. 432). On top of this, an extremely heightened level of nationalism manifested. Anyone who was not displaying patriotic behavior was considered suspect of being a terrorist, aiding a terrorist, or supporting their ideology. Analyzing this climate will help to demonstrate why Churchill was demonized by the media and public. I will also discuss the rhetoric used by the Bush administration to explain the events of 9/11 as terrorist acts committed by evil monsters. This narrative of innocence about the victims was used to prevent any analysis concerning the possible systemic reasons behind why 9/11 occurred, to say otherwise displayed unpatriotic and 81

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suspect behavior. This is important to understand in order to visualize why Churchill's counter-narrative was ignored by the media and public. Finally, I will address this chapter's importance. The primarily reason for dedicating an entire chapter to the Churchill controversy is two-fold. First, because this is an excellent example of the Eichmann metaphor. It also fits nicely into the previous chapter concerning the bureaucratization of Eichmannism. Second, because of the large-scale controversy that erupted around this particular use of the Eichmann metaphor, bearing similarities to Arendt's own experience with controversy. More importantly, it provides a disturbing example of the retaliation and anger that can manifest in a society when expressing an unpopular dissenting view, despite the First Amendment. Ward Churchill on "Roosting Chickens" Churchill was a professor and chair of the Ethnic Studies department at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1990 to 2007, gaining tenure in 1991. During his time at CU he had established himself as a well-known critic of American culture and imperialism, in particular focusing his academic writings on Native American issues, racism, genocide, and social justice. However, the day after 9/11, when the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a field were struck by planes, Churchill wrote an essay, followed by a book two years later, that became a national controversy. In this essay, Churchill (2001) posits that the events that occurred on 9/11 were not random, unprovoked, first-strike attacks; rather, the terrorists were "chickens coming home to roost." Essentially, this statement is specifically in reference to the "terrorists" on board the airplanes that crashed into the twin towers and the Pentagon as "pushing back" against 82

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the actions and policies of the United States government in the Middle East. However, this phrase was derived from Malcolm X who used the phrase "chickens coming home to roost" in reference to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the "climate of hate" that existed during this time period, of which, Churchill provides the appropriate attribution at the beginning of his essay. It should be noted that Arendt also uses the phrase chickens coming "home to roost" in reference to the Vietnam war and Watergate scandal (Arendt, 1970, p. 28; Arendt, 1975, pp. 3-6). The phrase "chickens coming home to roost" has a two-fold meaning. First, that when people are pushedoppressed, brutalized, etc.eventually people will "push back," as Churchill primarily intended his usage of the phrase to mean. Second, due to the nature of our overseas imperialist policies we can come to create a climate of hate in our own country that is a manifestation of this othering and hate abroad. Seyla Benhabib (2003) explains, "Imperialism in other lands leaves indelible marks at home, upon the psyche of the nation as well. The other is not outside us in far lands; through experiences of imperial domination and racism, we become prone to create the other within, in our midst" (p. 76). Churchill (2001) argues that due to the embargoes, bombings, and sanctions of Iraq during the first Iraq war in 1991, the country has not been able to "import the nutrients, medicines, and other materials necessary to saving the lives of even their toddlers" (p. 1). Moreover, Churchill goes on to argue that the "perhaps 100,00 [Iraqis] in full retreat, routed and effectively defenseless, many of them conscripted civilian laborers, slaughtered in a single day by firing the most hyper-lethal types of ordinance" was cause enough to push back (p. 2). Recall the discussion in Chapter Three about Sontag's description of, what was coined by officials, as a "turkey shoot." 83

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Furthermore, Churchill (2001) suggests that despite the large number of civilian deaths in Iraq and elsewhere overseas, the "American public greeted these revelations with yawns," and that "people elsewhere in the worldthe Mideast, for instancebegan to wonder where, exactly, aside from the streets of the US itself, one was to find the peace America's purportedly oppositional peacekeepers claim they were keeping" (p. 3). Churchill suggests that the terrorists on 9/11 "finally responded to what this country has dispensed to their people as a matter of course" (p. 3). The terrorist attacks on 9/11 were not first-strike attacks; rather, Churchill (2001) argues, that war against the East, by the "Christian West," has been occurring since the First Crusades, renewed in the early 20th century during the Ottoman Empire. In fact, the attacks on 9/11 were "a testament to [the East's] patience and restraint" and that they were certainly not "cowards," "fanatics," "insane," or "evil" (pp. 3-4). He continues: the word [coward] describes all those "fighting men and women" who sat at computer consoles aboard ships in the Persian Gulf, enjoying airconditioned comfort while launching cruise missiles into neighborhoods filled with random human beings. Whatever else can be said of them, the men who struck on September 11 manifested the courage of their convictions, willingly expending their own lives in attaining their objectives. (p. xx) In other words, the attacks on the US, as Churchill details in his subsequent book, were long in the making and not limited to the millions that have died as a result of US actions over the course of history. Some examples, although not necessarily related to Iraq, is the genocide of Native Americans during the founding of this country, the slaughter of filipinos during the Philippines war, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just to name a few. 84

