• Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.
• Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate, and where no opportunity for the forming of opinions exists, there may be moods -- moods of the masses and moods of individuals, the latter no less fickle and unreliable than the former -- but no opinion.
• 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.
• There is all the difference in the world between the criminal's avoiding the public eye and the civil disobedient's taking the law into his own hands in open defiance. This distinction between an open violation of the law, performed in public, and a clandestine one is so glaringly obvious that it can be neglected only by prejudice or ill will.
• Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
• 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.
• When we were told that by freedom we understood free enterprise, we did very little to dispel this monstrous falsehood. Wealth and economic well-being, we have asserted, are the fruits of freedom, while we should have been the first to know that this kind of "happiness" has been an unmixed blessing only in this country, and it is a minor blessing compared with the truly political freedoms, such as freedom of speech and thought, of assembly and association, even under the best conditions.
• 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.
• In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
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About These Quotes
Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2005. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Hannah Arendt Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/cs/quotes/hannah_arendt.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)