After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (Columbia Studies in - download pdf or read online

Human Rights

By Robert Meister

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

Merging examples from literature and historical past, Robert Meister confronts the matter of closure and the solution of historic 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 was once. Meister criticizes such tools for his or her deferral of justice and susceptibility to exploitation and elaborates the incorrect ethical common sense of "never again" on the subject of Auschwitz and its evolution right into a twenty-first-century doctrine of the accountability to guard.

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

Example text

To be a victim is precisely to experience oneself as the object of hostile desires that one does not experience oneself as having. ) is always imagined 34 | the ideology and ethics of human rights as someone else who can then be properly blamed for acting on them. ἀ us blaming is a direct way of experiencing oneself as the object (victim) of desires on which it would be reprehensible to act. It is also and indirectly a way of innocently reexperiencing the desires that would make one capable of having victims in one’s turn.

It is also a declaration of war against a new enemy. Carl Schmitt made a similar point about human rights consensus expressed by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the subsequent establishment of the League of Nations in that same year, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 outlawing aggressive war. ”41 When a state fights its political enemy in the name of humanity it . . seeks to usurp a universal concept against its military opponent . . in the same way that one can misuse peace, justice, progress, and civilization in order to claim these as one’s own and to deny the same to the enemy.

29 Because distributive justice will inevitably have a retributive side in states recovering from traumatic histories, the project of “transition” presents itself as a period of grace in which redistributive claims in the name of victims are indefinitely deferred. In a still recovering nation, former victims of the old regime cannot attempt to win without challenging the consensus that the historical evil is truly past: the passive beneficiaries of a defeated evil have a lighter burden; they have no need to defend a past that former victims still need to attack.

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