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Furthermore, Churchill (2003) argues that the terrorists took it easy on the US, compared to what the US has inflicted on others throughout its history and that Americans were given "a tiny does of their own medicine" (p. 7). He suggests that "Americans for the most part still don't get it." Furthermore, Churchill (2001) argues that the nature of the attacks on 9/11, from the terrorists perspective, were to help Americans realize the extremely detrimental effects of their foreign policy on other countries: To all appearances, the idea is now to give the tonic a little time to take effect, jolting Americans into the realization that the sort of pain they're now experiencing first-hand is no different fromor the least bit more excruciating thanthat which they've been so cavalier in causing others, and thus to respond appropriately. [] Perhaps the strategists underestimated the impact a couple of generations-worth of media indoctrination can produce in terms of demolishing the capacity of human beings to form coherent thoughts. (p. 1) However, the "tonic" did not take effect. The reaction to Churchill's essay and book was explosive, particularly from the conservative community, resulting in him being fired from the university, one of three professors with tenure to ever be fired from the Boulder campus since it was founded in 1876 (Kuta, 2014). However, Churchill returns his argument to the individuals actually working in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He posits that the majority of individuals who died in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were not "innocent" civilians; rather, these individuals were comparable to the Nazis, and in specific to being like "little Eichmanns." The immense reaction toward Churchill's essay was mostly revolving around this singular concept: the Eichmann metaphor. Churchill (2003) writes: Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empirethe "mighty engine of profit" to 85

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which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslavedand they did so both willingly and knowingly. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved inand in many cases excelling atit was because of their absolute refusal to see. [] If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd be really interested in hearing about it. (p. 8) Churchill defines "little Eichmanns" as "a cadre of faceless bureaucrats and technical experts who willingly (and profitably) harnessed themselves to the task of America's genocidal world order hum with maximal efficiency" (p. 19). Churchill argues that the World Trade Center victims were "culpable by reason of complicity" even though "no actual perpetrators" were exclusively obvious or identifiable (p. 19). In the same way that Eichmann was considered responsible for his contributions to the efficiency of carrying out the "Final Solution," these individuals were doing their jobs, although they all had a vague understanding of the consequences of their jobs, they still chose to continue even though the result was of the increase tally of the loss of human lives. Churchill further explains his meaning behind the phrase "little Eichmanns" during a recorded impromptu question. He suggests that Eichmann "primarily arranged train schedules" and that those who were outraged by his comments did not know enough about Eichmann to understand his statement (Stewart, 2007). Further, that the similarity between Eichmann and those working in the Pentagon and many in the World Trade Center was that they were the "technicians that made the killing possible." He suggests that you do not have to "look like Eichmann to act like Eichmann." For example, he argues these individuals in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon contributed to the suffering and the immiseration of 86

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many people in foreign countries by supporting "sweatshops in Malaysia and the Marshall Islands" (Stewart, 2007). Churchill continues: That's exactly how Adidas makes its money; that's exactly how the dividends for the stockholders get raised; that's exactly how you make sales; that's exactly how you increase your commissions and gain status in the firm you're working for; that's exactly the technical enterprise leading to massive immiseration and death; and that's exactly Eichmann-like. (Stewart, 2007) For the most part, it seems that Churchill's meaning behind "little Eichmanns," and the overall substance of his essay, was ignored by the media, instead the controversy became an attack on Churchill's character. An exploration of this controversy and subsequent trial will be expanded on in the following section. The Controversy and the Trial The 2001 essay was originally posted to an online forum called Dark Night This forum was established for individuals who were "dedicated to supporting the struggle for liberation of indigenous peoples against the powers responsible for the colonization of their lands" (Churchill, 2000). In 2005, more than three years after Churchill had written his essay and a book expanding upon his ideas in the original essay, he was scheduled to be on a panel titled "Limits of Dissent?" at Hamilton College, a private university in upstate New York. Before Churchill was set to speak, the student newspaper at Hamilton College found Churchill's essay on Dark Night Following this, an article was published in a Syracuse newspaper concerning the essay and Churchill's metaphorical usage of "little Eichmanns." A controversy ensued followed by a number of death threats and student protests of Churchill's scheduled appearance at Hamilton. The president of Hamilton College, Joan Hinde Stewart, 87

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decided to cancel Churchill's lecture citing "security and safety of the students" as the primary reasons (Debraggio, 2005). Churchill faced significant backlash from the media. Many television networks such as Fox News, ultra conservatives Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly (2005) made comments like "radical" teachers are indoctrinating students at liberal minded universities and that many academics, such as Churchill, were "teaching our students to hate America" and that Churchill was a "traitor" (O'Reilly, 2005). Churchill responded to similar comments made during an interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News, stating: "This [9/11] is what it feels like when people who are sitting at computer consoles fifteen hundred miles away firing cruise missiles into your cities are called heroes'" (Onepost, 2014). Further, O'Reilly announced on his show the e-mail address of the president of Hamilton College asking people to write to her their opinions about Churchill speaking at the College. The Governor of Colorado, Bill Owens (2005), suggested that Churchill's views were "anti-American" and that "All decent people should denounce the views of Ward Churchill They are at odds with simple decency, and antagonistic to the beliefs and conduct of civilized people around the world" (p. 1). In partial contrast to these viewpoints, Michael Faughnan (2005)whose brother, Chris, a political, human rights, and environmental activist, also a US government Treasury bond broker, had died in the WTC attackswrote a letter to the Boulder Daily Camera titled "An Open Letter to Ward Churchill: My Brother, the Eichmann.'" In this letter Faughnan struggles with siding with Churchill, mostly, because of the language and framing used by Churchill. Faughnan writes: 88

