Category Archives: Arendt
Thoughts on misery and revolution.
On the rejuvenation of local governance as a defense against totalitarianism: “A unified and sovereign government combined with a disempowered citizenry poses the greatest danger of totalitarianism. The best way to protect ourselves is, perhaps, to turn back to our roots in local self-government. We cannot turn back the clock. But we might begin to engage in the activity of politics and the multiplication of local power structures that can resist the totalizing impulses of sovereign states. In doing so, we would seek to rediscover the Jeffersonian project of local self-government that Arendt calls the lost treasure of the American Revolution.”
Political dissidence: “Civil disobedience is a widespread form of political protest used by minorities to make their voices heard in democratic societies. It is a mechanism of participation in the process of shaping public opinion, and of intervention, by via negativa, in the legislative process. In exercising it, citizens can assert their public autonomy when faced with serious decisions that, from their perspective, undermine the values on which society is based.”
“Tangentially, I have a sudden new faith in the feminist framing of recent demonstrations as women’s marches, which does something to allay the intimation of public violence that is always used as the justification of suppression. It seems clear, nonetheless, that it isn’t enough: that perhaps Arendt’s most profound legacy is in establishing that one has to consider oneself political as part of the human condition.”