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Personal Responsibility Under Dictatorship 
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Mad: Okay, so what's your alternative model for why people refused to follow the whole of society down an immoral path?


Some may have been motivated by religious beliefs, fostered within a lifetime of religious practice and theological understanding, rooted in a religious tradition and worship community that could not support such patently immoral and unjust behavior. Many German Churches did support and endorse and stood silent in response to the abuses of National Socialism- but not all. Those individuals within those religious communities who said "No" because a God of love who demands justice and mercy, protection of the outsider, and care for the weakest among us...offer an alternative model.

Arendt's attempt to lift up the isolated individual, free of ideological constraint, unencumbered by moral systems, relying upon an innate ability to judge responsibly and do the right thing is raising an ideal to inspire, encourage and foster its implementation in her readers. In tearing down one ideology, she replaces it with another. We can't escape it, it seems.

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Mad: I think we all recognize that Arendt was not writing a scientific paper and didn't provide citations in support of her argument, so we need not labor that point any further.


I don't think it's a minor point. I think it helps us understand the limits of philosophy when engaging the social sciences: conclusions about human populations require data to support these claims; whereas, the philosopher is making claims based upon an idea about human nature and its essence.

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Mad: And you've made your point that without any evidence having been made explicit we have to take her suggestion (or, if you'd rather, "assertion") as just that, a suggestion, and by no means definitive. Does this train of thought lead us anywhere, or are we left with just the doubt?


Well, Arendt states that the doubters and skeptics are the most reliable characters on the social stage: if that is true, then we must doubt the doubters and be skeptical of the skeptics too! I think suggestion is not as accurate as assertion . Arendt is making a strong case for the role of responsibility and judgment: we must choose and make a decision, and in the deciding and taking a stand, we defend what is most valuable about our humanity...our dignity and self-respect. She is not merely suggesting this: she is asserting it as a model for authentic personhood. In other words, in the face of much opposition and contrary evidence, she asserts against the grain, like a force struggling for expression, breaking through and emerging forward: she proclaims her humanity, and in so doing, affirms the humanity of others.



Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:52 pm
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Dissident Heart wrote:
Arendt's attempt to lift up the isolated individual, free of ideological constraint, unencumbered by moral systems, relying upon an innate ability to judge responsibly and do the right thing is raising an ideal to inspire, encourage and foster its implementation in her readers.


I don't think she intended to present it as an ideal. In fact, it looks to me as though she's attempting to mark a a limitation in the human capacity for morality and personal responsibility. She certainly isn't presenting the German non-participants as any sort of transcendent moral heroes. Rather it looks to me as though she envisions them as having fallen back on resources that are fairly primitive and that they might not have relied on had they not supposed the social system to have gone awry.

me wrote:
Mad: I think we all recognize that Arendt was not writing a scientific paper and didn't provide citations in support of her argument, so we need not labor that point any further.

DH wrote:
I don't think it's a minor point.


I didn't say it was a minor point. Rather, I said that we've all acknowledged it, so let's take it a step further and talk about what it means and whether or not there's an alternative. There's no real point in simply reiterating a point we all agree on.

Personally, given the nature of your comment, I think a productive way to continue that line of thought would be to consider whether or not there is any research that actually does present evidence either in favor of or against Arendt's suggestion. Any ideas?

DH wrote:
I think suggestion is not as accurate as assertion.


And I think you prefer assertion because it makes your point look more imperative, as though it were the only thing worth discussing.

Hannah Arendt wrote:
"I therefore would suggest that the nonparticipants were those whose consciences did not function in this, as it were, automatic way -- as though we dispose of a set of learned or innate rules which we then apply to the particular case as it arises, so that every new experience or situation is already prejudged and we need only act out whatever we learned or possessed beforehand. Their criterion, I think, was a different one: they asked themselves to what extent they would still be able to leave in peace with themselves after having committed certain deeds; and they decided that it would be better to do nothing, not because the world would then be changed for the better, but simply because only in this condition could they go on living with themselves at all." (p. 44; emphasis mine)


If Arendt thought suggest more accurate than assert, and felt it necessary to qualify "I think" in an essay full of what everyone would already recognize as her thoughts, I don't see why we should second guess her own estimation of what it is she meant to say.

