John Douglas Macready considers the importance of Arendt’s analysis of loneliness as the fertile ground for totalitarian and ideological politics. The widespread anxiety over the global eruption of right-wing populism, which was exacerbated by the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, and the succeeding four years of his presidency, produced a renewed interest in the political theory of Hannah Arendt,
In March, 2017, I published an essay “Why Arendt Matters” about the newly inaugurated President Trump. I wrote that, “Common sense insists that we not abandon reality and imagine that the United States is experiencing totalitarianism.” I argued that while the President was leading a mass movement, and that while mass movements are at the core of totalitarian domination, it is also the case that not all mass movements are totalitarian.
It has become common sense that President Trump lies. Once again there are countless articles and Twitter feeds and video compilations showing that the President has lied, stated falsehoods, and denied having said what he said. And yet through it all, the President’s popularity rating is soaring.
Adolf Eichmann was a Nazi Higher SS officer and member of the Gestapo during the Second World War. When the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem was adopted as German policy at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, it became Eichmann’s job to organize the destruction of millions of Jews.