] amplification can contribute to that
participation of victims, and to victims own distancing from, and
resistance to, the truth about the mass murder of their fellows. (Hence the
failure of many Jews in Germany and Europe to recognize the danger they faced,
and the relative inactivity of most American Jews despite increasing evidence
of Jewish genocide in Europe.)
The combination of relative silence and
organizational reach puts the bureaucracy in the best position to plan the
details of genocide. That original involvement in planning contributes in turn
to the bureaucracy's normalization of a genocidal universe.133 Mass murder is everywhere but at the same time
(through the efforts of the bureaucracy) nowhere. There is only a flow of
events to which most people in the environment (as Dr. B. said of Auschwitz
doctors) come to say yes. To say no would take one outside that flow, outside
of normal social existence, outside of reality. One seeks instead the most
humane path within the going project.
Yet it is a mistake
to speak of bureaucracy as faceless and monolithic. The
faces are there, even if hidden and merged into a mass. And the apparent
monolith can encompass divergent and contending positions. These conflicts make
up part of the dynamic of any bureaucracy, even in totalistic circumstances.
People vary considerably in how they function in bureaucracies, and the
bureaucracies themselves vary in their relationships to political regimes.
Bureaucracies can give rise to initiative for pursuing genocide, even at
relatively low levels (as we have seen to be the case with Nazi bureaucrats,
including doctors). That initiative is. likely, to reflect an individual or a
groups keen sense of what is desired by the regimes leaders, to
whom bureaucracies, at least totalistic ones, are likely to be closely attuned.
Bureaucratic practice also contributes to the later cover-up of
genocide by not only dampening everyones responses but also serving to
hide individual perpetrators. The attempt of German doctors to suppress the
truth of their profound involvement in Nazi genocide is a case in point, even
if that attempt eventually failed; there were similar patterns in Armenian
Bureaucracy, then, does much to render into a machine the
human killing network and to deamplify the killing process for all concerned:
the experience of killing for perpetrators, and the actuality of killing for
bystanders and potential victims. But bureaucratic deamplification and hiding
should not be confused with nonresponsibility.
| No individual self is inherently evil, murderous,
genocidal. Yet under certain conditions virtually any self is capable of
becoming all of these. A self is not a thing or a person but an inclusive
representation or symboliza- [