The crisis of truth is upon us and for many this is a phenomenon associated with Donald Trump. But Hannah Arendt diagnosed the crisis of truth in modern politics over 60 years ago. And in her essay “Truth and Politics” Arendt argues that one foundation for that crisis is the loss of a non-political standpoint from which one can speak about the world and politics.
There is an apparent myth going around that cancel culture is a phenomenon of the political left. One sees this in the reaction to the Open Letter in Harpers that I signed last week. There was in that letter no mention of “the left.” The letter explicitly mentioned the danger from illiberalism from both the political right and Donald Trump as well as from cultural intolerance for curiosity and experimental thinking.
Bari Weiss resigned from The New York Times this week in an open letter, citing the effect social media has had on traditional publishing platforms.
Daniel Denvir interviews Barbara Fields and Karen Fields, the sisters who wrote the extraordinary book Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. The Field sisters coin the word “Racecraft” to name the magical process through which the fiction of race is made real. When a police officer who is black is conjured as a black man, this conjuring trick is what allows that officer to be discriminated against or even killed
Peter Beinart acknowledges what he calls “the painful truth” that there is not going to be a two-state solution in the Middle East. Given that reality, Beinart asks, what is the path forward? Growing numbers of Palestinians embrace a one-state solution. But in Israel and amongst Jews, the one-state solution crosses a red line, since it would likely mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
Lily Kuo writes about the impact of the new National Security Legislation that is being imposed by China on Hong Kong. The law defines national security crimes broadly, allows suspects to be sent to China for trial, permits Chinese state agents to work in Hong Kong, expands police powers, and allows secret trials without juries.
In the new issue of Salmagundi,Thomas Chatterton Williams, Margo Jefferson, Darryl Pinckney, John McWhorter, and Orlando Patterson debate “The Black Intellectual & The Condition of the Culture.”
Yascha Mounk discusses three recent instances in which individuals have been fired or punished for expressing opinions (or being thought to have expressed opinions) that were said to have been inconsistent with perceived pieties. Mounk looks deeply into these cases and shows that while the effort to use this political moment has good intentions and is rightfully seeking to root out racial injustice, overreactions that punish people...
Democracy is the rule of the people. Demagoguery is the people being led by a speaker who sparks and appeals to the people’s passions. Charles Sykes writes about a public hearing in Palm Beach, Florida in which citizens scream and yell at public health experts who argue that wearing masks should be required to help control the pandemic.
In the New York Review of Books, Sarah Churchwell discusses American fascism through a historical lens while reflecting on recent events. Churchwell highlights the fact that fascism in 2020 will not look like fascism in Europe in 1933, but also acknowledges the underlying causes of fascist movements, like racism.