What Is Walter Benjamin's Statement That Civilization Always Masks Injustice?

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McClellan quotes Walter Benjamin’s statement that “civilization always masks injustices committed in its name.” These injustices are discussed in detail, focusing on Napoleon’s forced appropriation of works for France, and Britain’s exploitation of world conflict to acquire the Parthenon statues from Greece, and Germany’s confiscation of artworks during WWII. Reminiscent of the author’s statements in the introductory chapter, this practice of removing artworks from other countries often occurs in reaction to political events. The author also invokes Benjamin’s theory of lost ‘aura” as he describes Quatremere de Quincy’s objections to the removal of artifacts from their original source. De Quincy, like Benjamin, claimed that removing artifacts
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