Hannah Arendt is a thinker who insists that we make distinctions. One of Arendt’s most controversial distinctions is that between racism and what she alternatively will call “race thinking” in The Origins of Totalitarianism, and then "prejudice" in many of her later essays. In the wake of the shooting in Buffalo last week, John McWhorter made his own distinctions while trying to understand the place of racism in U.S. society. McWhorter argues that we use the word racism today to mean too many things. He states that we need to distinguish between different aspects of what we call racism in order to think more clearly about the problems and prevent such tragedies as the shooting in Buffalo.
On Hannah Arendt’s 115th birthday on October 14th, the Hannah Arendt Center convened its Annual Fall Conference, Revitalizing Democracy: Sortition, Citizen Power, and Spaces of Freedom. The effort was to explore the movement for citizen assemblies from a wide plurality of perspectives from activists, artists, public intellectuals, business persons, and students. Watch a recording of the webcast here.
As Amor Mundi Readers know, I am a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance. This week the Alliance sent a letter to MIT protesting the disinvitation of University of Chicago Professor Dorian Abbot. Professor Abbot had been invited to give a prestigious lecture in his specialty field of climate and planetary science.
Thomas B. Edsall looks at three in-depth voter surveys to ask why some people continue to support Donald Trump and still believe he won the last election.
Recent years have not been kind to experts, technocrats, and specialists in government. Amidst our hyper-partisan politics, there is a desire for policy to be made by experts who are thought to be neutral, objective, and informed. But experts have continually proven mistaken in their response to Covid-19, leading to the politicization of expert-driven policies. The experts in the U.S. military bungled the pullout from Afghanistan.
A new study by the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST) has some startling conclusions. Twenty One Million Americans or 8.1% of the population—more than one quarter of all adults—are “insurrectionists” who believe that the last election was stolen. Sixty three percent of Americans believe that “African American people or Hispanic people in our country will eventually have more rights than whites.”
One feature of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes is their use of informants and every-day citizens to enforce ideological conformity. Unlike the police that must follow rules and regulations, neighbors can simply let their fantasies run wild and report on those they dislike, find suspicious, or want to discipline.
Laura Ford writes that we may be witnessing a major epochal shift in which after nearly 300 years of supremacy, liberalism and the “gestalt of liberal compromise” is being supplanted as the dominant philosophy of the age. The shattering of the liberal consensus is above all visible on college campuses in the United States where it is being challenged by social identity movements that Ford argues are analogous to pre-Christian forms of religiosity.