The Extraordinariness of Evil

(Wikimedia Commons)


Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem is famous — or, in the eyes of many, infamous — for its use of the phrase “The banality of evil” in describing the logistical author of the Holocaust. In Arendt’s estimation, Adolph Eichmann was uncanny because he was a bland functionary who spoke in clichés and acted without thinking — he was, indeed, according to Arendt, incapable of thought and therefore acting with…