Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Preview of Ads to Come | Bill O'Reilly's Lesbian Fantas... »

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

On Forgiveness

posted by on July 10 at 10:32 AM

Hannah Arendt once wrote:

“The great boldness and unique pride of the concept of forgiveness as a basic relationship between humans does not lie in the seeming reversal of the calamity of guilt and error into the possible virtues of magnanimity or solidarity. It is rather that forgiving attempts to do the impossible, to undo what has been done, and it succeeds in making a new beginning where beginnings seemed to have become no longer possible… The only political expression of forgiveness found [in our times] is the purely negative right to pardon….”
Libby is of course an example of negative forgiveness, but there is also something negative about the form of forgiveness that David Vitter received from his wife and God.

“Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counselling”
This forgiveness is as empty as Libby’s pardon. It’s empty (negative) because it only goes one way—always to him; never from him, always to those close to the president, never to those who are not close to the president.

RSS icon Comments


The only forgiveness for Treason is a bullet in the brain by a firing squad.


Posted by Will in Seattle | July 10, 2007 11:16 AM

Christ, what a terrible writer she was.

Posted by karst | July 10, 2007 11:48 AM

Forgiveness should definitely be an ideal, but it is meaningless without true contrition on the part of the perpetrator. And forgiveness does not obviate the need for justice.

I would be happy to forgive Libby if I felt he were contrite and if he demonstrated remorse by fulfilling his obligation to society in the form of serving his sentence.

Posted by D Huygens | July 10, 2007 12:46 PM

Contrite? He's a Red Bushie.

They don't even know how to SPELL contrite.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 10, 2007 1:05 PM

Exactly. Which is why he is not deserving of forgiveness.

Posted by D Huygens | July 10, 2007 2:51 PM

Arendt's first language was German. A lot of her books were written and then translated. The works she wrote in English were as good as you could expect the writing to be, and her style certainly fit in with the blocky kind of text you found in political theory of the time. Her arguments are clear, concise and well reasoned. And that's good enough.

Posted by Jay | July 10, 2007 7:53 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).