The Scholar’s Stage writes:
If I were to resurrect one person to comment on our current dilemmas, that person would be Hannah Arendt.
What issue of importance today did she not ponder? How should Western countries understand and respond to authoritarian states? What makes meaningful community possible? Does bureaucracy, technology, and settled life diminish our freedom? Why do politicians lie—and what consequences should there be for lying in office? How do political institutions decay? Should we forgive our political enemies? When is violence justified, and when is it not? How can it be controlled or avoided? What should the ‘justice’ in phrases like ‘social justice’ actually mean? What role should guilt, rage, and fear play in our political lives? How should we translate abstract political principles into living realities?
Arendt wrote about all of these things and more. She would have the intellectual background needed to say something useful about the biggest political and social challenges we face today: America’s relationship with China, technology’s encroach upon democracy, the unsettled relation between the sexes, the collapse of American social capital and community life, the strengths and foibles of social justice campaigning, partisanship and ‘post-reality’ politics, and of course, the presidency of Donald Trump.
I wish we could hear her opinions on these things. I wish this because I honestly do not know what her opinions would be. I recognize positions she would not adopt, but I can only guess what she would make of Facebook or consider the proper political grounding for impeachment.
A case is made against several other plausible options, including the Founding Fathers. One approach is simply to ask who would be good on television, or on social media. Another is to pick a person whose historical reputation is so strong that he or she cannot be ignored — perhaps that would militate in favor of Abraham Lincoln or how about Jane Austen? Perhaps attention is the true scarcity that needs to be overcome.
I believe I would revive Confucius, at least assuming everyone would accept that it is indeed the real Confucius. He is perhaps the person most likely to have an influence in China, and there is some chance he would seek to reverse the current course of political events.