Thesis

An Arendtian truth: reality, lies, and the Trump administration

Thesis (M.A., Government)--California State University, Sacramento, 2018.

The Trump administration has spurred a resurgence of Arendtian ideas, namely those associated with a possible rise of totalitarianism, the danger associated with a distrust of the media and the relationship between action, speech, and truth as it relates to the political realm. In section “II: Interpreting Arendt’s Concepts of Truth,” I analyze Arendt’s conception of factual truth as it relates to the actions of the Trump administration, which I argue can only be fully understood by examining its relationship with reality, speech, and action. This paper uses several of Arendt’s works including The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, Between Past and Future, Crises in the Republic, and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, to interpret Arendt’s elements of totalitarian regimes; her concepts of human plurality, natality, the political realm, and the capacity for action; and her distinctions between rational, philosophical, and factual truth. In section “III: Applying Arendt to the Trump Administration,” I provide an analysis of how facts, lies, bullshit, and truth are used within the Trump administration and how their specific actions compare to Arendt’s conception of factual truth within the political realm. In conclusion, I argue that truth has a place in all areas of our lives, especially within politics, for without it, we are destined to lose the very concept of reality—and will undoubtedly—see history repeat itself.

The Trump administration has spurred a resurgence of Arendtian ideas, namely those associated with a possible rise of totalitarianism, the danger associated with a distrust of the media and the relationship between action, speech, and truth as it relates to the political realm. In section “II: Interpreting Arendt’s Concepts of Truth,” I analyze Arendt’s conception of factual truth as it relates to the actions of the Trump administration, which I argue can only be fully understood by examining its relationship with reality, speech, and action. This paper uses several of Arendt’s works including The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, Between Past and Future, Crises in the Republic, and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, to interpret Arendt’s elements of totalitarian regimes; her concepts of human plurality, natality, the political realm, and the capacity for action; and her distinctions between rational, philosophical, and factual truth. In section “III: Applying Arendt to the Trump Administration,” I provide an analysis of how facts, lies, bullshit, and truth are used within the Trump administration and how their specific actions compare to Arendt’s conception of factual truth within the political realm. In conclusion, I argue that truth has a place in all areas of our lives, especially within politics, for without it, we are destined to lose the very concept of reality—and will undoubtedly—see history repeat itself.

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