Mars Hill was an evangelical church founded by a charismatic figure Mark Driscoll that was based in Seattle. Driscoll proved a controversial figure, at once a brilliant evangelical leader and a bullying leader also accused of plagiarism and fraud. Mike Cosper tells this story in his podcast The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. The podcast speaks to our present moment, whether or not one is interested in Christianity or in megachurches. It is an extraordinary example of how to tell a story of our time through an in-depth exploration of one exemplary cultural catastrophe. I had the pleasure of speaking with Cosper and Yuval Levin- who will also be speaking at our Fall Conference -on the most recent episode of Cosper's podcast.
There are all sorts of books written about How Democracies Die. Hannah Arendt argued that the great threats to democracies are bureaucratization and bigness, both of which led to Praxis-Entzug, a feeling of disempowerment and depoliticization. This certainly seems to be happening in France. Ivanne Trippenbach, Julie Carriat, Laurent Telo, Solenn de Royer and Olivier Faye write in Le Monde that the Presidential election in France has encountered unprecedented apathy. Ivanne Trippenbach, Julie Carriat, Laurent Telo, Solemn de Royer and Olivier Faye write in Le Monde that the Presidential election in France has encountered unprecedented apathy.
Michael Bloom writes about the importance of Lessing’s play Nathan the Wise, the first play performed in Germany in 1945 after the fall of the Nazis. In discussing the reception of the play, Bloom focuses on two different reactions by Hannah Arendt, who came to see Lessing as the great thinker of political friendship.
Alexander Beiner interviews N.S. Lyons about the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine on Russia, the West, and China. At one point, Beiner asks, “To what extent is Chinese culture and politics truly collectivist in its outlook?”
Hannah Arendt respected civil servants who brought competence and professionalism to their jobs. At the same time, however, she worried deeply about bureaucracy, which is often associated with civil service. In her early work The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt argues that bureaucracy as it developed in India, Egypt, and Algeria was a new form of government of foreign people that sought to rule and dominate them outside of legal restraints. As a non-legal government based on personal power, bureaucracy was intertwined with racism that justified the brutal colonial rule by European powers.
The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine raises questions about what Hannah Arendt called “the war question.”
The Folio Society has just published the first-ever illustrated edition of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. This two-volume set includes famous propaganda images and documentary photography from the USSR and the Third Reich and also a new introduction by Anne Applebaum.
When Laura Kipnis first read about the downfall of Mark Schlissel, “fired after an anonymous complaint about his consensual though “inappropriate” relationship with a subordinate,” she asked herself: Who was the snitch? Amidst her inquiry, Kipnis considers one particular kind of snitching that is rampant today: The Social-Justice snitch.
In a conversation with Ezra Klein, Timothy Snyder speaks about the politics of inevitability. When pundits and prophets tell us that this or that is going to happen, we are caught up in a means-ends rationality that seduces us to ignore facts that might lead to other conclusions. In such a world, social science analysis can actually influence what happens by making predictions seem inevitable.