Mie Inouye offers a thoughtful reflection on the nature of solidarity in the latest Boston Review forum on Solidarity. Inouye approaches solidarity from a decidedly Arendtian direction insofar as she seeks solidarity not only amongst one class or with one class but “across lines of domination.”
Whether George Floyd died from asphyxiation or some combination of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” as the official Hennepin County autopsy has it, anyone can see that former police officer Derek Chauvin sat firmly on Mr. Floyd’s neck, left hand casually in his pocket as if bored, for over 8 minutes while three other officers calmly looked on.
With the shift to virtual classrooms during the pandemic many are questioning the necessity of physical campuses, and speculating about the future of online learning. But these speculations are shortsighted. They overlook the importance of physical space for learning, and they move from an understanding that education is something to be bought and sold. In reality, online learning fuels inequality, and is exacerbated by economic disparity...
In eulogizing Larry Kramer, Masha Gessen tells us that Kramer was a devoted reader of Hannah Arendt. What attracted Kramer was not simply Arendt’s fearlessness. And not only her deep support for the right and practice of civil disobedience. Kramer found in Arendt a thinker of political power. For Arendt, politics is about acting in concert with others and such collective action is the source of power.
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.
As part of his attempt to divert attention from his failures to address the Corona virus pandemic, President Trump has now fired four Inspectors General in the past six weeks. These firings are important. They represent the elimination and intimidation of those charged with overseeing the representatives elected to power in our democracy. The inspectors general are those who can expose the lies and corruption that foment cynicism that threatens the common world.
Governments and businesses are telling people to get back to work. Lyndsey Stonebridge notes that what what they really are saying is to get back to the business of laboring. The distinction between work and labor is central to Hannah Arendt’s thinking about the human condition.
In a Senate hearing this week, Senator Rand Paul called for humility and warned that Dr. Anthony Fauci was not the “end all” in predicting the course of the Coronavirus. In response, Dr. Fauci reminded Senator Paul—who is also a doctor—that he had never made himself to be an “end all.” “I am a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence...
Until recently, I had not left my apartment for 33 days. I did not touch another human being—not even the members of my family with whom I live—for even longer. The virus has been mild in my case. It is nearly gone. Physically, I am fine. I am one of the lucky ones; I never had to make a decision whether to go to a hospital, alone, not knowing whether I would see family and friends ever again.
Over and again we hear the refrain: “Listen to the experts.” Amidst a crisis that has witnessed a disastrous response from President Trump and the federal government and from many states and cities—Mayor Bill DeBlasio has been particularly inept causing untold misery for New Yorkers like myself—there is a desire to have the experts guide us.