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Human beings are not symbols and your essay's dehumanization of the victims of 9/11 reduces them to mere symbolsdrones in a capitalist machine. In this way, you are guilty of what you claim to condemn, that is the dehumanization of individuals. It is the inability to see the human face of "the other" that allows the horrible violence in this world to continue. (p. 1) However, Faughnan does acknowledge that he appreciates that Churchill is attempting to provide a comprehensible meaning to what happened on 9/11, when so many others were dismissing any analysis of our country, although, he suggests, by using "painful rhetoric." Faughnan observes: Behind the painful rhetoric you use, I sense a nobler goal, the desire to tell the American people that we must be aware of ourselves in the world, take responsibility and work to understand and change the wrongs that have been committed. If this is your greater message, my brother Chris would have agreed with you whole-heartedly. (p. 1) Faughnan also recognizes that the conversation that Churchill attempted to start was quickly replaced by an empty attack on Churchill's identity as Native American as a way to disregard having to take seriously the argument substantiated by Churchill. Faughnan writes: "Shame on the University of Colorado, certain political leaders and others who attack you personally, while side-stepping a deeper understanding of the views that you appear to be raising" (p. 1). Due to a national outcry for Churchill to step down from his position at the University of Colorado, and combined with the number of emails his department and the University were receiving, he was removed from his position as chair. In February of 2005, the University of Colorado began an investigation into the research practices of Churchill. The Board of Regents determined that Churchill had engaged in "research misconduct" and was fired from his position at the University. Subsequently, Churchill (2012) filed a lawsuit in which he argues that: 89

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the University of Colorado at Boulder opened an investigation into his academic integrity in retaliation for the publication of a controversial essay, and that both the investigation and resulting termination of his employment violated his free speech rights. (p. 1) The court agreed with Churchill ruling that his "employment was terminated in retaliation for his free speech"; however, he was awarded one dollar in damages, since the court "found that he suffered no actual damages as a result of being terminated" (p. 1). Churchill appealed to be reinstated to his position, but failed to be reinstated due to an "irreparably damaged" relationship between Churchill and the University. The hype surrounding Churchill's expulsion from the academic community has been described as a witch-hunt. It certainly rings with vibes of the McCarthy era, another example of a moral panic, when communists, or people associated with left wing ideas, were declared un-American and many academics who expressed critiques of the United States were afraid of losing their jobs or worse. Anthropologist C. Richard King (2009) argues that part of the reason why the comment by Churchill sparked a national controversy was because, in the aftermath of 9/11, a "moral panic" had manifested. Many Americans were trying to appear as "American" as they could, anything else was defined as terrorist (p. 35). Moreover, King suggests "that these shifts lay a foundation for policing critical thinking and silencing perspectives meant to trouble naturalized relations" (p. 34). Interestingly, King posits that the behavior that a moral panic evokes is apparent in the emails that Churchill received in the spring of 2005 and in the comments sent to the president of Hamilton College after the public became aware of Churchill's essay. 90

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According to King's analysis of these emails, the comments sent to the president at Hamilton College did three things that resonated with moral panics: first, the comments "demonize Ward Churchill as inhuman and un-American;" second, the comments associated the college with "evil" and "incivility." Finally, the comments denied freedom of speech for Churchill on the grounds that he is "against civilization [and] that he does not deserve the freedoms that define it" (King, 2009, p. 36). King observes in the comments that Churchill was represented as a "monster: an abject Other beyond the bounds of civilization and worse inhumane threat to it" (p. 36). Further, King continues his analysis by studying around thirty e-mails that Churchill or the University of Colorado at Boulder's Ethnic studies department received concerning Churchill (p. 35). In King's study of these email messages, he concluded that the rhetoric used by nearly all the individuals in reference to Churchill was "blatantly racist" and a "reiteration of colonial cliches" (p. 37). I found King's study to be of particular importance for my overall argument because a moral panic can be an essential factor for the process of dehumanization to work as well as it does. It is also important because, in order for us to attack an individual we must break him or her down to be less than human. Because the public and the media attacked Churchill as a human and as a scholar they effectively evaded any responsibly to entertain his counternarrative. Instead of Churchill's comments and essay about 9/11 and "little Eichmanns" being taken as a lesson or as a learning experience, he was instead demonized and discredited as an academic, in effect he was silenced for expressing a radicalized viewpoint. Essentially this viewpoint was not part of the homogenized patriotic majority, certainly not a part of the narrative presented by Bush following the events of 9/11. 91

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Similarly, Sociologists Erika King and Mary deYoung (2008) conducted a study that suggests that Churchill was demonized and not fairly represented as a legitimate counternarrative to the popularized frame that President Bush had presented. They write that, on 9/11, the victims were represented in the narrative establish by Bush, and in direct contrast to Churchill's narrative, as: ordinary people who were engaged in the routines of everyday life on that fateful day, [Bush] not only stressed their absolute moral innocence but also, in doing so, underscored the risk for all ordinary Americans. [] [T]he innocent victims of the September 11 attacks represent and symbolize each and every American as well as the moral community that is America. (2008, p. 125) King and deYoung further suggest that this narrative was accepted as the hegemonic norm and was further instilled in the American mind by the repetition of this in the media and by other politicians. Ultimately, Churchill was dehumanized and delegitimized. Churchill was accused of being uncivil, his views as being extremist, and not to be considered as a potentially legitimate narrative, and that he was a traitor, radical, and savage. The attack on Churchill was also an attack on academic freedom, and the range of free and open discussions in academic and public communities without fear of prosecution for thoughts, no matter the content. Next, I think it is important to discuss the concept of moral panic more deeply and to further understand the atmosphere of our culture after the events of 9/11 in order to understand the relentless attack on Churchill's perspective. Moral Panic and 9/11 In this section I would like to explore the concept of moral panic as it relates to the fear that manifested in the United States after 9/11. It largely emerged because of the 92

