日期:2021-05-10 16:00





If violence is so rousing, it would seem to be in direct proportion to its power to suspend anything vaguely resembling thought, to release the rush of blood that gives you no time to pause. It allows no introspection, even though – or because – violence plunges so deeply into who we are. A law-breaker at the summit of politics is enticing. Arendt wrote of the danger to the social fabric posed by a world in which state authority and its laws have degenerated to the point where civil order and democracy, or even mere decency, come to be felt as treacherous: "Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognise it – the quality of temptation." A lawless regime relies on the hidden guilt of human subjects, drawing them into the illicit, dissolute world to which everybody already at least partly belongs in the unconscious (no one is fully innocent in their dreams; forbidden thoughts are the property of everyone). Or, in the words of a southern Baptist woman, asked on BBC television how she could vote for Trump given his moral failings: "We are all sinners."






"Why", asked German columnist Hatice Akyün in the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, after the murder in June 2019 of Walter Lübcke, a member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party (CDU), "are the people of my country not flooding to the streets in disgust?" Lübcke had been killed by a neo-Nazi as revenge for his sympathetic stance on migration. In October 2019, a video was released by a pro-Trump group with connections to the White House, which depicted Trump killing opponents and political journalists (in one sequence, the faces of all those shot, stabbed and punched were covered with the logo of CNN). When challenged, the organiser of the website insisted that the video was merely "satirical": "Hate-speech is a made-up word. You can't cause violence with words."




There is a poison in the air, and it is spreading. This world of sanctioned violence, violence elevated to the level of licensed pleasure, is by no means exclusive to Trump and Johnson – even if, by general recognition, they similarly combine the qualities of self-serving autocrat and clown. The glow of attraction between them rivalled that of Reagan and Thatcher, whose belligerent neoliberalism in the 80s prepared the ground for so much of the destructive global order that has followed. But the rise of dictators across the world who boast of their prowess and nurse their distastes – in Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Brazil, India – suggests that we are living, or may be on the verge of living once more, what Arendt described as temptation gone awry.






1.by no means 决不


On matters of principle we should be clear-cut in attitude, and by no means be equivocal.




2.boast of 吹牛,自夸


Nobody should boast of his learning.