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She is not merely suggesting this: she is asserting it as a model for authentic personhood.


That reads a whole lot like something you've brought to the essay, not something put there by Arendt. I didn't get that at all.


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Last edited by MadArchitect on Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:35 pm
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Mad : I don't think she intended to present it as an ideal. In fact, it looks to me as though she's attempting to mark a a limitation in the human capacity for morality and personal responsibility. She certainly isn't presenting the German non-participants as any sort of transcendent moral heroes. Rather it looks to me as though she envisions them as having fallen back on resources that are fairly primitive and that they might not have relied on had they not supposed the social system to have gone awry.


I don't think her efforts to define the limits of morality and personal responsibility are incompatable with her desire to present an ideal human response to a terrible dillemma. Rather than transcendent moral heroes, her narrative highlights a paradigm of behavior that reflects her desire to salvage some sense of human dignity from otherwise universally undignified behavior. The key text in this sense closes her essay:

Quote:
Arendt: "Much could be gained if we could eliminate this word obedience from our vocabulary of moral and political thought. If we think these matters through, we might regain some measure of self-confidence and even pride, that is, regain what former times called the dignity or the honor of man: not perhaps of mankind but of the status of being human." 48


The non-participants were the dis-obedient ones and Arendt uses their example to repair what was lost to the status of being human: dignity and honor.

Yet, I don't understand why Arendt remains silent about those few who not only opted out, but fought back and resisted with force. Nor does it make sense to leave out the Jewish resistance and the many forms it took althruout Germany. Perhaps the violence and destruction of the war, and the potential for nuclear holocaust in her future, made it impossible for her to bring those forms of resistance into her discussion? There was no ideal in anyone who defined honor and dignity in the destruction of their enemy: rather, her traumatic history and fear for the future could only tolerate the courage of those who would do nothing, lending neither their bodies or their minds to destructive state policies.

In some ways this is similar to Dr. King's conflict with the more radical Black Power movements of the Civil Rights Era, most notably Malcolm X. King was certain that violent resistance by Negros would lead to terrible loss of life and the brutal, murderous, perhaps even genocidal destruction of Blak America. For him, there simply was no violent solution to their oppression. Arendt speaks directly to some of this in her chapter Reflections on Little Rock...more to see.

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Mad: I think a productive way to continue that line of thought would be to consider whether or not there is any research that actually does present evidence either in favor of or against Arendt's suggestion.


There are literally libraries of data to work with. Two substantial authors in the field of Holocaust Studies, Daniel Goldhagen and Raul Hilberg offer two ends of a spectrum regarding the lives of Germans during that dark time. Goldhagen argues for a mass population of "willing executioners" without which no Hitler was possible. Hilberg describes more of the social psychological, state bureaucratic militarist control model. But both state their conclusions by way of actual Germans, and Jewish, accounts and testimony.



Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:54 pm
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I appreciate the symmetry of Arendt's bookend discussions on the semantical considerations for the terms "force" and "temptation," and "obedience" and "support." And I don't mean to identify this as semantical in a pejorative way, as semantics is often colored. In fact, the bulk of Arendt's essay, from her introduction to the conclusion, demonstrates that in certain high-stakes situations the way we perceive something is clouded by how we speak about it. And the parallels for these terms seem clear: If one submits to "force," one is merely "obedient" to a will over which there is no control. However, if one submits to "temptation," then one offers "support" to those powers, and is thus implicated in the personal responsibility Arendt has described. And I think these statements speak very generally to Arendt's discussion throughout the essay



Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:23 am
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irishrose wrote:
I wonder now, does she mean for this marriage of the rational and the intuitive to edify both forms of judgment?


I'll have to think about this one a little, but offhand I'd say that, if the faculty she has in mind really does "function spontaneously", then it probably does involve itself in our judgments of others, whether Arendt thinks that's healthy or not. But I'd also say that reason provides a critical mechanism that allows us to veto those judgments -- else, how do you account for all those ostensibly good German's who did act in support of the Final Solution?

But I'll give the matter some thought and wait to see how you develop the idea further.



Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:32 am
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Mad wrote:
But I'd also say that reason provides a critical mechanism that allows us to veto those judgments -- else, how do you account for all those ostensibly good German's who did act in support of the Final Solution?


