“Why Read Hannah Arendt Now?” by Richard J. Bernstein— Rethinking Arendt


Bernstein, Richard. “Why Read Hannah Arendt Now?”, Polity, 2018.

Rethinking Arendt

Amos Lassen

Since reading Hannah Arendt as an undergraduate many years ago, I have always felt in awe of her—– she was a great mind and even when I did not agree with her, I understood from where she came. Of course there were sections of her “Eichmann in Jerusalem” that infuriated me but probably because I understood what she was doing and I am fascinated by the fact that many young Israelis now see as a titular mind.

In fact, there has been an extraordinary international revival of interest in Hannah Arendt. Perceptive of dark tendencies in modern life, she knew that they would continue to plague us. She developed a concept of politics and public freedom that remain a critical standard for judging what is wrong with politics today. I am quite sure that why Arendt has once again become popular is because of her profound insights that aid us in thinking about those dark times and where the light is today. Author Bernstein examines “her thinking about statelessness and refugees; the right to have rights; her critique of Zionism; the meaning of the banality of evil; the complex relations between truth, lying, power, and violence; the tradition of the revolutionary spirit; and the urgent need for each of us to assume responsibility for our political lives.”

This is a compact little book that contains a great deal how today’s world has been shaped. Arendt spent her life looking at the meanings of the burdens that exist in the world and had no fear of publicly attacking them. It would be extremely interesting to see how she would react to the Trump presidency. You can be sure that she would have had something to say about it.

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