That is an excerpt from World Politics in a Put up-Fact Period. You’ll be able to obtain the e-book freed from cost from E-Worldwide Relations.
The time period post-truth is by now so ubiquitous in describing the state of politics within the Western world and even past that essentially the most urgent subject of the day seems to be about making democracy work within the period of post-truth relatively than questioning the normalisation of the time period itself within the first place. The vital turning level appeared to have occurred in 2016 when the time period was chosen by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘The Phrase of the Yr.’ On its web site, the Dictionary notes the transformation of post-truth from ‘being a peripheral time period to being a mainstay in political commentary and connects ‘the spike in frequency’ instantly with the Brexit referendum in the UK and the election of Donald J. Trump in the USA – each occurring in 2016. Paired with the noun ‘politics,’ post-truth is outlined as an adjective ‘referring to or denoting circumstances during which goal info are much less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and private perception.’
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the primary use of the time period to a 1992 essay in The Nation by the playwright Steve Tesich as he mirrored on the Eighties Iran-Contra scandal and the 1990–91 Gulf Warfare:
We’re quickly changing into prototypes of a folks that totalitarian monsters might solely drool about of their goals. All of the dictators so far have needed to work exhausting at suppressing the reality. We, by our actions, are saying that that is now not essential, that we’ve acquired a religious mechanism that may denude fact of any significance. In a really basic method we, as a free folks, have freely determined that we wish to stay in some post-truth world (Tesich 1992, 13; emphasis added).
He then continued,
The Gulf Warfare is over however the warfare at dwelling goes on. The gulf between wealthy and destitute widens – between these of us who stay in a contemporary post-industrial nation and people of us who stay within the Third World nations of our interior cities. The current administration’s response to this inner disaster has shifted from benign to malignant neglect. The present ranges of distress and decomposition of our cities and the financial gulags of our ghettos are acceptable. Since there’s solely a lot hope to go round, there’s a freeze on hope. The have-nots have now been reclassified as never-will-haves (Tesich 1992, 13).
Within the context of Tesich’s essay, fact contains each info, as in what occurs, and ‘ethical absolutes,’ as within the ‘self-evident truths talked about in our Structure’ (Tesich 1992, 14). Collectively, these two notions of fact entail the duty to each act and react. The 2 passages cited above present that even within the early post-Chilly Warfare years, Tesich was already deeply involved that the American persons are neither ready to behave on fact nor react to fact that’s disconcerting, or what he calls ‘dangerous information’ (Tesich 1992, 12). Accordingly, Tesich’s perception as captured by the time period post-truth shouldn’t be that fact is irrelevant to what we all know, however relatively it’s irrelevant to how we act. In distinction, ‘post-truth politics,’ as outlined by Oxford as a time period that pitches ‘goal info’ in opposition to ‘emotion and private perception’ such that the latter seems to have overtaken the previous in shaping ‘public opinion’ and thereby, democratic politics. When Tesich’s post-truth politics and its present utilization are juxtaposed, the 2 are actually not an identical when it comes to what fact is and the way it pertains to politics.
Towards such consideration, this chapter gives a vital survey of chosen historic occasions and theoretical issues for the aim of gaining a extra nuanced understanding of the relation between fact and politics.
Fact and Language
One notable impression of post-truth politics is that language is being overtly deployed as a political weapon not solely by politicians and people in energy, however among the many common inhabitants. It appears that evidently as soon as info are irrelevant to the validity of what’s being mentioned, language turns into the platform for an all-out political contest during which what is claimed is not more than an act of will expressed as an assertion of energy and/or an train in defiance.
As early as within the writings of Thucydides (460–400 BCE), the vulnerability of logos – which is the human capability for rational discourse in tumultuous occasions – was already famous. Thucydides belonged to a faculty of Greek thought which maintained that language is standard and that the affiliation between identify and issues is a results of ‘human use and behavior’ relatively than ‘nature or divine dispensation’ (Connor 1984, 99). The traditional nature of language implies that it’s incapable of offering its customers with any impartial standards for judgement.
