Timothy Snyder argues that the abyss of American democracy is fed by a crisis in truth that has left us in a pre-fascist moment. But Snyder recognizes that President Trump never could bring himself to embrace fascism. He alienated the military, on which a fascist government would need to depend. He emboldened militias, but never organized them into a unit. His social media attacks were constant but scattered.
The United States is not currently a fascist country. It is unlikely that it will become one. But Jason Stanley rightly points out that we should not ignore the rise of fascist tactics increasingly being used by the President and his administration while they are also excused by members of the President’s Republican Party.
George Orwell was one of the greatest anti-fascists of the 20th century. Not only did he satirize and expose fascism and totalitarianism in his novels 1984 and Animal Farm, but also he enlisted and fought fascists in Spain with the Spanish Republicans. Orwell risked his life to oppose and counter fascism wherever he found it. And yet, in 1941, Orwell wrote one of his classic essays defending the English writer P.G. Wodehouse against charges of fascism.
Jennifer Stitt finds herself turning to Hannah Arendt amidst the pandemic, protests, and democratic danger. In such “dark times,” Stitt writes, Arendt’s meditations on the relations between isolation, loneliness, and solitude are meaningful. Above all, Stitt is attracted to Arendt’s idea of solitude, “the thinking activity” that “made moral judgments...
Ross Douthat offers one of the best and most original explanations of the attraction of the new ideology of white fragility.
In an essay “Power Politics Triumphs” from 1945, Hannah Arendt argues that the “obsoleteness of this book” is a “consequences of the author’s pathetic faith in the validity of economic arguments.” Over and again, in modern politics, it has been shown that “nobody cares” about economic arguments and that politics is not driven by economics.
Hannah Arendt cannot solve the problems of our world. But her bold, provocative, and fearless thinking is a model for how we can think about the problems we confront today. At the Hannah Arendt Center we don't worship Hannah Arendt. But we seek to nurture the kind of worldly, humanities-based thinking about ethics and politics that Arendt so fully embodied.
Dariel Vasquez is a first generation college graduate from Harlem, NY. Dariel graduated from Bard College (Class of 2017) with a joint degree in History and Sociology, and a concentration in Africana-Studies. He is the founder and director of Brothers@. Youth development and mentorship is Dariel’s passion, and he’s been working with young men of color since he was 16 years old.
There is an apparent myth going around that cancel culture is a phenomenon of the political left. One sees this in the reaction to the Open Letter in Harpers that I signed last week. There was in that letter no mention of “the left.” The letter explicitly mentioned the danger from illiberalism from both the political right and Donald Trump as well as from cultural intolerance for curiosity and experimental thinking.