Thursday, March 30, 2017

History Takes No Side

Former President Obama was fond of the statement "History is on our side." or of some policy "being on the side of history." Now a Yahoo News story has a holocaust survivor using that same glib formulation. Both were quite simply mistaken.

History takes no side. There is no "arc of history." We humans don't go inexorably from less civilized to more civilized, however much you wish it were true.

How else to explain the Dark Ages following on the heels of the quite elaborate and developed Greek and Roman civilizations? How else to explain the non-continuation of Mayan civilization, the collapse of the Chaco civilization of what are called the Anasazi or "old ones."

At various times the Egyptians, the Persians, the Arabs or the Chinese were at the apex of what passes for civilization on this planet. None has been there in recent centuries.

At the moment it is our turn in the U.S., how long our turn will last is difficult to predict. That it will eventually end is a sure thing.

So ... the next time some self-anointed smartypants talks about history being on his/her/its side, laugh in their face. To your sorrow, you know better.