In Thucydides’ research of the Peloponnesian Warfare (431–405 BCE), the subversion of logos as seen within the manipulation of language was launched via his account of the civil warfare in Corcyra (Thucydides 1972, 236-245). The warfare first broke out in 427 BCE between the pro-Athenian democratic faction and the pro-Spartan oligarchic faction earlier than it unfold to the remainder of the Greek world. There was a common breakdown of legislation and order, leading to excessive violence and loss of life. Language underwent modifications that had been reflective of the occasions of the time. The English thinker Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) translated Thucydides’ description of the state of affairs as follows:
The obtained worth of names imposed for signification of issues, was turned into arbitrary. For thoughtless boldness, was counted true-hearted manliness: provident deliberation, a good-looking worry: modesty, the cloak of cowardice: to be sensible in every part, to be lazy in every part… he that had been so provident as to not have to do the one or the opposite, was mentioned to be a dissolver of society, and one which stood in worry of his adversary. Briefly, he that would outstrip one other within the doing of an evil act, or that would persuade one other thereto that by no means meant it, was counseled (Hobbes 1839–1845, 8: 348; Thucydides 1972, 242-243).
What involved Thucydides most was that the meanings of phrases are not more than linguistic conventions that require logos to help them. The Corcyrean civil warfare was a reminder that such capability can’t be assumed. For this reason historical past understood as an genuine account of what occurs issues. Guided by logos, the historian’s activity is ‘the search after fact’, which is established via ‘the absence of the fabulous,’ together with ‘the rejection of fable and unverifiable tales’ (de Jonge 2017, 2). Thus, historical past performs an vital position in facilitating the soundness of language – with out which distinctions and judgements can’t be rendered communicable.
Similar to Thucydides, Hobbes was a nominalist who subscribed to the view that there is no such thing as a inherent which means to phrases. Hobbes’ state of nature, the place
there is no such thing as a frequent authority, is exactly one during which distinctions can’t be made. As Hobbes put it, there’s ‘no Mine and Thine distinct’ neither is there distinction between ‘the notions of Proper and Improper, Justice and Injustice’ (1968, 188; emphasis in unique). That is clearly an unsustainable situation for everybody. Behind Hobbes’ well-known phrases that life within the state of nature is ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and brief’ is his uncompromising argument for the ‘Leviathan’, which is described by the late American political theorist, Sheldon Wolin (1922–2015), because the ‘sovereign definer’ (Hobbes 1968, 186; Wolin 2004, 238–243). Accordingly, the social contract is importantly a ‘linguistic contract’ that binds all events to ‘common names agreed upon’ (Peters 1979, 125; Hobbes 1968, 111).
By means of Thucydides and Hobbes, we will establish a line of pondering that sees politics as a contestation over the usage of language, which is predicated on shared conventions and norms. Thus understood, politics shouldn’t be a collective quest for the true nature of our being or an epistemological train in pursuit of true information. Slightly, politics is about people residing with each other by discovering a shared language to speak with each other on issues that have an effect on all of them. Fact is in that sense contingent on what’s being mentioned versus setting the usual for it. In different phrases, fact is the embodiment of shareability amongst us. Whereas fact as such ensures the viability of a political entity, fact under no circumstances represents a normative normal to adjudicate amongst contesting actors in what they are saying, not to mention in what they do.
Throughout Thucydides’ occasions, historic China was additionally experiencing a tumultuous time because the ruling Zhou dynasty deteriorated into the interval of the Warring States (481–221 BCE). This was when the rulers of Zhou now not presided over the territories introduced underneath its management via conquest. As a substitute of professing allegiance to the Zhou royalty, the lords of those territories grew to become kings themselves to rule over their very own land. The interval was one marked by countless navy campaigns as every of the seven main states aimed to beat the remainder (Lewis 1999). But, the interval was additionally identified for its mental vibrancy as completely different thinkers challenged the restoring of order amongst these warring states – together with providing concepts and recommendation to rulers on good governance. Amongst these thinkers was Confucius (551–479 BCE). His thought, which got here to be referred to as Confucianism, went on to grow to be the state ideology of China from the Han dynasty (206 BCE–222 CE) till the top of the Qing dynasty in 1911 when China grew to become a republic. The founding textual content of Confucianism was the Analects, which is a group of dialogues between Confucius and his college students as recorded by them.
One key idea Confucius superior is the ‘rectification of names’. Although the time period solely seems in a single change within the Analects, it’s thought of a serious facet of Confucius’ thought. Generations of Confucian students from previous and current, together with Western lecturers, have debated over its interpretation (Makeham 2003). The passage in query reads as follows:
Zi Lu mentioned: ‘The monarch of the state of Wei needs you to manipulate the nation, what’s the very first thing you intend on doing?’ Confucius mentioned: ‘First it’s essential to rectify the names.’
