The Interrogation of the Good

I don’t remember exactly when I read a comment about this poem but that time I thought that it is worth to share it so here it is.
“The Interrogation of the Good” by Bertolt Brecht, which Slavov Zizek quotes in Violence to mock the neoliberalism of American progressives and professionals.

The comment I read about this poem says that “Brecht’s poem goes far beyond Hannah Arendt in blaming the average person who thinks he’s apolitical, ‘just doing his job,’ for enabling political and societal breakdowns through complacence. I can’t help from thinking that the poem is something of a joke, but there’s also an unmistakable hint at the absolute hatred that people bear against one another when things fall apart. It has to be one of the most scathing condemnations of political apathy and shallow philanthropic liberalism ever written.”

Judge by yourself.

Step forward: we hear
That you are a good man.

You cannot be bought, but the lightning
Which strikes the house, also
Cannot be bought.
You hold to what you said.
But what did you say?
You are honest, you say your opinion.
Which opinion?
You are brave.
Against whom?
You are wise.
For whom?
You do not consider your personal advantages.
Whose advantages do you consider then?
You are a good friend.
Are you also a good friend of the good people?

Hear us then: we know.
You are our enemy. This is why we shall
Now put you in front of a wall. But in consideration
of your merits and good qualities
We shall put you in front of a good wall and shoot you
With a good bullet from a good gun and bury you
With a good shovel in the good earth.


“We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when created them.”
— Albert Einstein

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