“Human plurality, the basic condition of both action and speech, has the twofold character of equality and distinction.” Arendt sets plurality as the foundation of her understanding of man as a political being. According to plurality, we are all equal, which means we can understand each other and those ancestors who came before us and those will come after us. And yet, as distinct, we need to seek to make ourselves understood.
This piece was originally published October 27, 2019.
It is still too early to draw the lesson of the whistleblower who came forth this month to report that President Donald Trump has been running a covert and shadow foreign policy aimed at using United States foreign aid to further his personal and political aims.
Our societies are coming apart. This is true not only in the United States, but also in Europe and around the world. As technological bubbles enable alternate factual universes, we witness a growing divide amongst people that threatens to undo the common sense that unites us as citizens.
Hannah Arendt Center NEH Fellow Thomas Chatterton Williams writes about the need to embrace incoherence against this political moment, which has fallen toward ideological imperatives. Citing Arendt, Williams argues:
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...
New York Review of Books. Gordon situates his considered argument against the backdrop of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum issuing a blanket statement, refusing historical comparison to the Holocaust in response to Alexandra Ocasio Cortez calling the detention camps on the U.S. boarder “concentration camps” last year. — Samantha Hill
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..