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"rhetoric of evil" used by Bush. Many people embraced extreme nationalism, resulting in the exclusion of dissent counter to the popular narrative as was presented by Bush. Moral Panic I briefly touched on the concept of a moral panic in the literature review in Chapter One, but I think it is necessary to understand it in considerable more depth. Some questions that I will include: What causes a moral panic? How do we determine if a moral panic has occurred? Did a moral panic occur following the events of 9/11 pushing us to be more likely to be supportive of a war, disregard dissenters, and be more willing to allow a reduction in our civil liberties? I will discuss an argument put forth by Scott A. Bonn (2010) who explored the criteria required to determine whether a moral panic had occurred in the years following 9/11. This will help us to understand the demonization of Churchill better, insofar as his dismissal did not negate the legitimacy of his views; rather, the climate following 9/11 was one that smothered forms of dissent. Stanley Cohen's scholarship on "folk devils and moral panics" is essential to reference in order to answer some of the above questions. Cohen (1972/2004) suggests that there are five basic criteria that must be met in order for a moral panic to occur. These criteria are a mass concern about a "threat," hostility toward the threat, consensus in the general population about the threat, disproportionality concerning the actual magnitude of the threat, and volatility or that concern "erupts and dissipates suddenly and without warning" (p. xxii). Cohen argues that a moral panic can erupt surrounding any concern; however, historically there are a number of concerns that typically spark a moral panic. 93

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In history there are many examples of moral panics. The most commonly referred to moral panic are the witch hunts that occurred throughout Europe and in the Americas between the years of 1450-1750. During this time, individuals accused of being witches were burned at the stake for views or actions that were considered to be spawned from the devil and a threat to maintaining the social order and status quo. In more modern times, Cohen suggests that the most common cause for moral panics are from (1) young men, typically influenced by violent media, video games, or movies; (2) violence manifesting in schools; (3) drugs; (4) child abuse; (5) the media; (6) welfare recipients cheating the system; and (7) immigrants (pp. viii-xx). Further, Cohen articulates that moral panics are marked by "[t]he allocation of blame" (p. xxvi). Also, the assignment of the identity "monster" or "evil" is typical. However, Cohen suggests that moral panics also serve a useful purpose: Through the process of studying them we are able to recognize "the ways we are manipulated into taking some things too seriously and other things not seriously enough" (p. xxxv). George Morgan and Scott Poynting (2012) argue that the concept of a moral panic must be reimagined in the age of globalization. They argue that if a moral panic occurs, like the one that manifested in the aftermath of 9/11, that it can potentially be projected in such a way that it effects numerous countries. Moreover, it can continuously be reaffirmed by incidents that occur in different countries who attribute the causation to a "folk devil" and subsequently broadcast in seconds this fear to every other country. In other words, moral panics are not longer confined to the borders of a particular country due to our globalized and instant access to each other. Morgan and Poynting argue that "in the global West,' the radicalized Muslim Other' has become the pre-eminent folk devil' of our time" (p. 5). 94

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Bonn articulates a study in which he explores the criteria for a moral panic, set forth by Cohen, to determine whether a moral panic had taken place in the aftermath of 9/11. Bonn's thesis (2010) for his study is: that the Bush administration created a panic by deliberately deceiving Americans about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction and its link to 9/11, and that the U.S. news media, perhaps unwittingly, fueled the panic by promoting the Bush administrations's false and deceptive rhetoric. (p. xiii) Bonn's conclusion is congruent with his thesis. Bonn argues that a large contribution to the success of such narratives, such as that used by Bush, is the rhetoric that is used to push forth certain ideas into the forefront of individuals thoughts, such as Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction, most often reiterated by the media, then normalizing a state of fear as the predominant thinking pattern. Rhetoric of Evil A common characteristic of a moral panic is the rhetoric used by presidents, politicians, and the media to reinforce a particular image of an individual or to initiate a particular concern among the public. Cohen (1972/2002) writes that "[t]he importance of the media lies not in their role as transmitters of moral panics nor as campaigners but in the way they reproduce and sustain the dominant ideology" (p. xxix). In this section I will briefly explore the rhetoric of Bush after the events of 9/11, during his speeches addressed to the nation. This will help to demonstrate the dangerous and unproductive effects of using rhetoric that label individuals a "monsters" or "evil" as is common in moral panics, and was repeated in the rhetoric of Bush after 9/11. Further, it should be considered that this "rhetoric of evil" is extremely problematic in a culture of "thoughtlessness." 95