Zi Lu mentioned: ‘Is that basically what must be accomplished? You’re being too pedantic, aren’t you now? How will you rectify these names?’
Confucius mentioned: ‘Zhong You, you might be too unrefined. A gentleman, confronted with a matter that he doesn’t perceive, takes a skeptical angle. If names aren’t right, one can’t converse easily and fairly, and if one can’t converse easily and fairly, affairs can’t be managed efficiently. If affairs can’t be managed efficiently, rites and music is not going to be carried out. If rites and music aren’t carried out, punishments is not going to be appropriate. And if punishments aren’t appropriate, the frequent folks is not going to know what to do. So, when the gentleman makes use of names, it’s essential to have the ability to converse so that folks perceive. If one can say it, one can undoubtedly do it. A gentleman shouldn’t be careless with phrases’ (Analects 13:3 in Cao 2016, 148).
This translation is obtainable by the modern thinker Cao Feng. As Cao notes, the passage is what began the entire debate over ‘precisely what sort of names did Confucius… want to rectify’ (Cao 2016, 148). Of the three main teams of interpretation examined by Cao, starting with classical Confucian scholarship, one is arguably essentially the most influential and positively most pertinent to the difficulty of language and politics. That is the interpretation that was first related to the Neo-Confucian grasp, Zhu Xi (1130–1200), who argued that the ‘rectification of names is solely the rectification of politics’ (Cao 2016, 149). Inside this interpretive framework, rectification has the twin features of correction and prescription by guaranteeing that predetermined hierarchical roles are strictly adhered to via following ‘the system of rites and propriety’ (Cao 2016, 151). As well as, the rectification of names entails ‘utilizing names to rectify actuality’ (Cao 2016, 151). But Cao rejects this complete physique of interpretive works by arguing that these had been concepts developed later. As a substitute, Cao suggests the next:
The unique which means of Confucius’ rectification of names could, then, be fairly easy. Confucius didn’t imply to determine a concrete, normative system of “names”; relatively, Confucius was merely the primary individual in historical past to comprehend or comment upon the significance of language in politics. As a politician, he observed and foresaw the impression that the indeterminacy, ambiguity, and arbitrariness of names would have on politics. Confucius acknowledged the political penalties of language’s not precisely expressing which means or not being precisely obtained by folks. He realized the nice position that names, as a way of distinguishing proper and fallacious and establishing norms, might play in society and politics (Cao 2016, 168).
Scholarly debates apart, Cao’s view has the benefit of figuring out an interpretation of this controversial change within the Analects that permits its readers to extrapolate from it the statement that the which means of phrases relies upon as a lot on their customers as on their interpreters; neither of which may be predetermined. Accordingly, a great ruler is somebody who can converse with out ambiguity to his topics and make good his phrases via actions. Acknowledged otherwise, Cao’s view on what involved Confucius then, who was residing via occasions of protracted political upheaval, is that language is an indispensable political device for these in energy and may be deployed by each good and dangerous rulers alike.
To sum up, this historic survey exhibits that politics as a disagreement is under no circumstances a particular marker of up to date politics nor the Western world. Be it historic or present, east or west, language is topic to manipulation to serve political functions and when there’s an outright disagreement that defies present norms, it’s indicative of a political state of affairs during which folks now not share a language and fact turns into irrelevant. Accordingly, political order entails stability in language use.
Fact and Politics
As beforehand famous, present use of the time period post-truth as an adjective to the time period ‘politics’ suggests that after there was a time when politics aligned with fact. Certainly, if we begin with Plato’s Republic as the important thing founding textual content of Western political thought, we see that the perfect polis (city-state of historic Greece) is the place fact and politics converge, and justice is achieved. Written round 380 BCE when Athens was nonetheless dealing with its defeat by the Spartans within the Peloponnesian Warfare, the Republic is a defence of the rule of the ‘thinker king’, outlined as somebody who’s ‘guided by the reality’ and is ‘at all times and in each method’ in pursuit of the reality (Plato 1974, 490a). For Plato, fact converges with virtues and therefore, letting the thinker take cost of politics is to let the wisest and essentially the most virtuous lead the much less sensible and the much less virtuous even when it requires compulsion (Plato 1974, 499b). In Plato’s phrases, ‘…till the philosophers attain energy in a metropolis there will likely be no respite from evil for both metropolis or residents…’ (Plato 1974, 501e). The uncompromising rule of philosopher-kings is made palatable by the declare that we’re all ‘earth- born brothers’ with random mixtures of gold, silver, bronze and iron, however solely the gold can rule (Plato 1974, 414–415).
