By Robert Meister

The best way mainstream human rights discourse speaks of such evils because the Holocaust, slavery, or apartheid places them solidly some time past. Its problematic suggestions of "transitional" justice inspire destiny generations to maneuver ahead by way of making a fake assumption of closure, allowing those people who are to blame to elude accountability. This method of background, universal to late-twentieth-century humanitarianism, doesn't presuppose that evil ends whilst justice starts. really, it assumes time sooner than justice is the instant to place evil within the past.

Merging examples from literature and background, Robert Meister confronts the matter of closure and the solution of old injustice. He boldly demanding situations the empty ethical common sense of "never again" or the theoretical aid of evil to a cycle of violence and counterviolence, damaged just once evil is remembered for what it was once. Meister criticizes such equipment for his or her deferral of justice and susceptibility to exploitation and elaborates the improper ethical common sense of "never again" in terms of Auschwitz and its evolution right into a twenty-first-century doctrine of the accountability to guard.

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Extra info for After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (Columbia Studies in Political Thought/Political History)

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I s means that those who must be won over to the new regime will inevitably include those who were conformists in the old regime—bystander and beneficiary alike. Because the recent literature on transitional justice focuses on overcoming the causes of past inaction that are common to beneficiary and bystander, it is much less concerned with tracing the persistent effects of unjust advantage from the past on social and economic relations under the successor regime. 17 ἀ e underlying reason why the literature on transitional justice does not focus on beneficiaries is that since “new democracies do not start with new citizens,” they must offer “most of the compromised .

14 From this perspective, a desired outcome of transitional justice is the creation of a vibrant civic culture of human rights activism—groups in civil society that will be vigilant in calling future abuses to the attention of the general public. 15 ἀ ere is, however, very little discussion of the role of victims (seen more broadly) in relation to the structural beneficiaries, those who received material and social advantage from the old regime and whose continuing well-being in the new order could not have withstood the victory of unreconciled victims.

Ose unreconciled victims who remain are compared to “extremists” on the other side whose reactionary embrace of violence plays on the fears of beneficiaries that they will be victimized in their turn. ἀ e political effect of recent Human Rights Discourse is thus to marginalize those on both sides who are still willing to fight on. In this social compact, victims get to claim a “moral victory” but only insofar as they are willing to regard it as victory enough. ἀ ey show themselves not to have been morally damaged by reassuring continuing beneficiaries of evil that they will not now be treated as perpetrators.

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