Hannah Arendt spends considerable time in her book “The Origins of Totalitarianism” addressing the creation of “stateless” people after WWI and the repartitioning of Europe that occurred. This is the belief of the “better” in action: “Well, you may live here, but you’re not really one of us.” In the case of the Jews, of course, they had long been somewhat separate from society, purposely, and this became enshrined in law after the war. Gypsies and so many other “misplaced” peoples also found themselves “stateless.” She calls this the “end of the rights of man” as equals on this earth. Thus began the slippery slope….

“They thereby admitted — and were quickly given the opportunity to prove it practically with the rise of stateless people — that the transformation of the state from an instrument of the law into an instrument of the nation had been completed; the nation had conquered the state, national interest had priority over law long before Hitler could pronounce “right is what is good for the German people.” Here again the language of the mob was only the language of public opinion cleansed of hypocrisy and restraint.

“Certainly the danger of this development had been inherent in the structure of the nation-state since the beginning. But insofar as the establishment of nation-states coincided with the establishment of constitutional government, they always had represented and been based upon the rule of law as against the rule of arbitrary administration and despotism. So that when the precarious balance between nation and state, between national interest and legal institutions broke down, the disintegration of this form of government and of organization of peoples came about with terrifying swiftness.”

Terrifying swiftness…

Writer, painter, cat fancier, troublemaker, democratic socialist, & antifascist.

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