In the final chapters of Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt worries that the very strength of the Israeli Court in its trial of Adolf Eichmann—its fairness and its fidelity to law—prevented the court from understanding that Eichmann’s unprecedented acts required a political rather than a legal response. Eichmann himself argued that if he were guilty, it was of “aiding and abetting” in the commission of horrific crimes, that he himself had not...
Josh Rogin in the Washington Post asked readers to choose the public figures they would most like to hear comment on our present era. Tanner Greer published his answer: Hannah Arendt. What Greer welcomes above all in Arendt is her independence. That she approaches every issue fresh. And that before you read what she writes, you don’t know what she will be arguing or how she will get there.
On the eve of the Hannah Arendt Center’s Conference Racism and Antisemitism, it is worth thinking about Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Talking To Strangers. Gladwell seeks to understand what happened to Sandra Bland that led to her hanging in a Texas prison. It is known that Bland was pulled over in the Prairie View, Texas by officer Brian Encinia.
Judith Butler reviewed Bari Weiss’s new book How to Fight Anti-Semitism for Jewish Currents. Butler’s book review is notable for a couple of reasons and worth reading whether one finds oneself politically closer to Butler or Weiss. The primary reason being: It’s rare to read a real book review these days that systematically works through the arguments in a text. Butler, a pro-BDS supporter, argues that Weiss lacks an historical understanding of antisemitism.
When Hannah Arendt arrived at the German Literature Archive in Marbach Germany in June 1975 to organize Karl Jasper’s papers, she stood up in the cafeteria and began reciting Friedrich Schiller by heart. She was fond of “Das Mädchen aus der Fremde”, but this is pure speculation. As Arendt said to Günter Gaus in her last interview, she carried German poems around in her hinterkopf. I’d wager she knew more than one.
As World War II came to an end, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers republished a revised edition of his 1923 book The Idea of the University. Jaspers saw universities as essential to the maintenance of a vibrant democracy. He was worried that the universities in Germany had become overly specialized and technical and that they had lost their true calling as institutions dedicated to communication and truth.
In June the United States Supreme Court in Rucho v. Common Cause refused to intervene in two cases that considered constitutional challenges to political gerrymandering in North Carolina and Maryland. The Court found the Congressional maps to be “highly partisan, by any measure,” and “blatant examples of partisanship driving districting decisions.” And the Court held...