Understandably, educational debates over the interpretation of Plato’s Republic revolve across the query of whether or not fact as attained in philosophy may be realised in politics as motion and whether or not such a connection is even fascinating. With out moving into the small print of those scholarly exchanges, I counsel that all of them share the priority that fact acquired via the rigorous technique of philosophical reasoning shouldn’t be with out downside when utilized to the actual world of residing people. It is because not all people are philosophers – and certainly, in Plato’s view, not everyone seems to be able to changing into a thinker given the protracted and arduous coaching that one must endure to grow to be one. Hannah Arendt (1906–1975), a extremely influential political thinker of the 20 th century, notes that ‘Plato was the primary to introduce the division between those that know and don’t act and those that act and have no idea’ and that such a separation has remained ‘on the root of all theories of domination’ (Arendt 1958, 223, 225). What Arendt factors out on this comment shouldn’t be the hole between concept and follow, however relatively that Plato gives the normative floor for many who know the reality to inform those that have no idea what to do.
Arendt herself took on the problem of understanding the connection between fact and politics via her evaluation of Nazism and Stalinism. Arendt’s perception, which was controversial when The Origins of Totalitarianism was revealed in 1951, was to establish Nazism and Stalinism as consultant of a brand new type of political rule – totalitarianism – making it distinct from ‘different types of political oppression… akin to despotism, tyranny and dictatorship’ (Arendt 1973, 460). Arendt defines totalitarianism as a self- contained system of concepts pushed by their ‘logic’ and marked by a mode of reasoning referred to as ‘ideological pondering.’ Ideological pondering as such is a particular type of political reasoning outlined by three traits. First, ideological pondering claims to offer a ‘whole rationalization’ of all historic happenings, encompassing the previous, the current, and the long run. Second, whereas ideological pondering is an try to account for ‘factual actuality’ in its totality, this mode of pondering is paradoxically divorced from actuality and expertise. It is because expertise, being rooted in specificity, is clearly restricted in its declare to totality. It follows that as its third attribute, ideological pondering goals to emancipate thought from the limitation imposed by expertise via a ‘particular technique of demonstration.’ The strategy includes arranging info into an ‘completely logical process’ that begins from an ‘axiomatically accepted premise’. It’s, briefly, a ‘technique of deduction from a premise’ – which is the one doable motion within the realm of logic that results in one definitive conclusion. That is how the ‘logicality of ideological pondering’ gives the idea for whole rationalization and the ‘precept of motion’ for totalitarian motion (Arendt 1973, 468–474).
Acknowledged otherwise, totalitarianism is a type of uncompromising idealism that exists in a single’s head no matter shared actuality as skilled. It’s the perverse type of what Arendt later refers to as ‘rational fact’, which is the product of the ‘speculative thoughts’ that belongs to philosophy, arithmetic and the sciences. The ‘speculative thoughts’ is the thoughts engaged on its solution to generate axioms and theories by counting on the cognitive capability of the human mind (Arendt 1977, 231). The presence of others has no bearing in any respect on rational fact. In distinction, ‘factual fact’ is what occurs when people are ‘residing and performing collectively’ (Arendt 1977, 231). Factual fact is due to this fact specific and temporal by definition. However extra importantly, factual fact is ‘political by nature’ as a result of it might solely be validated within the context of the human neighborhood (Arendt 1977, 238). In different phrases, factual fact is about people of their plurality relatively than of their singularity. For factual fact to be sustainable, we want what Arendt calls ‘frequent sense’ – understood as ‘neighborhood sense’ (Arendt 1982, 72).
