Seeing What Is: “White Privilege,” “Antiracism,” The Police – Lessons from a Losing Culture on the Authority of Language at a time of MovementNikita Nelin
“We got engaged, preparing for a summer wedding, and started talking about kids. Then the pandemic hit. My industry crumbled and hers pressurized. Social distancing left us sheltered in place in our new neighborhood, as we watched the world outside first shudder, and then take to the streets, while we tried to reconcile our place in it with the disappearance our own dream.”
As part of his attempt to divert attention from his failures to address the Corona virus pandemic, President Trump has now fired four Inspectors General in the past six weeks. These firings are important. They represent the elimination and intimidation of those charged with overseeing the representatives elected to power in our democracy. The inspectors general are those who can expose the lies and corruption that foment cynicism that threatens the common world.
Rolf Hochhuth died last week. Hochhuth was the author of The Deputy, A Christian Tragedy that premiered on the Freie Volksbühne stage in West Berlin in February 1963, making the author world-famous. The play is a documentary inquiry into the decision by Pope Pius XII to remain silent regarding the Holocaust, about which he knew.
Pamela Paresky, Jonathan Haidt, Nadine Strossen, and Steven Pinker write about the outrage mob that has forced institutions like the New York Times to run scared and censor the newspaper in response to public pressure.
Philanthropy increasingly has a bad name in some circles these days. And there are real worries about the retreat of government being replaced by wealthy donors who then have an outsized impact on our public world. But it is also important to recall Aristotle’s insight that a political community depends upon virtues, including what he calls the virtue of liberality. It is meaningful, Aristotle writes, when wealthy citizens build shrines to the graces in public places...
Governments and businesses are telling people to get back to work. Lyndsey Stonebridge notes that what what they really are saying is to get back to the business of laboring. The distinction between work and labor is central to Hannah Arendt’s thinking about the human condition.
In a Senate hearing this week, Senator Rand Paul called for humility and warned that Dr. Anthony Fauci was not the “end all” in predicting the course of the Coronavirus. In response, Dr. Fauci reminded Senator Paul—who is also a doctor—that he had never made himself to be an “end all.” “I am a scientist, a physician, and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence...
As the President vacillates between claiming absolute powers and empowering the states, there is a renewed interest in the American principle of federalism. The appeal to the principle of federalism and the multiplication of powers throughout the United States Constitutional system is precisely the kind of thinking Hannah Arendt celebrated as the true innovation of the United States Constitution.