Why Arendt Matters: Revisiting “The Origins of Totalitarianism” - Los Angeles Review of Books


26 bookmarks. First posted by rvenkat march 2017.


THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody,” he said, “and I wouldn’t lose voters. via Pocket
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9 weeks ago by kkahnharris
On loneliness and totalitarianism:
from twitter
10 weeks ago by sgerstenzang
THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could…
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10 weeks ago by rubywhite
THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could…
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11 weeks ago by johnrclark
THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could…
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11 weeks ago by stevenbedrick
THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could…
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11 weeks ago by rboone
Arendt’s understanding of the origins of totalitarianism begins with her insight that mass movements are founded upon “atomized, isolated individuals.” The lonely people whom Arendt sees as the adherents of movements are not necessarily the poor or the lower classes. They are the “neutral, politically indifferent people who never join a party and hardly ever go to the polls.” They are not unintelligent and are rarely motivated by self-interest. Arendt writes that Heinrich Himmler understood these isolated individuals when he “said they were not interested in ‘everyday problems’ but only ‘in ideological questions of importance for decades and centuries, so that the man […] knows he is working for a great task which occurs but once in 2,000 years.’” The adherents of movements are not motivated by material interests; they “are obsessed by a desire to escape from reality because in their essential homelessness they can no longer bear its accidental, incomprehensible aspects.” ...


Trump’s mania for disruption — not his policies — is reminiscent of the many movements that dominated Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. While two of these ended in totalitarianism, the majority led instead to more typical authoritarian regimes. In our contemporary focus on Nazism and Bolshevism, we frequently forget that nearly every country in Europe was already ruled by democratically elected dictatorships at the outbreak of World War II. The principal exception was the United Kingdom and, across the ocean, the United States. Why is it, Arendt asks, that the breakdown of classes, the contempt for parties and states, and the rise of movements were successful in taking over governments on the continent, but not in the Anglo-American countries?

Arendt’s answer turns to the two-party system in Britain and the United States as distinguished from multi-party democracies that were the norm in continental Europe. In a two-party system, each party plans at some point to govern the state, whereas in a multiparty system each party “defines itself consciously as a part of the whole.” On the continent, parties represented partial interests, and to justify those interests were forced to embrace ideologies that interpreted their partisan interests as the general interests of humanity.
arendt 
11 weeks ago by zryb
THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody,” he said, “and I wouldn’t lose voters. via Pocket
Pocket 
march 2017 by driptray
"[T]otalitarian movements succeed when they offer rootless people what they most crave: an ideologically consistent world aiming at grand narratives that give meaning to their lives. By consistently repeating a few key ideas, a manipulative leader provides a sense of rootedness grounded upon a coherent fiction that is “consistent, comprehensible, and predictable.” (Arendt)"
totalitarianism  reality  ideology  politics  power 
march 2017 by jbushnell
THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could…
march 2017 by jkleske
RT : “A class of intellectuals that find corruption funny rather than outrageous”: Arendt ahead of the curve again, via
from twitter
march 2017 by alegscogs
Why Arendt Matters: Revisiting “The Origins of Totalitarianism” - Los Angeles Review of Books via Instapaper http://ift.tt/2n8Maie
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march 2017 by craniac
THE ASTONISHING STATEMENT Donald Trump made at a January 2016 campaign rally in Iowa seems like the essential moment in his unexpected rise to power: “I could…
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march 2017 by divigation
RT : “A class of intellectuals that find corruption funny rather than outrageous”: Arendt ahead of the curve again, via
from twitter
march 2017 by mshook