Robert Boyers interviews Jed Perl about the place of freedom and authority in art.
In October the Hannah Arendt Center will host its conference, “Revitalizing Democracy: Sortition, Citizen Power, and Spaces of Freedom.” We will host activists, thinkers, and scholars from around the world thinking about new ways of reimagining democracy, especially around the idea of sortition—the use of randomly selected citizens to engage in participatory democratic citizen assemblies to suggest and even make legislative changes.
A new study from the Survey Center on American Life confirms what studies have been showing for decades, that Americans increasingly have fewer friends. The number of American men who say they have “no close friends” has increased from 3% in 1990 to 15% in 2021. To live without friends is terrifying; it is to risk being adrift, without support and love.
I was in Ljubljana in early June to speak at a conference, “What Kind of Government?” You can watch recordings of the talks including my own talk “Revitalising Democracy: Citizen Juries as a Response to the Failure of Expert Rule.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has published a three-part reflection on her experiences of being insulted and attacked on social media by a former student and mentee, someone she had sought to help. For those who have experienced such attacks—and more and more of us have—it is shocking and disorienting to have people we consider friends or trusted colleagues join or even lead online attacks.
While her personal library is at Bard College, Hannah Arendt left her personal papers to the Library of Congress. For years those papers have been available in-person at the library and, in part, over the web via an outdated, clunky, and incomplete digital interface. This week the Library of Congress launched its new website for the Hannah Arendt Papers.
We are living at a time when any action that one disagrees with leads not to a discussion and engagement but to a complaint and a demand for punishment. This is especially true at the top universities in the country. Disagreements that should be fodder for intellectual growth are now opportunities to exert power and punish one’s perceived enemies.
This week, the New York Times reported on the successful phase III FDA trial of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA, more commonly known as the club drug Ecstasy or Molly. The introduction of an intense drug-experience-as-medicine represents a particularly Arendtian moment for Western healthcare.
Shortly after the January 6th failed insurrection in Washington DC, PEN held a writers benefit that featured a panel of writers talking about post-Trump politics. Peggy Noonan adopted a hopeful tone, arguing that after a short period of time where feelings of loss would be respected and salved, Republicans would come to their collective senses and re-enter the real world.
As an academic year of unprecedented trials limps to a close, the predictable articles on grade inflation rise like daisies. It is hard to get worked up. Grade inflation is one of the few facts we can all agree on in our increasingly fact-free world. It is here to stay. But one thing often forgotten is that grade inflation actually hurts students.