In response to news that Howard University is disbanding its Classics Department, Cornell West reminds us that Frederick Douglas and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. were inspired and nurtured by the classics. West argues that the attack on the classics is an attack on the soul and symptom the moral and spiritual rot of American culture.
Politics and truth, Hannah Arendt reminds us, have never been on good terms. "Lies have always been regarded as necessary and justifiable tools not only of the politician's or the demagogue's but also of the statesman's trade." And yet, Arendt raises the question of "what injury political power is capable of inflicting upon truth."
On May 28, 1975, then Senator Joe Biden wrote a letter to Hannah Arendt.
Dear Miss Arendt, I read in a recent article by Tom Wicker of a paper that you read at the Boston Bicentennial Forum. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, I am most interested in receiving a copy of your paper. Thank you. Sincerely, Joseph R. Biden Jr. United State Senator.
Seeing What Is: “White Privilege,” “Antiracism,” The Police – Lessons from a Losing Culture on the Authority of Language at a time of MovementNikita Nelin
“We got engaged, preparing for a summer wedding, and started talking about kids. Then the pandemic hit. My industry crumbled and hers pressurized. Social distancing left us sheltered in place in our new neighborhood, as we watched the world outside first shudder, and then take to the streets, while we tried to reconcile our place in it with the disappearance our own dream.”
Hannah Arendt argues that the distinction between truth and lie can be eroded, over time, by "continual lying." When political leaders, institutions, the press, and respected figures habitually and continually state alternative facts, their lies—even if they are neither intended to be believed nor are believed—attack the very foundations of what Arendt calls the common world.
The United States is not currently a fascist country. It is unlikely that it will become one. But Jason Stanley rightly points out that we should not ignore the rise of fascist tactics increasingly being used by the President and his administration while they are also excused by members of the President’s Republican Party.
George Orwell was one of the greatest anti-fascists of the 20th century. Not only did he satirize and expose fascism and totalitarianism in his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, but also he enlisted and fought fascists in Spain with the Spanish Republicans. Orwell risked his life to oppose and counter fascism wherever he found it. And yet, in 1941, Orwell wrote one of his classic essays defending the English writer P.G. Wodehouse against charges of fascism.
Jennifer Stitt finds herself turning to Hannah Arendt amidst the pandemic, protests, and democratic danger. In such “dark times,” Stitt writes, Arendt’s meditations on the relations between isolation, loneliness, and solitude are meaningful. Above all, Stitt is attracted to Arendt’s idea of solitude, “the thinking activity” that “made moral judgments...
In an essay “Power Politics Triumphs” from 1945, Hannah Arendt argues that the “obsoleteness of this book” is a “consequences of the author’s pathetic faith in the validity of economic arguments.” Over and again, in modern politics, it has been shown that “nobody cares” about economic arguments and that politics is not driven by economics.
In a passionate, honest, and brilliant interview with Bill Moyers, Bill T. Jones is asked if he is more politically inclined now than previously in his life. Jones invokes Hannah Arendt to affirm the necessary confluence of politics, intellectual honesty, and spiritualism.