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Karl Jaspers on Censorship:

Politisch und psychologisch ist der interessanteste Aspekt dieser ganzen Geschichte wohl das merkwürdige Doppelspiel der Nazibehörden in Dänemark, die ganz offenbar die Befehle aus Berlin sabotierten. Dieses einzige uns bekannte Beispiel von offenem Widerstand einer Bevölkerung scheint zu zeigen, daß die Nazis, die solchem Widerstand begegneten, nicht nur opportunistisch nachgaben, sondern gewissermaßen ihre Meinung änderten: unter Umständen haben offenbar auch sie die Ausrottung eines ganzen Volkes nicht mehr so selbstverständlich gefunden. Sie waren auf prinzipiellen Widerstand gestoßen, und ihre "Härte" schmolz wie Butter in der Sonne - sie brachten sogar schüchterne Anfänge echten Mutes auf. Daß das Ideal der "Härte" - wenn auch nicht das der Rücksichtslosigkeit -, von ein paar halbirren Rohlingen abgesehen, nichts weiter war als eine Lebenslüge, hinter der sich ein hemmungsloses Bedürfnis nach Konformität um jeden Preis verbarg, trat auf deutlichste in den Nürnberger Prozessen zutage, wo die Angeklagten einander beschuldigten und verrieten und der Welt versicherten, daß sie "immer dagegen gewesen" seien, oder - wie später Eichmann - behaupteten, ihre besten Eigenschaften seien von ihren Vorgesetzten "mißbraucht" worden. [..] In der völlig veränderten Atmosphäre nach dem Ende des Krieges besaß nicht einer von ihnen den Schneid, die nationalsozialistische Weltanschauung zu verteidigen, obgleich fast jeder sich darüber klar sein mußte, daß er für sich selbst nichts zu hoffen hatte.

-- Hannah Arendt

Hobbes was the true, though never fully recognized, philosopher of the bourgeoisie because he realized that acquisition of wealth conceived as a never-ending process can be guaranteed only by the seizure of political power, for the accumulating process must sooner or later force open all existing territorial limits. He foresaw that a society which had entered the path of never-ending acquisition had to engineer a dynamic political organization capable of a corresponding never-ending process of power generation. He even, through sheer force of imagination, was able to outline the main psychological traits of the new type of man who would fit into such a society and its tyrannical body politic. He foresaw the necessary idolatry of power itself by this new human type, that he would be flattered at being called a power-thirsty animal, although actually society would force him to surrender all his natural forces, his virtues and his vices, and would make him the poor meek little fellow who has not even the right to rise against tyranny, and who, far from striving for power, submits to any existing government and does not stir even when his best friend falls an innocent victim to an incomprehensible raison d'etat.

For a Commonwealth based on the accumulated and monopolized power of all its individual members necessarily leaves each person powerless, deprived of his natural and human capacities. It leaves him degraded into a cog in the power-accumulating machine, free to console himself with sublime thoughts about the ultimate destiny of this machine, which itself is constructed in such a way that it can devour the globe simply by following its own inherent law.

The ultimate destructive purpose of this Commonwealth is at least indicated in the philosophical interpretation of human equality as an "equality of ability" to kill. Living with all other nations "in the condition of a perpetual war, and upon the confines of battle, with their frontiers armed. and canons planted against their neighbors round about," it has no other law of conduct but the "most conducing to [its] benefit" and will gradually devour weaker structures until it comes to a last war "which provideth for every man, by Victory, or Death.

By "Victory or Death," the Leviathan can indeed overcome all political limitations that go with the existence of other peoples and can envelop the whole earth in its tyranny. But when the last war has come and every man has been provided for, no ultimate peace is established on earth: the power-accumulating machine, without which continual expansion would not have been achieved, needs more material to devour in its never-ending process. If the last victorious Commonwealth cannot proceed to "annex the planets," it can only proceed to destroy itself in order to begin anew the never-ending process of power generation.

-- Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism"

I cannot tell why the spokesmen I have cited want the developments I forecast to become true. Some of them have told me that they work on them for the morally bankrupt reason that "If we don't do it, someone else will." They fear that evil people will develop superintelligent machines and use them to oppress mankind, and that the only defense against these enemy machines will be superintelligent machines controlled by us, that is, by well-intentioned people. Others reveal that they have abdicated their autonomy by appealing to the "principle" of technological inevitability. But, finally, all I can say with assurance is that these people are not stupid. All the rest is mystery.

-- Joseph Weizenbaum

The salvation of the world depends only on the individual whose world it is. At least, every individual must act as if the whole future of the world, of humanity itself, depends on him. Anything less is a shirking of responsibility and is itself a dehumanizing force, for anything less encourages the individual to look upon himself as a mere actor in a drama written by anonymous agents, as less than a whole person, and that is the beginning of passivity and aimlessness.

-- Joseph Weizenbaum