Quick clarification before I go on. You mean here that, in the instance of the "good Germans who acted in support of the Final Solution," it was reason that overrode what would have been an intuitive judgment of such acts?



Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:29 pm
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Rationalization, yes. If that's a function of reason, then an even more specific yes to your question. There had to be some rationalization involved in inverting a moral scheme that you've practiced your entire life. Even if the rationalization was just, "Everybody else is doing it," there's still an implicit line of reasoning involved, and in more than a few people it was probably a very conscious (even if not schematic) act of reasoning. All you need to do is assume the right premises, and logical thought can take you to any conclusion, no matter how horrific.



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I'm now half way through this essay having finally got my copy of Responsibility and Judgment imported from the USA. I just really enjoy reading Arendt as she is so lucid, humane and wise and wanted to quickly jump in with initial reactions. She opens this essay by with a nice quote: 'nothing is so entertaining as the discussion of a book nobody has read' to illustrate her bemusement at the debate generated by her Eichmann in Jerusalem, which obtained a life of its own from popular imagination around the nerves it struck, and I think her comments here on judgment and guilt have a relevance beyond her examples.

The first thing I really like in the essay is her comment about judgment which I interpret as a critique of the insidious function of cultural and moral relativism in stripping us of our right and ability to judge in matters of truth and ethics. Relativism is a dangerous postmodern trend, as it has the effect of making all conduct amoral except, ironically, judgment, which relativism condemns as a sin against the sole holy absolute of tolerance. Arendt implies that the postmodern worship of secular pluralism is more a problem of cultural elites than the mass of the population, but as she says of elites in the prologue "that they were small in number does not make them any less characteristic of the climate of the times". In this discussion she seems to share Heidegger's contempt for the public realm, as a domain of idle chatter, curiosity and ambiguity. There seems to be an underlying demand here for a new conceptualization of excellence as a high value.

The next issue is collective guilt. I like her comment that "every generation...is burdened with the sins of the fathers as it is blessed with the deeds of the ancestors." This has quite a resonance here in Australia, where guilt around imperial dispossession of Aboriginal people is a major political theme. Arendt presents a nuanced view on this by distinguishing political responsibility (yes) from personal responsibility (no) and condemning those who falsely claim personal guilt for a political problem for enabling the truly guilty to walk free. Her comment that every government and nation assumes political responsibility for the deeds and misdeeds of the past is spot on, but raises the issue of how to address this unexpiated guilt. Forgiveness, reconciliation, mercy, dissolving grace, truth, conscience, repentance, seem to me to be central Christian themes here. Linking back to the earlier theme of relativism, I don't think that we can assuage guilt by claiming a cultural and epistemic relativism in which traditional societies are seen as equal to modern western culture. The west, for all its faults, gathers up the accumulated progress of civilization which makes it so vastly more productive than isolated stone age tribes. And yet, there are values that emerge in isolated communities which have a lot to teach the monolithic juggernaut of empire. Reconciliation is a two way street.



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Arrrggghhhh...I can't get this out in any kind of useful way. This is mostly all just thinking out loud, but I figured I'd post it rather than not. Robert, I had meant to respond to your post, but I'm having such a difficult time getting my own thoughts down, I'll have to postpone that for now. I'm sure someone will give you some food for thought, soon enough.

Mad wrote:
All you need to do is assume the right premises, and logical thought can take you to any conclusion, no matter how horrific.


You know, for now, I think I'm going to play off this. It immediately informs where I was thinking of going next. Can the right premise, and the progression of logical thought, lead to horrific conclusions? I think the answer is clearly, yes. But for the purposes of this essay, the question Arendt seems to raise for me is will it, or, more so, must it inevitably? She references the argument heard at the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials: "every organization demands obedience to superiors as well as obedience to the laws of the land. Obedience is a political virtue of the first order, and without it no body politic could survive." A premise, which as we saw, did follow to its horrific conclusion. And Arendt admits the plausibility of such a legal defense for those trials, noting that the plausibility relies on Madison's statement that "all governments rest on consent." [Actually, I'm not sure why she invokes Madison here. It seems to me an idea that preceded Madison, and even when he did hit on it, it was in association with colleagues. In other words, I never thought this Madison's idea. And if I was going to hand the quote off to one of the Founding Fathers, I would think it would be Jefferson.] But Arendt clarifies that such plausibility relies on the fallacy that consent is equated with obedience. In the context of Nazi organization and implementation I can see where Arendt is going.