There may be additionally one other distinction about fact that Arendt makes which is pertinent to understanding how totalitarianism works. The difficulty is whether or not the so-called totalitarian ideology is solely an unnecessarily cumbersome method of claiming that it’s an all-round and polished lie. Right here, Arendt calls totalitarian ideology the ‘trendy lie’ – in distinction to the ‘conventional lie’. The latter is restricted by two situations: that it’s a lie concerning the ‘particulars’ and that it deceives solely the ‘enemy’ – which implies that the liar shouldn’t be engaged in self- deception. The fashionable lie, nevertheless, includes a ‘full rearrangement of the entire factual texture’. It additionally intends to deceive everybody alike, to the extent that those that provoke the lie ultimately ‘fall victims to their very own falsehood’ (Arendt 1977, 249–254).
This distinction between the standard and trendy lie is vital. It signifies that not solely is totalitarianism a lie, however the lie is actually too large to suit into the usual which means of the phrase. To inform a lie from fact, we want a typical normal. Within the case of a conventional lie, the frequent normal is exactly ‘the material of factuality’. As such, a lie at all times seems as a ‘tear’ to that material. But, trendy lies require making a surrogate actuality with a totally completely different context for info to suit ‘with out seam, crack, or fissure, precisely because the info fitted into their unique context’. Arendt notes that so long as those that concoct the surrogate actuality are ready to have interaction in self- deception to ‘create a semblance of truthfulness’, there’s nothing to forestall ‘these new tales, photos, and non-facts from changing into an ample substitute for actuality and factuality’ (Arendt 1977, 253–254).
Totalitarianism due to this fact requires an individual to face outdoors of the system itself so as to make sense of it. Arendt factors out that it’s futile for us to argue with (for instance) a Nazi or a Stalinist on race or class. To confront totalitarianism requires greater than only a confrontation with particular info. It’s a extra basic confrontation between actuality as skilled and its whole rejection. Which means Nazism and Stalinism are greater than radical methods of conducting racial battle or class wrestle. Slightly:
Totalitarian politics – removed from being merely antisemitic or racist or imperialist or communist – use and abuse their very own ideological and political parts till the idea of factual actuality, from which the ideologies initially derived their propaganda worth– the worth of wrestle, as an example, or the curiosity conflicts between Jews and their neighbours – have all however disappeared (Arendt 1973, xv).
The best topic of totalitarian rule shouldn’t be the satisfied Nazi or the satisfied Communist, however folks for whom the excellence between truth and fiction (that’s, the truth of expertise) and the excellence between true and false (that’s, the requirements of thought) now not exist (Arendt 1973, 474).
Who then is the ‘supreme topic’ of totalitarianism? Though there’s a revival of curiosity in Arendt’s statement on fact and politics for the reason that onset of post- fact politics, not sufficient has been mentioned about her reply to the query (Hyvönen 2018; Klinkler 2018; Lee 2019; Zerilli 2020). But if we check out Arendt’s portrait of this supreme topic, her view is much more pertinent to our present problem.
As a self-contained system of concepts that’s indifferent from expertise, totalitarian pondering presents consistency in ways in which actuality can’t. Arendt notes that this type of consistency is particularly interesting to those that have misplaced a way of bearing on the planet (Arendt 1973, 353). They represent what she calls the ‘plenty’. The ‘mass man’ is thus a extremely remoted and atomised particular person, who’s ‘obsessed by a need to flee from actuality’ (Arendt 1973, 318, 352). In his ‘important homelessness’ the mass man can ‘now not bear its unintentional, incomprehensible points’ (Arendt 1973, 352). This eager for escape from actuality is a ‘verdict in opposition to the world’ during which one is ‘compelled to stay’ however ‘can’t exist’ (Arendt 1973, 352). Such a state of affairs is ripe for the ‘revolt of the plenty’ in opposition to ‘frequent sense,’ which is ‘the results of their atomisation, of their lack of social standing’ and with it, the ‘complete sector of communal relationships in whose framework frequent sense is smart’ (Arendt 1973, 352). In brief, the plenty are people who find themselves thought of to be ‘superfluous or may be spared … [who] can’t be built-in into any organisation primarily based on frequent curiosity’ (Arendt 1973, 311).
