Friday, November 13, 2020

Trumpty Dumpty: "The Banality of Evil?"

Hannah Arendt famously coined the expression “the banality of evil” in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem:A Report on the Banality of Evil. Trump is turning out to be right up there with the most gallantly evil of autocrats. Manslaughter is defined by Merriam Webster as “the unlawful killing of a human being without express or implied malice.” The crime seemed to be fitting description for the president’s insolent indifference to a scourge that was killing thousands all through the pandemic. Now the charge goes from manslaughter to murder #1 since his behavior is plainly premeditated. In this he has something in common with Eichmann who was one of the engineers of the Holocaust that ended in the killing of six million Jews. However, can one really call Trump’s brand of evil "banal?" Arendt described Eichmann as displaying an “inability to think.” The Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman’s view of Trump as being “smarter and less competent than his enemies believe” is probably closer to the point. His program which began with “fake news” and ended with the denying of all assertions about the nature of empirical reality is truly one of the most brilliant coups against the regime of humanism in all of recorded history. It's truly hard to categorize Trump as banal. He’s more a revolting buffoon, one of the clowns in the horror movies who's totally out of control. The comedian John Mulaney compared him to a “horse loose in a hospital” on The Late Show. He's also like a zombie who crawls out of its coffin to terrorize the living in his implacability, in the way he keeps coming back. When he's finally relieved of the title of president, whose duties he has all but relinquished in his desperate attempt to retain his throne, he may eventually be brought to trial at least at the state level. Eichmann was impassive as he sat in his glass booth, but Trump will likely be wearing his red hat and raging to supporters who will cheer him from the peanut gallery.Trumpty Dumpty sat on a wall/Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall...

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