Saturday, March 20, 2010

78 / Arendt

David Brooks, a rather conservative columnist who writes regularly in the New York Times, says that our society is "broken," and identifies our abandonment of a "communitarian" approach to politics as the main reason.

My recommendation is that David (and all of us) do some reading in the works of Hannah Arendt, and I recommend particularly On Revolution.

Arendt makes a convincing case that the revolution that created the United States as a new political entity within the "old" world was essentially premised on a new idea of democratic self-government:

Politically, the fallacy of ... modern philosophy is relatively simple. It consists in describing and understanding the whole realm of human action, not in terms of the actor and the agent, but from the standpoint of the spectator who watches a spectacle...


  1. democratic self-government without unimpeded flow of reliable information is impossible.

  2. Absolutely correct. That's what that First Amendment was supposed to be all about.


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