The Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen [who became famous playing the character Borat in movies] gave the Keynote Address to the Anti-Defamation League last week. His speech was deadly serious about the real danger of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and social media. I wrote recently about the “increasing velocity, sophistication, and overwhelming scale” of information and misinformation on social media.”
Mireille Juchau revisits a book published by Charlotte Beradt in 1985 on The Third Reich of Dreams: The Nightmares of a Nation. Beradt was an acquaintance of Hannah Arendt’s and translated five her essays. Beradt’s work echoes Arendt’s work in the The Origins of Totalitarianism,and challenges readers to think about spaces of freedom in thinking, beyond the public and private realm:
In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt laid out her concept of the polis — literally, an ancient Greek city state, but defined more broadly in Webster’s as “a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community” — as a departure from the ancient understanding of the term...
Behind this narrative of the “dangerous migrant” is a disinformation machine that cultivates the powerful climate of anti-immigration. Unlike the scenario 100 years ago, when nationalism was closely linked to the trial of strength between great powers, we can see a trend that is an irony in itself: the globalisation of nationalism. The target audience in this scenario is the “dissatisfied” citizen..
I am aware of the fact that the last German who stood here in a Hannah Arendt conference to speak to you about Germany was Marc Jongen, the so-called party philosopher of the AfD, the German extreme right-wing party. While I am not going to apologize for my bad English, one could easily get the impression that Jongen and I represent the two opposing and conflicting camps which these days challenge and strain the cohesion of German society...
John McWhorter comments on the firing of Steven Wilson, formerly CEO of a group of charter schools in New York that serve primarily students of color. Wilson was fired after a petition circulated titled, “Hold the CEO of Ascend Public Charter Schools Accountable for White Supremacist Rhetoric.” What exactly was the “white supremacist rhetoric” that Wilson was guilty of?
That politicians lie is hardly news. 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."