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  •  Lying in Politics - Hannah Arendt - Over the line? (5+ / 0-)

    After reading about the AP affair, I feel that the Obama administration has gone over the line once too often.

    Arent notes that those who lie have to work extra hard because at any time the lie might be exposed and the house of cards can come crashing down. Has the Obama administration, the oligarchy and the political class, fallen into this trap?  They can use the power of the state including the security apparatus and the legal system to do what ever they want and get away with it. The more they do, the more they have to cover up.

    The article by Arendt with this title was written in the early 1970's. It is available from the NY Review of Books behind the pay wall. The first part of the article is on the web and includes:

    The Pentagon Papers, like so much else in history, tell different stories, teach different lessons to different readers. Some claim they have only now understood that Vietnam was the “logical” outcome of the cold war or the anticommunist ideology, others that this is a unique opportunity to learn about decision making processes in government. But most readers have by now agreed that the basic issue raised by the Papers is deception. At any rate, it is obvious that this issue was uppermost in the minds of those who compiled the Pentagon Papers for The New York Times, and it is at least probable that this was also an issue for the team of writers who prepared the forty-seven volumes of the original study.
    The famous credibility gap, which has been with us for six long years, has suddenly opened up into an abyss. The quicksand of lying statements of all sorts, deceptions as well as self-deceptions, is apt to engulf any reader who wishes to probe this material, which, unhappily, he must recognize as the infrastructure of nearly a decade of United States foreign and domestic policy.
    Because of the extravagant lengths to which the commitment to nontruthfulness in politics went on the highest level of government, and because of the concomitant extent to which lying was permitted to proliferate throughout the ranks of all governmental services, military and civilian—the phony body counts of the “search-and-destroy” missions, the doctored after-damage reports of the air force,—one is easily tempted to forget the background of past history, itself not exactly a story of immaculate virtue, against which this newest episode must be seen and judged.

    (I subscribe to the publication and can get the article if someone needs it.)

    But more important is to go to the Hannah Arendt center at Bard College.

    From the web site


    Hannah Arendt is the leading thinker of politics and the humanities in the modern era. No other scholar so enrages and engages citizens and students from all political persuasions, all the while insisting on human dignity, providing a clear voice against totalitarianism, and defending freedom with extraordinary intelligence and courage.
    Writing for a scholarly and a lay audience from deep within the humanities tradition, Arendt bequeathed us the idea of the "banality of evil," insisted that facts be held protected from the corrosive force of opinion, and called us to the highest ideal of political citizenship. She is that rare writer who compels her readers to think and re-think their most fundamental ethical and political convictions.
    Less Info
    In her book Men in Dark Times, Arendt explains that darkness does not name the genocides, purges, and hunger that mark the tragedies of the twentieth century. Instead, darkness refers to the way these horrors appear in public discourse and yet remain hidden.
    Here is a link to the Bard Center on Hannah Arendt

    I like that web presence better than this one from the same place. Not sure why they have such different looks. This one is more flashy, probably a new internet IT person.

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