Download PDF by Robert Meister: After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (Columbia Studies in

By Robert Meister

The way mainstream human rights discourse speaks of such evils because the Holocaust, slavery, or apartheid places them solidly some time past. Its tricky options of "transitional" justice motivate destiny generations to maneuver ahead through making a fake assumption of closure, permitting those people who are accountable to elude accountability. This method of background, universal to late-twentieth-century humanitarianism, doesn't presuppose that evil ends while justice starts. quite, it assumes time earlier than justice is the instant to place evil within the past.

Merging examples from literature and heritage, Robert Meister confronts the matter of closure and the solution of ancient injustice. He boldly demanding situations the empty ethical good judgment of "never again" or the theoretical relief of evil to a cycle of violence and counterviolence, damaged just once evil is remembered for what it was once. Meister criticizes such equipment for his or her deferral of justice and susceptibility to exploitation and elaborates the unsuitable 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 info for After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (Columbia Studies in Political Thought/Political History)

Example text

E Human Rights movement also aims, of course, to persuade the passive supporters of the old order to abjure illegitimate means of counterrevolutionary politics—the repressive and fraudulent techniques of power that they once condoned or ignored. For the victim who was morally the ideology and ethics of human rights | 25 undamaged or subsequently “healed” or both, the past would be truly over once its horrors are acknowledged by national consensus. ἀi s consensus on the moral meaning of the past often comes at the expense of cutting off future claims that would normally seem to follow from it.

E question of whether something could redeem past human sacrifice, or justify collective self-sacrifice, pervades my concern throughout this book with issues such as revolution vs. compassion, exploitation vs. succession, St. Paul vs. Muhammad, messianism vs. the prophetic tradition—and the special roles projected onto “Jews” in each of these debates. I conclude that such debates are still about justice, after all, but that justice itself is an intertemporal problem (the supersession of one time by another) and not simply an interpersonal problem.

E idea that we overcome evil through the way we speak in the present of a completed (or repeated) past owes as much to norms of grammar as to norms of ethics. ) inconsistent with repeating the past. Ongoing beneficiaries who deny that the past was evil are thus denounced for repeating it, but so, too, are victims who reject the new discursive norms for distinguishing the present from a now completed past. The Question of Beneficiaries ἀ e great bulk of recent literature on human rights focuses on the relations between former victims and perpetrators after an evil regime has been defeated.

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