The Banality at CannesRoger Berkowitz
Apparently Hannah Arendt was on everyone’s lips this year at the Cannes film festival. Alissa Wilkinson does a nice job of parsing the allusions to Arendt.
Friendship and ToleranceRoger Berkowitz
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.
Low Trust SocietiesRoger Berkowitz
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?”
A World Arendt Would RecognizeRoger Berkowitz
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.
The Social Justice SnitchRoger Berkowitz
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.
The Politics of InevitabilityRoger Berkowitz
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.
What Shall Finally Happen to the JewsRoger Berkowitz
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.
A Decade in a WeekRoger Berkowitz
It was Vladimir Lenin who said, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” And now it is Vladimir Putin who has punctuated Lenin’s remarks. Our world has changed.
Simone Weil on War and JusticeRoger Berkowitz
The Jewish born Christian philosopher Simone Weil wrote: “Only he who has measured the dominion of force, and knows how to respect it, is capable of love and justice.” What war teaches, Weil argues, is the experience of utter misery, the reduction of man to a mere thing, a plaything of fate.