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The Custom House – Who Has the Right to Judge? (Extended Conversation w/Benjamin Robinson)

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On this episode of The Custom House we’ll use the work of political theorist Hannah Arendt to try to understand how committing heinous crimes against our neighbors can, under the right conditions, simply be considered normal. In this episode of The Custom House we speak with Ben Robinson, associate professor in the German Department at Indiana University, about discretion and judgement. We use the work of Hannah Arendt to think about how we understand the concepts of evil, the ideal, and identity in the “post-Eichmann” age of socialized banality. The extended cut includes discussions of Arendt’s Vita Active detailed in her book The Human Condition. We understand how a totalitarian state (be it governmental, i.e., the Leviathan, or an inverted “social/commercial engine” as described by Sheldon Wolin) collapses human work into mere labor. Arendt understands real freedom as Action and this is primarily action at some risk in the polis. This is distinguished against the risklessness of social media and “like” button.

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