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I would like to use three instances of Bush's rhetoric as examples that contributed to setting the groundwork for a moral panic to occur in the aftermath of 9/11. These are also exemplary instances of how the rhetoric of evil allows us to completely disregard looking at systemic or causal explanations to understand an event. Patrick Hayden (2009) writes: "The end results is dogmatic demonization of the other,' who simultaneously blaming them for the harms they suffer, and relieving those who are good' from having to examine their own casual and moral role in the harm caused" (p. 50). The following are only a few of the possible examples of this rhetoric after 9/11. Former president Bush uses the following statements in speeches to the American public on the day of, or in the years directly, after 9/11: America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. [] we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. (Bush, 2001) Further: The hijackers were instruments of evil who died in vain. Behind them is a cult of evil which seeks to harm the innocent and thrives on human suffering. Theirs is the worst kind of cruelty, the cruelty that is fed, not weakened, by tears. Theirs is the worst kind of violence, pure malice, while daring to claim the authority of God. We cannot fully understand the designs and power of evil. It is enough to know that evil, like goodness, exists. And in the terrorists, evil has found a willing servant. (Bush, 2001) Finally: The great threat to civilization is not that the terrorists will inspire millions. Only the terrorists themselves would want to live in their brutal and joyless world. The great threat to civilization is that a few evil men will multiply their murders, and 96

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gain the means to kill on a scale equal to their hatred. We know they have this mad intent, and we're determined to stop them. (Bush, 2001) Many of the above statements assign evil an entity of its own. Further, they are quite opposite in nature to Churchill's narrative of systemic injustice. Bush's statements above represent evil as not comprehensible and as powerful and capable of wreaking mass destruction if not stopped by us, the nobel and bright "beacon of freedom." Bush has further said, "Evil may crush concrete and twist steel, but it can never break the spirit of the American people." Further, "We know that evil is real, but good will prevail against it" (p. 89). The framing of this rhetoric is problematic because it couples the independent entity of evil with that of terrorists and in this association all Arab individuals can become seen as evil. It contributes to providing the basis for the dehumanization of the "terrorists"they are represented as the embodiment of evil, thus not even human. Because they are "terrorists," there is no reasoning with them, for they have "mad intent;" thus, there is no reason to look at ourselves as contributing any to the events on 9/11, because "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world (p. 1). This dehumanizing way of speaking has allowed us to further justify torture of Arab individuals. Furthermore, Bonn (2010) suggests "that there were shifts in public opinion that directly mirrored presidential policy rhetoric" (p. 79). This statement is very important to understand in terms of our culture of "thoughtlessness." By the choice of words provided to the American public by Bush, we have a population that quickly became fearful and subsequently agreed that indeed there was no reason behind the attacks on 9/11, that future attacks were imminent and that evil was inherent in the "terrorists." It was represented as an attack on the innocent. After all, our country is a "freedom loving nation" and "terrorists hate 97

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our freedoms." People are unable or unwilling to see through the rhetoric used or to think for ourselves. Perhaps this is because we simply do not care or because war is rarely carried out on our soil, but the soil of some distant country. Again, it is much easier to assign someone the identity of monsters, than to take a careful look at our own role in the world. This rhetoric also serves the purpose of allowing us to enact a war that has no end. We declared a "war on terror," but terror is not a thing in itself, it is merely an abstraction. Thus, war cannot be waged against it and this allows for us to fight terror with terror. Furthermore, the word "terrorist" is ambiguous. We could easily define our own actions as those being "terrorist," in the sense that we are inflicting terror on another population to achieve a particular agenda. Who, then, is the terrorist? How can we define one act as terrorism, but the other not? Were the planes that were flown into the World Trade Center and Pentagon equivalent to the drones dropped on "terrorist" organization leaders in Afghanistan or Iraq, which inadvertently kill many civilians, who we labeled as collateral damage? Judith Butler (2004) suggests that "[t]he cry that there is no excuse for September 11' has become a means by which to stifle any serious public discussion of how US foreign policy has helped to create a world in which such acts of terror are possible" (p. 3). Moreover, she argues: Our collective responsibility not merely as a nation, but as part of an international community based on a commitment to equality and non-violent cooperation, requires that we ask how those conditions came about, and endeavor to re-create social and political conditions on more sustaining grounds. This means, in part, hearing beyond what we are able to hear. And it means as well being open to narration that decenters us from our supremacy, in both its right-and-left wing forms. (p. 18) "Only then," Butler continues: ! 98

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do we reach the disposition to get to the "root" of violence, and begin to offer another vision of the future than that which perpetuates violence in the name of denying it, offering instead names for things that restrain us from thinking and acting radically and well about global options. (p. 18) However, as ordinary citizens, at what point are we no longer able to see through this inimical rhetoric, particularly, if we consider the increasing trend of anti-intellectualism? In a democracy, we should be able to hold debates and critically consider opinions, even if those opinions are hateful or offensive. Dissent is essential to a healthy democracy. Furthermore, digging into the reasons behind why an event occurs is essential to creating a world with less suffering. The Churchill controversy is more than simply a public disdain for his viewpoints it sets a precedent for future dissenters to not express their perspective fully for fear of retaliation. A Dangerous Precedent The reason this discussion concerning moral panics and the rhetoric of evil is included in the detail that it has been is because it contributes to understanding the atmosphere surrounding the reactions about Churchill's Eichmann comment. Butler (2004) argues that "[t]he voicing of critical perspectives against the war has become difficult to do, not only because mainstream media enterprise will not publish them [], but because to voice them is to risk hystericization and censorship" (p. 2). Our society is setting forth a dangerous precedent. By silencing dissent, in particular radicalized viewpoints, such as Churchill's, we are denying free speech and delegitimizing many individuals who hold these same perspectives. For example, in the aftermath of the Churchill controversy, conservative writer David 99

