Politics for EverybodyReading Hannah Arendt in Uncertain Times

Politics for EverybodyReading Hannah Arendt in Uncertain Times

Ned O'Gorman

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226665023

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book is a defense of the dignity of politics in the age of its infamy. It argues that politics is an essential everyday art of relating to others–friends, neighbors, strangers, and even suspicious others–in freedom and as equals, and that politics, rather than being the problem, is part of the solution to our twenty-first century political myopia, malaise, and malevolence. It argues that we need to do more politics, not throw it out; to take politics more seriously, not write it off; to give politics a thinking chance. It does so by exploring the works of the most articulate champion of politics in the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt (1906–1975), a German-born Jew who fled the Nazis to take residence in the United States, where she set out to defend politics against its many detractors. Several challenges were central to Arendt’s work, and to the defense of politics in this book: the challenge of differentiating authentic politics from twisted and distorted views of politics; the difficulty we have appreciating politics; the challenge of political judgment; the problem of truth in politics; and the role of persuasion in politics. This book addresses these challenges head on and tries to stir our imaginations to see politics in a more positive light.