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Who’s Afraid of the Intellectuals?

“WHO’S AFRAID OF THE INTELLECTUALS?” That is the opening sentence of Jan Mieszkowski’s excellent review of Belgian historian Christian Ingrao’s recent book Believe and Destroy: Intellectuals in the SS War Machine. I have not yet read the book. But Mieszkowski’s review raises important questions about the role of intellectuals in the systematic administration of evil.…Read more Who’s Afraid of the Intellectuals? Posted on 26 July 2013 | 11:31 am

The Danger of Intellectuals

[T]here are, indeed, few things that are more frightening than the steadily increasing prestige of scientifically minded brain trusters in the councils of government during the last decades. The trouble is not that they are cold-blooded enough to “think the unthinkable,” but that they do not think. -Hannah Arendt, “On Violence” Hannah Arendt’s warning about…Read more The Danger of Intellectuals Posted on 22 July 2013 | 2:20 pm

Holes of Oblivion Open Up in China

One central feature of totalitarianism is the desire of those at the top of the movement to retain full—that is, total—control of their people. Total control requires, at times, the ability to lie, especially when facts on the ground fail to conform with past and present pronouncements. The strength of any totalitarian system can, in…Read more Holes of Oblivion Open Up in China Posted on 6 December 2012 | 11:09 am

The Dark Days of the Golden Dawn

Fascism is making a mainstream comeback. That is fascism in the sense of a nationalist and nativist movement, to be distinguished from totalitarianism, which is an internationalist and imperialist movement. The scene for the return of fascism is Greece. In the birthplace of democracy, the failure of the European Union has combined with the utter…Read more The Dark Days of the Golden Dawn Posted on 1 October 2012 | 9:52 am

The Euro-Crisis, Seyla Benhabib’s Cosmopolitanism, and Arendt’s Defense of Politics

From Athens to Madrid, the European crisis has entered yet another of its “decisive” phases —how many decisive phases can one crisis have?  Reflecting on Europe has brought to mind Seyla Benhabib’s 2004 Tanner Lectures on cosmopolitan universalism, which itself was inspired by Hannah Arendt’s comments on international law in the epilogue and postscript to…Read more The Euro-Crisis, Seyla Benhabib’s Cosmopolitanism, and Arendt’s Defense of Politics Posted on 1 June 2012 | 1:30 pm