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2017 100/10 Challenge – An Open Letter from Director, Roger Berkowitz

We are experiencing a worldwide rebellion against liberal democracy. In Hungary, Russia, Turkey and other countries across Europe, right- and left-wing parties flirt with authoritarian rule. In the United States, President Donald J. Trump channels the voices of the self-described disenfranchised. Representative governments everywhere are shown to be corrupt, inefficient, and undemocratic. The great political achievement of the modern era — stable representative democracy — is everywhere under attack.

Hannah Arendt rooted the crisis in democracy in the dissipation of public power. She understood how cynicism invalidates factual truth and fans the creation of conspiracies and coherent fantasies. Arendt saw how cynicism turns us away from the common public world and leads to a narcissistic preoccupation with our internal feelings and personal beliefs. More than ever our world needs Arendt’s fearless and bold inquiry into the political and ethical results of cynicism.

“Representative government itself is in crisis today, partly because it has lost, in the course of time, all institutions that permitted the citizens’ actual participation, and partly because it is now gravely affected by the disease from which the party system suffers: bureaucratization . . . .”
—Hannah Arendt

Arendt knew that despair, hopelessness, and homelessness lie at the root of authoritarianism and totalitarianism, conditions too frequently the result of a globalized, cosmopolitan society. In times of mass cynicism we need to join together and affirm common values. The Hannah Arendt Center works to keep Arendt’s vision of loving the world alive even in the darkest times.

In these dark times, Arendt’s courageous and deeply honest writings are more relevant than ever. On questions of authoritarianism, refugees, cynicism, and above all on the importance of truth-telling, Arendt can help us understand and rethink our present predicaments.

Today, to support this ongoing work, we launch our annual 100/10 Member Challenge: 100 new members in 10 days!

Freedom comes from acting in concert. Become a Member of our Arendt Center community. To help make your decision easier, we have incredible Member incentives.

  • Free Admission for you and a friend to “Crises of Democracy: Thinking in Dark Times,” our 10th annual Fall Conference. ($150 value)
  • Access to participate in the Arendt Center Virtual Reading Group, beginning Arendt’s On Revolution in September.
  • All Members receive a 20% discount for one course at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research as well as a 50% discount to the screening of Norman at One Day University, followed by a discussion led by Arendt Center Founder and Director Roger Berkowitz.
  • A Digital subscription to the Forward for $10. ($59.99 value)
  • A Joint Membership with Los Angeles Review of Books and the Hannah Arendt Center at a special $150 Membership Level. You’ll receive a free one-year Digital Membership to LARB as well as a Hannah Arendt LARB tote bag, in addition to a full $100 Hannah Arendt Center Membership. ($300 value)
  • All Members receive special invitations to Hannah Arendt Center lectures and events at Bard College and in New York City.
  • All Members at the $100 Level and above will receive HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center, Vol. V (mailed this fall – September 2017) and our 2017 Hannah Arendt Center Tote Bag.
  • All new $100 level members will be entered into a Tote Bag Package Drawing, which includes HA: The Journal, Volumes 1-4, a copy of Roger Berkowitz and Ian Storey’s Artifacts of Thinking: Reading Hannah Arendt’s Denktagebuch, and our newly designed tote bag (pictured right)

Our memberships expire after one year. We ask that you take this time now to either become a member, or renew today if your membership has recently expired. If you’re unsure, please contact the Center at If you haven’t yet joined, we ask you to become part of our community.

All Members and a Guest receive complimentary access to the 10th annual fall conference, Crises Of Democracy: Thinking in Dark Times, that asks: how can we restore vigor and meaning to democracy? Learn more and register here. Speakers include: Tania Bruguera, Ian Buruma, Teju Cole, James S. Fishkin, Masha Gessen, Martin Gurri, Marc Jongen, Walter Russell Mead, Uday Mehta, Yascha Mounk, Melvin Rogers, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Zephyr Teachout, Micah White, Leon Botstein, and more…

Bold thinking about politics in the humanist style of Hannah Arendt is profoundly necessary in our increasingly thoughtless era. The Arendt Center exists to nurture provocative thinking about politics and ethics. We are grateful for your confidence in us and your engagement in our work to build a community around the thinking of Hannah Arendt.

We thank you in advance and look forward to seeing you at our future events.

Roger Berkowitz

Posted on 23 July 2017 | 12:00 am

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