Modern Civil Society - Essay Example

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Modern Civil Society “Total Domination” is an essay written by Hannah Arendt, who was a philosopher of German Jewish politics, which explains that total domination is one of the ideas that came out of totalitarianism. Totalitarians believe that a governor has the absolute power to take control over a nation and the lives of humans…
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Download file to see previous pages He believed that success meant leading a state of nature to civil society; however, the idea of combining every man who is free creates an agreement between people, and thus government is needed. Rousseau believed that people should give up some of their liberties and be governed in order to provide their own safety and other social benefits, yet Arendt has explained the disadvantages of government who have taken total control of their people. While Arendt and Rousseau both agree that slavery is an inhumane system, they have different views on people being controlled by the government. According to Arendt, the Nazis dehumanized and exterminated Jews by having the idea that everything is possible and everything is permitted. Once the idea had been formed, the purposes of concentration and extermination camps were designed to exterminate and reduce a kind of human being into an almost nonexistent species. Under total terror power control, these people who were in the camps often considered keeping themselves alive instead of fighting for freedom, which led them to start losing their thinking skills and began building up their abilities to obey. After the victims began losing their human behavior and their own personalities, they had been trained as “Pavlov’s dog, which, as we know, was trained to eat not when it was hungry but when a bell rang (Arendt 124)”. In the essay, Arendt stated that under the terror, those human beings had been turned into a “mere thing, into something that even animals are not (124)”. In other words, Arendt stated that by classifying human beings, Nazis saw Jews as trifling matter who have been “treated as if they no longer existed, as if what happened to them were no longer of any interest to anybody, as if they were already dead (132)”. They did not treat Jews as human beings, and surely they disregard Jews’ lives. Rousseau had a similar idea, arguing that no one is born to be a slave, and every human being is born equally and only they can choose their destiny: Far earlier, Aristotle, too, had maintained that men are not by nature equal, but that some are born to be slaves, others to be masters. Aristotle was right: but he mistook the effect for the cause. Nothing is more certain than that a man born into a condition of slavery is by nature. A slave in fetters loses everything—even the desire to be freed from them. He grows to love his slavery (61). According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, some people are naturally slaves; however, others are naturally masters. In other words, a slave is born to be owned by another human being, and has no freedom; they even lose their opportunity to be set free from their owner. However, by defining the word “natural”, Rousseau explained that the nature for a human being is the idea that all men are born free, which means that all people have natural liberty, including slaves. He claimed that it is ridiculous for a newborn human being to spend a lifetime as a slave, which might mean being locked up with the owner in poor conditions and forced to work for hardly any profit. Furthermore, Rousseau believed that a man could be born in the position of a slave, but the man must have his natural liberty that belongs to himself and only he has the right to decide his destiny. Arendt and Rousseau both had similar ideas that racism and slavery are inhumane actions that should not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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