Religion Can No Longer Claim Moral Superiority, and Six Other Lessons From the Coronavirus Crisis

The global coronavirus crisis is unprecedented in many ways – with the power of states unchecked, freedoms crushed and values distorted – but it's already possible to draw a few lessons from it

Eva Illouz
Eva Illouz
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A laborer sanitizes the stones of the Western Wall as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, March 31, 2020.
A laborer sanitizes the stones of the Western Wall as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, March 31, 2020.Credit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

When she wrote “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” Hannah Arendt used a method of analysis that we may characterize as anti-historical: She refused to understand the present with analogies drawn from the past; she rejected used and worn philosophical categories to make sense of something entirely new. The book was a prelude to an inquiry whose basic question continued to occupy her until the end of her life: How should we judge the present? Her thought led her to agree with Tocqueville’s claim that in a time of crisis the mind “errs in darkness.”