Hannah Arendt, On Violence

Progress, as we have come to understand it, means growth, the relentless process of more and more, of bigger and bigger… (and) the need for…the anonymous power of the administrators… Monopolization of power causes the drying up or oozing away of all authentic power sources in the country…. This generation, trained like its predecessors in hardly anything but the various brands of the my-share-of-the-pie social and political theories, has taught us a lesson about manipulation, or, rather, its limits, which we would do well not to forget… The manipulation addicts, those who fear it unduly no less than those who have set their hopes on it, hardly notice when the chickens come home to roost… They discovered what we call today the Establishment and what earlier was called the System, and it was this discovery that made them turn to the praise of violent action…. It goes against the very nature of self-interest to be enlightened… The self qua self cannot reckon in terms of long-range interest… Self-interest, when asked to yield to “true” interest — that is, the interest of the world as distinguished from that of the self — will always reply, Near is my shirt, but nearer is my skin.

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