I think it odd, though, that Arendt offers one of the founding aspects of the Declaration of Independence, while noting that consent can be misconstrued to mean obedience. Now note, I'm not taking offense here



Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:51 am
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I want to add one quick thing to the above. With regard to the consent of the governed, the Founding Fathers were trying to devise a system of government that supported the notion that all free men are equal. Under that ideal, no equal man could reasonably rule over another equal. Thus the government derived its just power from the consent of the governed. Now the structure of Arendt's following sentence leads to a bit of confusion:

"Its plausibility rests on the truth that 'all governments,' in the words of Madison, even the most autocratic ones, even tyrannies, 'rest on consent'..."

I assume the words quoted in the text belong to Madison. I'm not sure, however, if it's explicit whether the parenthetical phrase "even the most autocratic ones, even tyrannies" refers also to Madison. But I think, no, that Arendt is making this claim herself. I can't say that I necessarily refute that consent of the governed, essentially, dictates all forms of government. As Arendt notes on the next page, one can only imagine how tyrannies and dictatorships would cease to function "if enough people would act 'irresponsibly' and refuse support, even without active resistance and rebellion..." But I think any discussion with regard to consent of the governed as applied to dictatorships, as applied specifically to the discussion of German involvement with the Nazi machine, is inherently different than a discussion of the consent of the governed with regard to republics.



Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:06 am
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Robert Tulip wrote:
The first thing I really like in the essay is her comment about judgment which I interpret as a critique of the insidious function of cultural and moral relativism in stripping us of our right and ability to judge in matters of truth and ethics.


Certainly a lot of her comments can be read in that light, but I don't think she herself has done much to bring relativism into the topic. I could be wrong on that, of course, but to say that she's offering a critique of moral relativism would seem to imply that she's dealing with the results of a largely philosophical shift. As Richard Rorty has noted, moral relativism has mostly entered public thought as critique -- the philosophers who have offered the observation that moral schemes are relative to context never seem to get noticed by layperson's until someone has something to say against moral relativism. So far as I can tell, the closest Arendt comes to broaching the issue is in her references to Nietzsche, who is often interpreted as a moral relativist, when a closer reading would, I think, entail the recognition that he neither described moral relativism as a fact of modern culture (rather, he diagnosed modern Europe as having contracted a gradually spreading case of nihilism) nor prescribed it as a remedy.

Rather, it seems to me that Arendt sees in the events of the 20th century a kind of bewildering effect. We are incapable of judging them not because we've bought into any notion of moral relativism, but simply because they're so astonishing, so unprecedented, so big. For a time, people tried to judge them according to the standards they had judged other events, and only through the attempt to do so did they recognize that the old standards were only incompletely applicable.

Quote:
Arendt implies that the postmodern worship of secular pluralism is more a problem of cultural elites than the mass of the population, but as she says of elites in the prologue "that they were small in number does not make them any less characteristic of the climate of the times".


Ah, I think you see what you're getting at. Throughout the book, Arendt does continually repeat that the German collaborators had abandoned their old moral norms as though morality were, as its etymology would imply, merely a set of customs that could be abandoned at will. But I don't think she intends that to be taken as evidence of motive. Rather than the thought of this relativity preceding the act, I think she takes it as a conclusion that people have been inclined to draw from the ease with which entire populations during the 20th century traded in their previously firm moral convictions.

Rose wrote:
Can the right premise, and the progression of logical thought, lead to horrific conclusions? I think the answer is clearly, yes.


The generally held conviction is that, if you've chosen your premises well, and if you're scrupulous in your logic, your conclusion will be, at the very least, true. It might still be horrific, but to get a conclusion that his horrific because false -- ie. to have arrived through logical consideration at the conclusion that it is morally justified to support the Nazi regime -- would require that your reasoning is in error at some point in the process -- either in its premises, or because of some logical fallacy.

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She references the argument heard at the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials: "every organization demands obedience to superiors as well as obedience to the laws of the land. Obedience is a political virtue of the first order, and without it no body politic could survive." A premise, which as we saw, did follow to its horrific conclusion.


