After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (Columbia Studies in by Robert Meister

By Robert Meister

The way mainstream human rights discourse speaks of such evils because the Holocaust, slavery, or apartheid places them solidly long ago. Its difficult thoughts of "transitional" justice inspire destiny generations to maneuver ahead by means of making a fake assumption of closure, allowing those who find themselves accountable to elude accountability. This method of historical past, universal to late-twentieth-century humanitarianism, doesn't presuppose that evil ends while justice starts. quite, it assumes time ahead of justice is the instant to place evil within the past.

Merging examples from literature and background, Robert Meister confronts the matter of closure and the answer of ancient injustice. He boldly demanding situations the empty ethical common sense of "never again" or the theoretical aid of evil to a cycle of violence and counterviolence, damaged just once evil is remembered for what it used to be. Meister criticizes such tools for his or her deferral of justice and susceptibility to exploitation and elaborates the mistaken ethical common sense of "never again" with regards to Auschwitz and its evolution right into a twenty-first-century doctrine of the accountability to guard.

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Additional info for After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (Columbia Studies in Political Thought/Political History)

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Whoever invokes humanity wants to cheat,” Schmitt says. “To . . invoke and monopolize such a term probably has certain incalculable effects, such as denying the enemy the quality of being human and declaring him to be an outlaw of humanity; and a war can thereby be driven to the most extreme inhumanity” (p. 54). In stressing the dehumanization of the enemy, Schmitt may not have fully understood a further implication of his argument: that adopting a Human Rights Discourse allows potential rescuers to identify with the presumed innocence of victims.

E answer today almost always involves either trials or truth commissions. 21 We must note, however, that the survivor stories that appear in the great documents of transitional liberalism, such as the Nunca Más series22 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report, are almost never about systemic injustice as such. Rather, they are about a narrow class of victims (those who suffered physical torment) and a narrow class of perpetrators (their active tormenters). ) ἀ ose who suffered from systemic oppression are expected, in turn, to identify with the innocence of passive beneficiaries who were not perpetrators and who would never again condone perpetrators’ acts out of fear of what the victory of victims might mean.

E question of whether something could redeem past human sacrifice, or justify collective self-sacrifice, pervades my concern throughout this book with issues such as revolution vs. compassion, exploitation vs. succession, St. Paul vs. Muhammad, messianism vs. the prophetic tradition—and the special roles projected onto “Jews” in each of these debates. I conclude that such debates are still about justice, after all, but that justice itself is an intertemporal problem (the supersession of one time by another) and not simply an interpersonal problem.

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