Hannah Arendt

(Johanna "Hannah" Cohn Arendt)

Hannah Arendt
Hannah Arendt
  • Born: October 14, 1906
  • Died: December 4, 1975
  • Nationality: German, American
  • Profession: Historian









Quote Topics Cited
‘National Security’ is, in effect, a translation of the European concept of ‘raison d’etat’, providing cover for a government that felt free to break through all traditional limits on its power. Defense & National Security
A conception of law which identifies what is right with the notion of what is good for—for the individual, or the family, or the people, or the largest number—becomes inevitable once the absolute and transcendent measurements of religion or the law of nature have lost their authority Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Civil disobedients are nothing but the latest form of voluntary association, and that they are thus quite in tune with the oldest traditions of the country. Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations
Economic growth may one day turn out to be a curse rather than a good, and under no conditions can it either lead into freedom or constitute a proof for its existence. Development & Growth ;Freedom & Liberty
Equality ... is the result of human organization.... We are not born equal. Equality & Equal Opportunity
For the first time in history all people on earth have a common present…. Every country has become the moat immediate neighbor of every other country, and every man feels the shock of events which take place at the other end of the globe. History
I have no exact political philosophy that I could summon up with one ism. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Let's admit the fact that it is only the establishment of the State of Israel that has, in effect, made these individuals into beings entitled to rights States. Nations & Nationhood
Most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny. History ;Freedom & Liberty ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
One of my main intentions was to destroy the legend of the greatness of evil, of the demonic force. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
Our whole economy has become a waste economy, in which things must be almost as quickly devoured and discarded as they have appeared in the world, if the process itself is not to come to a sudden catastrophic end.. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Race is, politically speaking, not the beginning of humanity but its end, not the origin of peoples but their decay, not the natural birth of man but his unnatural death. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Speech is what makes man a political being. Oratory, Discussion & Debate
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
The political seems to be concerned with honor, recognition in the public sphere, competition, which are very different than the virtues of the private sphere to which women have been historically assigned, which is more about continuing life, nurturing the young, attentiveness to everyday-ness. The virtue of the public sphere may be honor, but the virtue of the private sphere is care and concern. Minorities & Women
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never made up their minds to be either good or evil. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
The word "education" has an evil sound in politics; there is a pretense of education, when the real purpose is coercion without the use of force. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous. Freedom & Liberty
To think critically is always to be hostile. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
Action without a name, a who attached to it, is meaningless.
By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else. From beauty no road leads to reality. Nature
Culture relates to objects and is a phenomenon of the world; entertainment relates to people and is a phenomenon of life. Life
Death not merely ends life, it also bestows upon it a silent completeness, snatched from the hazardous flux to which all things human are subject. Life ;Death
Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself. Give yourself peace of mind. You deserve to be happy. You deserve delight. War & Peace
Few girls are as well shaped as a good horse.
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom. Freedom & Liberty
In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism. Death
It is in the very nature of things human that every act that has once made its appearance and has been recorded in the history of mankind stays with mankind as a potentiality long after its actuality has become a thing of the past. Nature ;History
It is my contention that civil disobediences are nothing but the latest form of voluntary association, and that they are thus quite in tune with the oldest traditions of the country.
Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity. Freedom & Liberty
No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. On the contrary, whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been. Time ;Power
Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words that equal what is given by the senses.
Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.
Our tradition of political thought had its definite beginning in the teachings of Plato and Aristotle. I believe it came to a no less definite end in the theories of Karl Marx.
Poets are the only people to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance. Power
Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible. Future
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up. Power
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.
The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.
The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil. Truth
The Third World is not a reality but an ideology.
The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide. Truth
The ultimate end of human acts is eudaimonia, happiness in the sense of living well, which all men desire; all acts are but different means chosen to arrive at it. Happiness & Unhappiness
These are the fifties, you know. The disgusting, posturing fifties.
This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.
To be free in an age like ours, one must be in a position of authority. That in itself would be enough to make me ambitious.
Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford. War & Peace
We have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their abundance. Life
Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.
Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.