May 21 2010

Relative to Albert Einstein…

 Thanks to “my” crack team of researchers, here’s the letter by Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook, and others, first published in the Books section (page 12) of The New York Times, Saturday December 4, 1948:

 http://www.archive.org/details/AlbertEinsteinLetterToTheNewYorkTimes.December41948 or http://bit.ly/d5pUR7 or http://tinyurl.com/2av8cho (thanks Børre)

 …interesting that “terror” or “terrorist” shows up 7 times.  And here is a very good response to Beinart’s piece by Phillip Weiss.  This is his May 17 blog post on Mondoweiss.net:

 http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/ny-review-of-books-spots-the-israel-lobby-through-a-glass-darkly.html or http://bit.ly/bnqEcj or http://tinyurl.com/2eslp68 (thanks Monroe)

 …Weiss reminds his readers that Tony Judt (a British historian, author, and New York University professor) regards Peter Beinart as “one of George Bush’s useful idiots, … a man who helped push the U.S. to war in Iraq and who worked for AIPAC during the 2008 election…”

 One of Weiss’ readers added a link to Andrew Sullivan’s comments in “The Daily Dish” in which another reader (after Sullivan describes Sarah Palin as a “settler-fanatic”) notes:

 I’m currently reading Birds Without Wings, a novel by Louis de Bernières about the last days of the Ottoman Empire. Last night I felt very squeamish about a Palin candidacy after reading this sentence:

 “The triple contagions of nationalism, utopianism and religious absolutism effervesce together into an acid that corrodes the moral metal of a race, and it shamelessly and even proudly performs deeds that it would deem vile if they were done by any other.”

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/05/zionism-in-crisis-ctd.html or http://bit.ly/dsxNue or http://tinyurl.com/2g8qkn9

 Amen.  We’ve seen that devil’s brew too often throughout the Middle East and now as a gathering political storm here in America.  Sullivan thinks Palin’s “fundamentalist belligerence” is a non-starter for the West, but I wonder…

I am constantly reminded that ignorance, especially mine, goes on forever.  One of the Jewish authors of that 1948 NYT letter, along with Albert Einstein, was Hannah Arendt (1906 – 1975).  Curious as to who she was, I meandered through the web and have quickly concluded that she is/was a fascinating character!  Here are a few introductory links (in case my curiosity is contagious):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannah_Arendt
http://www.bard.edu/arendtcollection/
http://www.counterpunch.org/keen09242007.html (this 2007 essay by David Keen, titled “Learning About the Iraq War from Hannah Arendt,” brings the conversation full circle, from those horrific decades before and after WW2 to our current scene.  The reflections in history’s mirror are discomfortingly familiar.  Keen’s discussion of “just world thinking” well explains why the foolishness emanating from too many politicians and preachers resonates so easily among Americans desperate for a morsel of self-respect.)

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/05/21/relative-to-albert-einstein/

1 comment

1 ping

    • Mike Nunn on November 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Excellent comments. Send them to Obama.

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