Convincing Structuralist Argument

The final lines of one of the scariest books I’ve read in a long time, Götz Aly & Susanne Heim’s Architects of Annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction:


Our study has shown that the modern praxis-oriented social sciences and the reception of their findings in the seats of political power played a significant part in the decisions that led to systematic mass murder. If the links between Auschwitz and visionary German projects of the time for a modernized and pacified Europe are denied or ignored, then Germany’s crimes appear as a descent into barbarism and a break with Western civilization—rather than a potentiality inherent within it…

…External circumstance changed profoundly in 1945. But that change was by no means irreversible. The particular historical constellation in which such murderous plans could be carried out is no longer in place—not here, not now. Perhaps it [the Holocaust] was unique—in every sense of the word. But the calculating, expediency-driven thinking in which mass murder became a ‘useful’ instrument of structural planning and development policy—that remains very much of the present.

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