Monday, April 28, 2014

Arendt on the Deprivation of Human Rights and Humanity

According to Arendt there is a crucial difference between human rights-- which are given in a political society-- and the humanity, even more basic than these political freedoms--which is access to a political society in itself (296). Stateless people are deprived of their human rights but on an even more basic level they are deprived of their humanity because they are barred from entry into a political society, thus they are barred from entry into humanity and the human rights that could come after. Political society makes one human because it keeps you in a place where you opinions and actions matter (296). When excluded from political society, views and actions don't matter. Stateless people are unable to even fight for their freedom because their "opinions are insignificant" and their "actions are ineffective" (296). Because we have deprived stateless people of their humanity we have submitted them to savage-like conditions and we have reverted them back to savages in our fully-civilized world (302). So not only have we exiled these people from society but we have created a group of barbarians outside of our civilized world which will only threaten our own political structure (302).

1 comment:

  1. This is really well put Gina, and is a testament to the intellectual powers of good writing: that it can bring clarity and new thought. I don't know how many times I've talked about how individuals are stripped of human rights and rendered non-human by this state of affairs, but I don't know that I've made the step further to ask what they have become if they are not-human. And the answer is, barbarians.

    (I hope this doesn't sound like sarcasm, because it isn't.)


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