We were off to California where, among many other comings and goings, Abigail spoke at Claremont University about her book, A Good Look at Evil. She was explaining that Hannah Arendt’s thesis – that evil is merely banal – is mistaken. Then a well-dressed, well-spoken man on the front row started on a little speech. He had looked at all the evidence as “objectively” as he could, he said, and then he rolled out a list of ways Jews had brought the Holocaust on themselves. It was as if he had memorized the Nazi handbook from 1938! I wondered, how on earth will Abigail respond? “I denounce you from floor to ceiling!” she declared, her body shaking. “I will not enter a discussion of any of these points.” They are not facts, she explained, but Nazi canards. She saw that it would be a mistake to engage this man as if he were an honest seeker after truth.
It was an extraordinary moment. Abigail went there to talk about Evil, and Evil walked in the door!
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