Tracy Burr Strong died on May 11th. Tracy was one of the greatest contemporary political theorists with an extraordinary range. His first book, Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration (1975) is still read widely as both a contribution to Nietzsche studies and to political thinking more broadly. His latest book, Learning One’s Native Tongue, argues that the essence of American citizenship is not simply a matter of who can vote or whom has rights.
David King went to fight in Ukraine in part to escape his own descent into conspiracy theories and cynicism. Alexander Clapp looks deeply into the way that King’s experience in Afghanistan led to his loss of faith in the United States cultural, military, and political elites.
What is behind the pro-Putin sentiment on both the far right and the far left? If you get past your revulsion at those who seemingly embrace Putinism for cynical and self-interested reasons, the support for Putin has a real source in the rampant distrust and disdain for political and cultural elites. Ian Buruma explains.
Michael Bloom writes about the importance of Lessing’s play Nathan the Wise, the first play performed in Germany in 1945 after the fall of the Nazis. In discussing the reception of the play, Bloom focuses on two different reactions by Hannah Arendt, who came to see Lessing as the great thinker of political friendship.
Alexander Beiner interviews N.S. Lyons about the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine on Russia, the West, and China. At one point, Beiner asks, “To what extent is Chinese culture and politics truly collectivist in its outlook?”
When Laura Kipnis first read about the downfall of Mark Schlissel, “fired after an anonymous complaint about his consensual though “inappropriate” relationship with a subordinate,” she asked herself: Who was the snitch? Amidst her inquiry, Kipnis considers one particular kind of snitching that is rampant today: The Social-Justice snitch.
In a conversation with Ezra Klein, Timothy Snyder speaks about the politics of inevitability. When pundits and prophets tell us that this or that is going to happen, we are caught up in a means-ends rationality that seduces us to ignore facts that might lead to other conclusions. In such a world, social science analysis can actually influence what happens by making predictions seem inevitable.
The Folio Society has just published the first-ever illustrated edition of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. This two-volume set includes famous propaganda images and documentary photography from the USSR and the Third Reich and also a new introduction by Anne Applebaum.
It is widely believed that the Final Solution began in German at the Wannsee Conference led by Reinhard Heydrich, deputy to SS Chief Heinrich Himmler and superior to Adolf Eichmann. Christopher R. Browning argues that the Wannsee Conference was only one step in an often conflicted and unclear Nazi effort to make good on Hitler’s promise to make all of Europe Judenrein, free of Jews.
Peter Maguire reminisces about his time at Bard when his “teachers cared about my education, they did not care about my ego.” Maguire reprints some of the comments he received on the end of term criteria sheets that Bard professors still fill out for every student.