From the point of view I offered above, a critical approach would begin with the question of whether or not the premise of that argument -- that obedience is a political virtue -- is true, or even plausible. Arendt seems to argue that obedience is not, in fact, a political virtue. On analogy with Mary McCarthy's example of the person with the gun held to their head, obedience is never fully the motivation of the citizen who acts in accord with the dictates of state. State orders are merely the temptation to act as the citizen would.

Another argument could be raised against that offered by the Nazi sympathizers. Rousseau argued in "The Social Contract" that obedience is due only to legitimate powers, and his argument has been broadly influential in the political philosophy of the last several hundred years. If that principle is granted, then an objection could be raised on the grounds that the Nazi government was not a legitimate authority, and that obedience was therefor not due it. That's not a line of inquiry that Arendt takes up, but it's there for consideration.

Quote:
But I think the use of such intuition, within both those judging acts, resides in the realm of judging with regard to personal responsibility.


I think that's a substantially correct interpretation of what Arendt meant. Ultimately, she's only talking about what a person decides to do of their own power, not how they judge the actions of others.

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So does Arendt mean to offer that subscription to a set of premises , to "standards and rules," inhibits that human capacity to judge intuitively to the point that it leads to conclusions like the Nazi Final Solution? It seems that Arendt gives a nod to reason, but it also seems that reason is maligned as that which leads to such horrific conclusions.


Well, this isn't going to be a popular suggestion around these parts, but I would say that Arendt is party to that suspicion of reason which developed in the 20th century mostly as a reaction to just the sort of event she's examining here. She certainly doesn't develop the theme of the dangers of total reason to the same extent as, say, Max Horkheimer or George Steiner, but it does seem to me that she wants to forward this intuitive form of judgment as a preserve, a kind of fall back position, against the sometimes menacing development of rational systems that can result in a horrific situation like the Holocaust. I wouldn't say that she rejects logical systemization altogether, but she is critical of any temptation to rely so heavily on such systems that we fail to employ our faculty for judgment.

As I've pointed out to Garicker in another context, there is actually a fairly long tradition of finding in systematic reason the means and methods to arriving at some of the worst atrocities in human history -- a tradition that winds its way through Neitzsche, Dadaism, surrealism, Camus, Satre, free jazz, and so on.

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Thus the government derived its just power from the consent of the governed. Now the structure of Arendt's following sentence leads to a bit of confusion:

"Its plausibility rests on the truth that 'all governments,' in the words of Madison, even the most autocratic ones, even tyrannies, 'rest on consent'..."


Here, too, I would say, is the influence of Rousseau. Rousseau argued that the basis for all political authority rested with covenants. (Incidentally, if anyone is interested, a more modern author, Guglielmo Ferrar, developed that notion in very interesting ways.) The specific term "consent" probably entered the general premise because it is more nebulous and thus more difficult to critique. Arendt is probably deriving her inclusion of autocratic, tyrannical governments in part from Rousseau and in part on analogy to her reference to Mary McCarthy.

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But I think any discussion with regard to consent of the governed as applied to dictatorships, as applied specifically to the discussion of German involvement with the Nazi machine, is inherently different than a discussion of the consent of the governed with regard to republics.


Can you be more specific as to how? I think it's an interesting assertion, but I'm not sure straight off how the distinction would apply.



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I had intended to clarify the above, but still needed to figure out why I thought that way. Also, keep in mind that I said "I think," I didn't mean the above as an assertion so much as a suggestion or even an inquiry.

But it seems to me that the motivations and the structure of a republic are by definition different than any kind of autocracy. An autocracy is a form of government that invokes the rule of one. A republic is a form of government that invokes the rule of many. The power of government of an autocracy belongs to the one, individual ruler. The power of a republic belongs to the government itself, as represented by its people. To a certain degree, power and responsibility should be compatible. The person who holds the power, also holds the responsibility. So it seems to me that in a republic the matter of power and responsibility is a continual consideration for the people. Thus consent, and by implication assent, becomes so much more a part of the everyday dialogue within a republic than it ever would for an autocracy, where the question of power and responsibility belong to the single dictator.

