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.
Masha Gessen’s newest book argues that Donald Trump is paving the way for the end of American democracy and the rise of autocracy. Whether Gessen is right, their argument about how President Trump attacks language attacks a shared world of meaning necessary for democracy is right. Gessen founds their argument on insights from Hannah Arendt...
I’ve written about the controversy over the prosecution of Michael Flynn. On the one hand, the effort by the Trump administration to drop charges against Flynn smacks of an authoritarian interference with the independent judiciary and the rule of law. On the other hand, there are questions about the original prosecution itself as an overreach by security agencies.
Melvin Rogers argues that the protests and riots convulsing Minneapolis and the United States are about more than the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman. “The anger and rage on display in Minneapolis is not only about police violence, however. It is taking place against a broad horizon of state violence, which among other things takes the form of utter disregard for the pain of black Americans.”
In an earlier post about Michael Flynn, I linked to Matt Taibbi’s essay arguing that Flynn was mistakenly prosecuted by an overzealous FBI. Now Eli Lake has published a detailed and devastating account of the way the FBI railroaded Flynn. The importance of these stories is that the resistance to Trump continues to put its faith in the FBI and other institutions and to base its case against President Trump on the...
The AIDS activist and playwright Larry Kramer died this week. Kramer started ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) in 1987 to fight hard for both gay rights and action against AIDS. His uncompromising activism and fight reinvented civil disobedience in the 1980s and 1990s, giving birth to tactics that have come to define democratic activism.
Rebecca Traister tells the incredible story of Marga Griesbach, now 92 and a survivor of—well of everything. Griesbach just recently made it back from a harrowing cruise to her home in Washington state. She was born Marga Steinhardt in Germany in 1927.
James Wallner has published a “review” of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition on the occasion of the new edition that appeared last year from the University of Chicago Press.
Martin Gurri argues that truth is based on trust. Trust in turn requires some authority in whom we trust. If we trust not in God, then we may trust in science or in experts, or in the people collectively amassed in a self-governing state. But we live, as Hannah Arendt argues, in an age when authority is no longer feasible. It is beyond doubt, Arendt writes, that “authority has vanished from the modern world.” And yet Arendt does not despair.