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Horowitz (2006), published a book titled The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America In this book he articulates the names and a brief description of 101 of the professors that he argues are a danger to the United States and the students they teach for various reasons, primarily for being "left-wing radicals." Horowitz prefaces his book with a detailed discussion citing Churchill and his controversial essay as inspiration for his book. Despite the seemingly endless number of critics toward Churchill there were still supporters. Of these supporters, 381 are respected professors, a part of "Teachers for a Democratic Society" who signed a petition in support of Churchill's right to free speech (Kirstein, 2006). Churchill's perspective, perhaps radical, is a legitimate argument, expressed by others, and it is within his First Amendment right to express his viewpoint. To deny him this, is to deny one of the great benefits of living in a democracy: that to speak a dissenting viewpoint without fear of retribution. Of course, 9/11 was witness to a great many changes in our culture and our civil liberties. The passing of the USA Patriot Act and an increase in our surveillance technologies on our private lives are just a couple examples. Disturbingly, all of which, like Churchill, argued were cause for little uproar from the general public. This lack of response from the public to US action abroad is even more disquieting when we consider our ability to connect with events in the world has never before been as globalized and substantial as it is today. Certainly we have the ability to connect to the world, but we are limited by the content that we seek out and the depth of thought that we apply to what we see. Churchill (2001) argues that Americans choose "deliberate ignoration," in which, Churchill suggests means that people are "informed," but they choose to "ignore the information" (p. 7). Recall the 100

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previous chapter on the banality of suffering, as Chomsky posited, these reactions are certainly not that far off from a form of "creeping Eichamnnism" too. Finally, due to our culture of "thoughtlessness," where options for consuming are virtually limitless, what happened to Churchill in part comes down to our ability to think critically about what others say, to judge for ourselves whether we agree with a statement or not, and to trust our own reasoning. To form our own thoughts is becoming an increasingly important and a simultaneously problematic aspect of today's society. We spend little time engaging in thought about a subject before we "change the channel." Through our apathy we are setting a precedent that gives our government and media power reminiscent of an authoritarian state and allows for us to exhibit a form of "creeping Eichmannism," disregard, and indifference toward human suffering. In sum, the patriotic narratives, originating in the speeches given by President Bush presented an illusion that there are representations of "evil" abroad. This helped to manifest in the general population feelings of insecurity and fear which contributed to the attack on Churchill and other dissenters. Social justice scholar Omar Swartz (2014) provides an insight into the implications of the Churchill controversy and the shortcomings of the American mindset. He writes: Professor Churchill's "Eichmann" statement strikes me as simply another reminder of the fact that much of American civilization has severe implications life and death implicationsfor people across the globe; to a significant degree, our moral imaginations have not developed to the point where we recognize our responsibility as individuals and as a society for these effects. Churchill's comments, as well as the comments of other critical thinkers, reflect the importance of what a liberal arts education should seek to foster in studentsa sense of agency and responsibility for engaging the world around us. (p. 19) ! 101

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Regardless of the choice of wording that Churchill used to convey his message, it was a legitimate narrative. More importantly, our failure to entertain the legitimacy of Churchill's narrative is connected with our inability to recognize the effects of our actions abroad. Further, our culture of "thoughtlessness" has contributed to our inability to make good moral decisions, and the shortcomings of our education system are limiting us in thinking, and imagining ourselves in the place of others, and from viewing ourselves as more than a society that exalts entertainment, profit, efficiency, and power over life. We are failing in providing quality educations to our citizens to think critically and to form their own opinions. I would argue that the controversy over Churchill's usage of the Eichmann metaphor signifies that our culture is indeed distracted, exhibiting a "thoughtlessness," and unwillingness to think critically about ourselves and our actions on the world around us. Conclusion In this chapter I explored the Ward Churchill controversy. I first looked at the uproar surrounding the narrative that Churchill presented, followed by the media's demonization of Churchill and the attack on his character, rather than a serious consideration of his narrative as a legitimate counter-narrative to the patriotic one presented by President Bush. I argued that a moral panic occurred in the wake of 9/11 as enhanced by the rhetoric used by Bush and the media who faithfully parroted and endorsed this version of events, effectively disregarding all dissent to the homogenized popular narrative. Finally, I argued that this sets a dangerous precedent for future dissenters and academics whose task is to challenge individuals to learn to think critically in classrooms. If we silence independent thought and alternative viewpoints, we are effectively enforcing politics of extreme patriotism, 102

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reminiscent of the McCarthy era where academics were fearful of being fired for expressing views considered in-line with communism. In the next chapter, my conclusion, I will give an overview of my argument and discuss the problematic nature of Eichmannism when mixed with a culture of "thoughtlessness" as amplified in our society today. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 103

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CHAPTER V CONCLUSION In this thesis I have argued that in our culture of "thoughtlessness" we are increasing the possibility for Eichmannesque behavior to occur. In Chapter One, I identified education as being a paramount concern for potentially increasing the possibilities of an Eichmannesque mindset. Eichmann was able to push from his mind the consequences of what was happening as a result of placing his career, organizing train schedules, above that of the human lives who happened to be the recipients of the consequences of Eichmann's hard work, obedient, and dutiful behavior. I identified education as problematic because it is often simply deposited into children. It encourages individuals to not think or be able to sort through the knowledge they are taught and they fail to learn to develop their own opinions and convictions. Thus, education is a primary factor that should be considered when addressing the increased possibility of Eichmannism. Equally important, is the consideration that, as our culture comes to embrace anti-intellectualism and distractions as a way of life, we are left with increasingly less time to "waste" on thinking. We are instead constantly entertained. Furthermore, boredom is something that no longer encompasses downtime in which we previously might have spent thinking critically about our lives, jobs, or sift through the abundance of stimulations that we receive on a daily basis. I have used Hannah Arendt's scholarship as a foundation for many of the ideas formulated in this thesis. However, I have also expanded upon some of her concepts, such as the "banality of evil," to mean something more widespread and commonplace than she had 104