And I don't really presume that this changes much with regard to personal responsibility and consent. But, in a real context, I think it's difficult to assume that a person living in an autocracy will as readily consider consent, and whether or not they possess the ability to offer or withhold it, as a person living in a republic. And again, to clarify, these aren't assertions so much as musings.



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irishrose wrote:
Also, keep in mind that I said "I think," I didn't mean the above as an assertion so much as a suggestion or even an inquiry.


Touch cheeky, are we?

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An autocracy is a form of government that invokes the rule of one. A republic is a form of government that invokes the rule of many.


In theory, yes, but a pretty crucial question is that of how either form of government implements that rule. If they tend to arrive at governance by the a similar set of institutions, then it's plausible that they'd have the same relationship to the principle of consent. In other words, the consent of the governed is more express in a republic -- in large part because the mechanism of sufferage functions as a symbol of that consent -- but an autocracy still requires the voluntary participation of the people in order to make it operable. As Arendt has pointed out earlier in the essay, National Socialism ultimately functioned as an autocracy wherein the Fuhrer's will was law, but it could not have functioned at all without the consent of the people. The important distinction, I would say, is that between express and implicit consent. That's a distinction with real consequences for the way in which a society functions, but it the implicit nature of consent in a autocratic government does not alter that consent plays a part.

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The power of government of an autocracy belongs to the one, individual ruler. The power of a republic belongs to the government itself, as represented by its people.


"Belongs", or is granted?

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Thus consent, and by implication assent, becomes so much more a part of the everyday dialogue within a republic than it ever would for an autocracy, where the question of power and responsibility belong to the single dictator.


In theory, I'd say that's true. But in practice, it looks to me as though the individual feels as though their consent counts for little and that it may actually count for some margin less. It most cases, it is little more than tacit consent. That consent is part of the dialogue does not, in itself, change the political weight of a single person's consent.

Quote:
But, in a real context, I think it's difficult to assume that a person living in an autocracy will as readily consider consent, and whether or not they possess the ability to offer or withhold it, as a person living in a republic.


In most cases, I don't think they will. Part of how an autocracy functions is by shifting the individual's perspective so as to make their efficacy as an individual seem comparatively poor. But that doesn't mean their actual power is any less than that of a person living in a republic. The fact of differences in perception are probably the most crucial difference between the consenting in an autocracy and the consenting in a republic.


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If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved, Caesar would have spared his country, America would have been discovered more gradually, and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed. -- Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus"


Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:01 am
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Mad wrote:
Touch cheeky, are we?


Moi...? I didn't mean to be, I just don't want to get in the habit of trying to defend something which may have been a misconception to begin with. Thus far, I'm still on pretty shaky ground with Arendt and I'm still just working my ideas out



Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:09 am
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irishrose wrote:
Moi...? I didn't mean to be, I just don't want to get in the habit of trying to defend something which may have been a misconception to begin with.


And here I thought you might be poking fun at me and DH for our debate over whether Arendt is asserting or suggesting a definition of morality.

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But when it comes down to participation, I'm not convinced that the people who are subject to, or subject themselves to, that participation, within a dictatorship, recognize that it is voluntary. Whereas, in a republic, I think it is more explicit that the consent comes from the governed.


I see the distinction you're drawing. I'm just not sure how it operates in the discussion. Does it matter that the subjects of an autocracy might not realize that it exists only with their consent? So long as they're rendering that consent, I'm not sure it does.

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But, correct me if I'm wrong, dictators can assume power without consent, i.e. without it being granted them.


They can claim power, but I'm not sure that they can assume it in any meaningful sense, at least, not by their own power.

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And, though I've never lived in an autocracy, I'd imagine the matter of consent gets very little air time.


In a way, I think it might. In the Sudan case we were talking about in another thread, for example, it looks as though the protests calling for the death of the British teacher were, in part, staged to stir up public outcry. That reflects a concern over the people's support, and the very fact that people would protest in that case seems to indicate that they also think their input important.

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Can we realistically expect citizens under an autocracy to withhold consent in the same way that we would expect citizens of a republic?


Let's assume that they can't. What prevents them from withholding their consent? The Nazi party came to power on a wave of national support, so we'll probably have to look to other autocracies for some indication of how the notion of consent fails.



Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:20 am
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