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June 05, 1970 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1970-06-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Roots and Nature of Violence Probed in Miss Arendt's Book

opposite of violence as nonvio-
lence; to speak of non-violent
power is actually redundant. Vio-
lence can destroy power; it is
utterly incapable of creating it.
Hegel's and Marx's great trust
in the dialectial "power of nega-
tion," by virtue of which oppo-
sites do not destroy but smooth-
ly develop into each other be-
cause contradictions promote and
do not paralyze development,
rests on a much older philoso-
phical prejudice: that evil is no
more than a private modus of
the good, that good can come
out of evil; that, in short, evil is
but a temporary manifestation
of a still-hidden good. Such
time-honored opinions have be-
come dangerous. They are shared
by many who have never heard
of Hegel or Marx, for the simple
reason that they inspire hope
and dispel fear—a treacherous
hope used to dispel legitimate
fear. By this, I do not mean to
equate violence with evil; I only
want to stress that violence can-
not be derived from its opposite,
which is power, and that in order
to understand it for what it is.
we shall have to examine its
roots and nature."
Inquiring historically into the
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS causes for reactions and violence,
16—Friday, June 5, 1970
such as experienced on the cam-
puses today, Miss Arendt asserts
that "to use reason when reason
is used as a trap is not 'rational',
just as to use a gun in self-defense
is not `irriational . ." Developing
the theme on the basis of the
views of French moralists "who
saw in hypocrisy the vice of all
vices and found it ruling supreme
in 'good society,' which somewhat
Lines Largest Haulers
later was called bourgeois society,"
she states:
2253 Cole Street
"Violent reaction against hypo-
Birmingham
crisy, however justifiable in its
own terms, loses its raison d'etre
MI 4-4613
when it tried to develop a strategy

There are reflections on violence
in the new work by Hannah Arendt
that serve a valuable purpose in
our time. In this era of violence
and distress the eminent author's
"On Violence" (published by Har-
court, Brace and World) inspires
thought, adds immensely to the
theme under discussion worldwide.
guides along important lines when
seeking clarification for the major
issues of our time.
Provoked by the debates in our
time, the issues revolving around
the protesting hordes, the New
Left's role, Miss Arendt touches
upon the events in this century of
wars and revolutions, "a century
of that violence which is currently
believed to be their common de-
nominator."
There is a summing up in which
Miss Arendt probes the nature and
the roots of violence and declares
"Politically speaking, it is in-
sufficient to say that power and
violence are not the same. Power
and violence are opposites; where
the one rules absolutely, the other
is absent. Violence appears where
power is in jeopardy, but left to
its own course it ends in power's
disappearance. This implies that
it is not correct to think of the

of its own with specific goals; it
becomes 'irrational' the moment it
is 'rationalized,' that is, the mo-
ment the re-action in the course
of a contest turns into an action,
and the hunt for suspects, accom-
panied by the psychological hunt
for interior motives, begins."
There is the final point in her
thesis that "every decrease in
power is an open invitation to
violence—if only because those

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who hold power and feel it slip-
ping from their hands, be they
the government or be they the
governed, have always found it
difficult to resist the temptation
to substitute violence for it."
SDS and the other elements in-
volved in the present crises are
analyzed and the total theme out-
lined in "On Violence" emerges as
an invaluable and profound analysis
of a pressing issue of our time.

Phone

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

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