Pepe de Brantuas

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The “bureaucratization” of evil…

(La “burocratización” del mal…)

When reading these days Hannah Arendt’s book, Eichmann in Jerusalem. A Report on the Banality of Evil, boggles to think as a nation allowed almost all the dynamics of many crimes. The Nazis came to power, did not bother to repeal the German constitution and other laws, simply ignored. From that moment the verbal decrees of Hitler (almost never written down and often ignored by most) became supreme law. Of those wishes tyrant murderer thoroughly the laws and regulations developed and put into practice, with an astonishing thoroughness and coldness were produced. Largely for that reason, Eichmann, party members and his organization were convinced that not just following orders, but the law itself, almost without remorse. As Daniel Rafecas says in the book’s introduction: within legal rules of the Criminal State, disobeying an order became a crime, a violation of state rule, but the rule said “must participate in the killing of Jews”. This, it coupled with the powerful effect of the exercise of bureaucratic state power-for which the abject is to become routine, and dispassionate (banal).

And that bureaucratization of evil got reversed moral principles throughout a society, to get to what the author says: just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody “Thou shalt not kill”’, even though man’s natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hitler’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody “Thou shalt kill”, although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it—the quality of temptation. Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbors go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew, of course, even though many of them may not have known the gruesome details), and not to become accomplices in all these crimes by benefiting from them. But, God knows, they had how to resist temptation.

A democracy (as it still is) can not be compared exactly with a dictatorship, much as totalitarian inclinations are always present in those who wield power in the bureaucracy or society itself. But it calls attention to the development over time of homicidal laws originally depart very slightly, struggling with prevailing moral principles, ending decades after reversing those same principles in a broad sector population. The example that comes to mind is the legalization of abortion. In the beginning, only a minority defended the aberration called free abortion, but today is considered a right by a much larger number of people who mostly do not reject such a thing is killing, but recognize and defend violence apparent (or not) of those accustomed to.

The legalization of abortion, its bureaucracy, especially with the law in force today, seems to have acted on those who practice it (or defend it at all costs) as a reassuring consciousness, the way and manner in Nazi Germany. They act as if, by the mere fact of existing law in question was a moral cover for their actions. Just look at the arguments of many, both in the press and in the media, to realize this properly totalitarian effect within democracy itself. And it is not only the verb to kill out easily from his lips, but their inability to find a reasoned argument that goes beyond the platitudes, partisan slogans or express threats.

Like it or not, kill the unborn has been trivialized so monstrous with the institutionalization of crime, with the bureaucratization of evil. And, hopefully to return to a non-violent morality, before legalization, not a disaster is required, such as Germany suffered defeat.

Pepe de Brantuas. February 2013, in Spain.

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