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originally intended it to mean. Specifically, I used Arendt's concept of the "banality of evil" as a more universal concept, to mean that we are all can potentially be implicated in behaving like Eichmann. Arendt, however, stresses that she did not mean that evil was "commonplace" during the Third Reich or that there was a "little Eichmann in all of us." Arendt found the phrase that there was a "little Eichmann in all of us" to be extremely problematic. She felt that, by using this phrase perpetrators, would be alleviated of responsibility for their crimes. Although Eichmann might have been ordinary, Arendt was quite clear that she felt it just that Eichmann be hung for his deeds. I argued that, quite the contrary, this notion of "Eichmann in all of us" pushes us to be more responsible and aware of our daily actions. Rather than alleviate responsibility, I argued that it demands responsibility and accountability to ourselves and others, by being aware that we could all become Eichmannsindeed, many of us already are. Instead of assigning the action of Eichmann, or those like him, to the outsider or the few bad apples, we come to better understand the nature of the doers of evil as potentially ourselves. They are not the monstrous individuals that we often paint them as; rather, they are ordinary men and women. To think of "little Eichmanns" in this way does not relieve us from our responsibility of choosing to commit or not commit an evil act, but it does bring awareness that our actions can easily come to mirror Eichmann's if we choose to continue to engage in "thoughtlessness." Further, I used critical theory and the theory of moral panics to frame my argument. Critical theory helped me to critique our culture of "thoughtlessness," specifically by using aspects of an offshoot of this theory: the Culture Industry. Additionally, I used the theory of 105

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moral panic to frame the Ward Churchill controversy in Chapter Four. By using the theory of moral panic, I was able to demonstrate the problematic nature of this old concept which has continuously reappeared in our culture in different ways. It essentially causes individuals to become fearful and panic, causing individuals to go along with decisions or ideologies they may not have otherwise. The moral panic is often engineered by the politicians and given support by the media, inducing a public panic, typically based on false or amplified pretenses. I argued that the atmosphere after the 9/11 attacks was that of a moral panic. After establishing the purpose, question, problem, and theories that I would use to frame my thesis I moved on to Chapter Two. In this chapter I examined the narrative of Eichmann as was presented to the public, during his trial in Israel, as a monstrous and sadistic Nazi. I looked at how the trial in Jerusalem was a spectacle and how Eichmann came to represent the pain and collective inaction of the world in the face of the Holocaust. Thus, it became much easier to display Eichmann as a monster. Then I looked at Arendt's counternarrative concerning Eichmann as an ordinary and regular individual and her highly controversial comment on the "banality of evil." Next, I looked at the continuous popularity of the narrative of monstrousness and I examined the re-emergence of the debate by looking at two scholars who have recently produced books arguing that Eichmann was actually a manipulative, sadistic, anti-Semite and, they argued, that Arendt would not have had access to this information during Eichmann's trial. I included these monster counter-arguments because I wanted to argue that this is largely an irrelevant perspective because we can see that Eichmann's actions have continuously reappeared in a variety of ways since the trial, regardless of Eichmann's "true" nature. 106

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The concept of Eichmann as ordinary, as presented by Arendt, led me to then explore that, oftentimes, the most ordinary among us, the sane ones, are capable of some of the greatest evil acts. In others words, I established that there is a certain "sanity" in monstrousness. Insofar as the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, drone strikes, or the obedient individuals as demonstrated in Stanley Milgram's obedience experiments were all acts performed by the sane and ordinary. These acts were committed by ordinary individuals, acting out of commonplace trait of obedience with strong commitments to an ideology, job, duty, or "way of life." Incorporating this into Chapter Three, I argued that the nature of the bureaucracy is such that it allows for Eichmannism to manifest. Furthermore, it allows for some human beings to be considered superfluousness and disposable; moreover, that this perception of superfluousness is enhanced with technology. I examined the bureaucracy and the way that evil actions have become commonplace banal actions. Further, to be a good bureaucrat one must be largely indifferent to the human consequences of one's actions. Also problematic is our use of warfare at a distance. We are unable to see the people that we are dropping bombs or drones on as human because they are far below us, out of our visual range. They become part of the technological process and we do not think, as Eichmann did not, about the human face beyond the duty assigned to us to drop the bomb or fire the missile. Potentially, these acts are done sitting comfortably in a control room in one country while the drone, or otherwise, attacks somewhere far away, in a distant land. Furthermore, I argued that the rhetoric used is often technical such as "collateral damage" or a decision that has consequences on human life is fitted into a cost-benefit equation. This is contributing to our 107

