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.
— Hannah Arendt
Action without a name, a who attached to it, is meaningless.
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.
The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.
The more dubious and uncertain an instrument violence has become in international relations, the more it has gained in reputation and appeal in domestic affairs, specifically in the matter of revolution.
The Third World is not a reality but an ideology.
Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.
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.
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.
Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words that equal what is given by the senses.
Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible.
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.
This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
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.
Culture relates to objects and is a phenomenon of the world; entertainment relates to people and is a phenomenon of life.
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.
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.
We have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their abundance.
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.
Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
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.
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
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.
These are the fifties, you know. The disgusting, posturing fifties.
Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.
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.
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.
Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.
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.
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.
War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else. From beauty no road leads to reality.
Few girls are as well shaped as a good horse.
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.