Here’s a thought, from Hannah Arendt’s 1971 essay ‘Lying in Politics’, to orient one’s analysis and thinking about political excitement in the UK this past week or so (actually the whole essay helps, as does ‘Truth and Politics’ in Between Past and Future, 1968):
“We are free to change the world and to start something new in it. Without the mental freedom to deny or affirm existence, to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – not just to statements or propositions in order to express agreement or disagreement, to our organs of perception and cognition – no action would be possible; and action is of course the very stuff politics are made of.
Hence, when we talk about lying, and especially about lying among men, let us remember that the lie did not creep into politics by some accident of human sinfulness. Moral outrage, for this reason alone, is not likely to make it disappear.”
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