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ability to inflict mass suffering on the other with little regard to recognizing the actuality of our actions on others and their "way of life." The above sentiments brought me to question, borrowing from Judith Butler, whose lives are considered "grievable." One example is that in the war in Iraq we keep track of the number of American soldiers who have died since the start of the war; however, we do not keep track of the number of deaths of Iraqi individuals, a number estimated to be in the millions in large part civilians (Vergano, 2013). Similarly, in the Vietnam War there were daily "body counts" given by the various American troops in Vietnam every morning. One more example, is the torture scandals the US has faced in the last few years. The US redefined torture as laid out by the Geneva Convention in order to justify psychologically and sexually degrading torture on Arab "terrorists." Are the lives that we see as being the other, those in far off countries, typically non-Western countries less important than our own? I argue that we must recognize the humanity in all the world, not simply those in our direct communities. We must respect that not all countries will represent the same traditions and lifestyles as Western societies. We must not seek to create other countries in our image. Returning to the nature of a bureaucracy, I then discussed three specific examples of behavior that has manifested in the setting of a bureaucracy that others have compared to being Eichmannesque. These were: Eric Garner and the police spokespersons, the British Petroleum executives on the oil spill, and the banal reaction to the suffering of the Vietnamese in the massacre and demolition of the villages of My Lai 4 and Ben Suc. I demonstrated the arguments, as made by others, that the responses to the suffering caused by the police spokesperson who denied to admit or recognize responsibility for the wrongful 108

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death of Garner; the British Petroleum executive refusing to acknowledge the magnitude of destruction and generations worth of suffering inflicted by the oil spill; and the banal reaction to the bulldozing of the two Vietnamese villages and the rape and massacre of the individuals living there, were Eichmann-like in nature. This helps to back up my argument that Eichmann can potentially manifest in all of us. Furthermore, I agued that the nature of capitalism contributes to the possibility of Eichmannism to manifest in individuals. This is because, left unregulated, it guarantees the existence of a lower class of people and it focuses on profit at the expense of human lives. In capitalism there is always somebody making those decisions, thus, those working in the corporations, making job-related, profit focused choices, that are ignoring the consequences of those decisions in terms of human suffering, which is Eichmanensque in nature. In Chapter Four I explored one of the most controversial usages of the Eichmann metaphor since Arendt. I examined in depth the national controversy that erupted concerning Ward Churchill's metaphor of "little Eichmanns" in reference to the "technocrats" that worked in the World Trade Center and Pentagon and that subsequently died in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This essay first received attention, a few years after it was written, when Churchill was scheduled to speak on a panel at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Conservatives, and many others, accused Churchill of being radical and un-American. Furthermore, he was dehumanized and delegitimized in the media and was eventually fired from his tenured faculty position at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In a subsequent lawsuit, filed by Churchill, the courts ruled that Churchill was wrongly fired because of his comments in his controversial essay, and that the University's investigation into Churchill's 109

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"academic misconduct" would not have been prompted by a reason other than because of Churchill's radical perspective that surfaced in his essay. However, he was not reinstated to his position at the University due to an "irreparably damaged" relationship and was awarded one dollar in damages. I argued that part of the reason Churchill's essay sparked such a tremendous controversy was because the US was supporting a patriotic homogenized narrative after 9/11 and that a moral panic had also manifested. Because of this the media disregarded Churchill's counter-narrative. The conversation turned to one about Churchill's heritage and academic integrity, rather than the meaning that he was trying to convey behind the other possible reason that the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon. I argued that the atmosphere of the moral panic that had manifested in the aftermath of 9/11 was such that for the most part did not entertain narratives that were not mimicking those of the president's "rhetoric of evil" and "innocence" for the victims who died in the attacks. Furthermore, the moral panic was a time that caused the American people to be fearful of another terrorist attack that they were led to believe could occur at any moment. The rhetoric used in the media, who parroted the Bush administration, suggested that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and a large portion of the population, especially those who watched Fox News, came to believe that action must be taken immediately. A moral panic is an important concept to include in this thesis, not only because it helps to explain the controversy that exploded surrounding Churchill's "little Eichmanns" comment, but also because it is something that has re-occurred a number of times throughout history. If we can 110

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learn to recognize these instances, perhaps we can become more aware and see through the sometimes mis-leading rhetoric of the elites. I accumulated these revelations into my final chapter, my conclusion. I have argued that our culture of "thoughtlessness" has allowed for the increased possibility of Eichmannesque qualities to manifest in us all. Particularly, when our culture of "thoughtlessness" is coupled with the rhetoric of monstrousness which gives rise to an increased indifference toward human suffering that we come to see as the other. I hope that this thesis has contributed to one's ability to break down some of the assumptions and illusions that keep us "sane" in an "insane" world. This will allow for us to become more aware of the possibility of Eichmannism manifesting in our daily actions. Future Research This goal of this project is to invite more individuals into the conversation concerning the dangers of a culture that is promoting individuals to mindlessly engage in activities that hinder the mind from developing creative and critical thoughts. The potential for "little Eichmanns" to become increasingly common is a result of a culture that condemns the actions of Eichmanns to being performed by the outsider, or the few bad apples, rather it is quite the opposite, it is the ordinary individual who can become like Eichmann. For future research one could expand on the notion of "little Eichmanns" and analyze more real world instances of Eichmannism occurring. I would have like to included a discussion in great detail concerning Abu Ghraib, My Lai 4, the CIA torture report, the effects of neoliberalism and various other examples that I would put into the category of Eichmannesque behavior. However, due to space and time, these are beyond the scope of my thesis and present 111

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argument. However, I would encourage future researchers to engage these topics. Although these concepts have not been directly connected to the Eichmann metaphor, they are still good examples of Eichmannism which could be developed into an important and interesting research topic. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 112

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