Whether or not one agrees with Arendt’s evaluation of the social situations within the interwar years that led to the formation of the ‘plenty’, her portrait of the ‘mass man’ is a strong account of what can occur to a person who has grow to be disposable to the society that they used to belong to. Hand in hand with this phenomenon is certainly the collapse of ‘frequent sense’ that leaves the dislodged particular person scrambling for reconnection. By providing the plenty a substitute actuality validated by the ‘logic of an thought’ relatively than by expertise, totalitarianism makes it doable for them to stay in a world the place there is no such thing as a situation of plurality. Between ‘going through the anarchic development and whole arbitrariness of decay’ and ‘bowing down earlier than essentially the most inflexible, fantastically fictitious consistency of an ideology’, the plenty will seemingly ‘select the latter’ (Arendt 1973, 352). A world created by ideology, then, is extra engaging to the plenty not as a result of ‘they’re silly and depraved, however as a result of within the common catastrophe this escape grants them a minimal of self- respect’ by conjuring up ‘a mendacity world of consistency which is extra ample to the wants of the human thoughts than actuality itself’ (Arendt 1973, 353). Furthermore, it’s exactly this skill to ensure consistency that makes it doable for the leaders of totalitarian actions to demand ‘whole, unrestricted, unconditional and unalterable loyalty of the person member’ (Arendt 1973, 323).
Whereas this chapter shouldn’t be a research of the social components that led to particular modern developments akin to the results of the Brexit referendum or the election of Donald Trump in 2016, Arendt’s ‘mass man’ appear to have discovered their counterparts among the many supporters of Brexit and Trumpism. Research of voters’ profiles in each occasions level to a disproportionate share of supporters from white male decrease earnings backgrounds with out college educations. These are people who’ve both already misplaced their jobs to globalisation or who’re at excessive danger of dropping their job with little or no capability to be retrained for the twenty-first century market economic system of superior industrialised states (BBC 2016; Pew Analysis Heart 2018). In brief, these displaced employees are a part of the tapestry forming the trendy equal of Arendt’s ‘mass man’ – able to be the recruits of totalitarianism.
If we step again to take a extra complete method to the connection between fact and politics, each traditionally and theoretically, it isn’t so apparent that 2016 is a defining second. From historic China and historic Greece to our so-called post-truth age, the indeterminacy of language seems to be a persistent political problem. Language is at all times open to manipulation by its customers to serve energy. Nonetheless, the tendency lately is to single out the ubiquity of social media and the proliferation of Web platforms because the incubator for the numerous cyberwars of phrases that in flip gasoline the actual world of politics. On this context, language is now not the conveyor of goal info and correct info, however relatively the medium for expressing subjective opinions and emotions, as captured by the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the time period ‘post-truth politics’.
In distinction, the historic method used on this chapter exhibits that it’s actually too straightforward to level the determine on the Web and digital communication for the political problem that we face as we speak. What’s being steered right here is that with or with out the Web, language, be it used to convey info or feelings, is solely a device for communication that people have invented. Whereas language per se can’t adjudicate what’s true or not true, what is true or fallacious, it embodies such capability when language is a shared norm. That shared norm can’t be sustained with out some semblance of cohesion in any given neighborhood. Any disagreement, no matter its platform, is indicative of the breakdown of such cohesiveness.
Returning to the unique context during which the time period post-truth politics was first utilized by Steve Tesich helps to establish the vital distinction between fact as the usual for information and fact as the usual for motion. The 2 don’t essentially coincide. Positioned within the context of the historical past of political thought, this distinction is actually on the coronary heart of Plato’s Republic. But when the thinker because the quintessential bearer of fact turns into king, the polis that he guidelines over is way from the perfect of a simply state that it purports to be. As a substitute, it’s one that’s held collectively by lies and coercion. What Arendt reveals via her research of Nazism and Stalinism is that it’s harmful for the type of fact that philosophy generates – ‘rational fact’ – to grow to be the information to politics. Politics guided by rational fact can solely be uncompromising and follows a logic of its personal that can’t afford the paradox and indeterminacy of actuality as lived experiences of people.
A world of post-truth politics may be a chance for a brand new type of politics whether it is certainly about dismantling the concept fact is the perfect that politics ought to attempt for. However because it stands, the post-truth politics of as we speak is extra about invoking a previous that by no means exists to evaluate the presence as a disaster in naming when the actual disaster is about rebuilding a shared house that has room for all – be they of the left, proper or centre; cosmopolitan or parochial; civic-minded or self-centred; liberal-minded or bigoted. Politics is and at all times will likely be about striving for that house, with out which no human can thrive.
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