For Arendt, what sorts of question belong in politics (as opposed to social questions)?
David Brinsky

It is a question often asked. Politics for Arendt is about matters that concern the public and specifically public freedom. So they would include everything from should we have welfare or do we prefer to let people starve? Freedom means misery should be avoided since miserable people can’t pursue freedom. Should we spend money on teachers and police or should we reduce taxes? That is a political question about freedom, two different ideas of freedom. Should we fight a war or should we let Syrians die? Again, a question about freedom. Those are political questions. But once the basics are decided, the details and technicalities she thinks are bureaucratic. She would see preventing misery as properly political, but doesn’t think politics should try to equalize income, as the latter requires limiting freedom and trades freedom for social equality. Her view is that as long as people are not miserable and are thus able to act and speak and engage in politics, we should let them engage in politics. If they demand more of the economic pie, that is politics, but it is a politics that in her mind would reduce the space of politics as more of pubilc and private life is administered by bureaucracy.

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