News

A Milestone Election

The re-election of Barack Obama is a milestone. Barack Obama will always be remembered as the first black President of the United States. He will now also be remembered as the first black two-term President, one who was re-elected in spite of nearly 8% unemployment and a feeling of deep unease in society. He is…Read more A Milestone Election Posted on 9 November 2012 | 5:48 pm

Robert Frost on Thinking and Voting

“Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.” -Robert Frost Posted on 6 November 2012 | 12:08 pm

The Election: What’s Freedom Got to do with it?

“…the enormous pathos which we find in both the American and French Revolutions, this ever-repeated insistence that nothing comparable in grandeur and significance had every happened in the whole recorded history of mankind…” -Hannah Arendt, On Revolution Although my political memory is admittedly brief, I cannot remember an American presidential election day that was anticipated…Read more The Election: What’s Freedom Got to do with it? Posted on 5 November 2012 | 2:19 pm

Asking—and Answering—the Question: Does the President Matter?

The Arendt Center recently completed its fifth annual conference, which revolved this year around the past and present state of the U.S. presidency. I attended most of the proceedings, and the presentations and discussions I witnessed were worthy of close attention. Perhaps above all, the conference sharpened my awareness for the prerogatives, possibilities, and limits…Read more Asking—and Answering—the Question: Does the President Matter? Posted on 2 October 2012 | 2:33 pm

Thinking Challenge Winners

The winners for the Arendt Center’s second annual thinking challenge have been chosen. The competition was fierce and we received a large number of high quality entries from multiple countries on multiple continents. But, these entries stood out to our judges: Mamfatou Baldeh T. Mathilde Monge Daniel Perlman Benjamin Powers Congratulations to our winners! Click…Read more Thinking Challenge Winners Posted on 25 September 2012 | 11:02 am

Fact Checking the Fact Checkers

The Convention season has unleashed an avalanche of half-truths and untruths. Some see this as politics as usual. Others claim we are living in a post-truth world. Stephen Colbert has long understood that our present condition has transformed truth into truthiness. One response to our new practice of political lying is the rise of the…Read more Fact Checking the Fact Checkers Posted on 11 September 2012 | 12:20 pm

Redefining “Liberal”

I am not usually hanging out on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website, but a former student and current Arendt Center Intern alerted me to his Reverence’s recent review of Marilynne Robinson’s newest book, When I Was A Child I Read Books. It turns out the Archbishop and I share a fondness in brilliant contemporary authors:…Read more Redefining “Liberal” Posted on 24 August 2012 | 12:26 pm

When the Fiction Ends

Beyond all the silliness attached to the Todd Akin case this week, the only meaningful comment came from Rachel Riederer. In an essay in Guernica, Riederer writes: The content of [Akin’s] statements was, of course, ridiculous and offensive. But the comments struck me most as a rhetorical move, one that’s in wide usage but rarely…Read more When the Fiction Ends Posted on 23 August 2012 | 11:12 am

Miracles and Politics

In one of the Facebook comments responding to my post about Paul Ryan, a friend suggested I read Jon Rauch’s book Government’s End. The specific Facebook friendly recommendation read: “does the most cogent job of explaining why the US is stuck in rut.” I tend to take such recommendations seriously, so I did. The first…Read more Miracles and Politics Posted on 17 August 2012 | 3:48 pm

Does Paul Ryan Matter? On the Limitations of the Rhetorical Presidency

One week ago this was the most important and yet the most boring election in history. No longer. Ryan’s selection adds a jolt of seriousness and consequentialness to the next 90 days of electioneering. Or at least so we are told. Why? Because Ryan has been, over the last year, one of the very few…Read more Does Paul Ryan Matter? On the Limitations of the Rhetorical Presidency Posted on 13 August 2012 | 2:56 pm