Commentary

Horrible Histories | New Republic

“The best part of On Tyranny is the epilogue, a thoughtful meditation on the fate of history in our moment. Snyder connects Trump’s rise to the deeply ingrained belief among elites that history had ended. Triumphant after the close of the Cold War, Americans luxuriated in a fantasy that they lived in a perfected polity, an illusion that withstood even the ruptures of September 11 and the global economic meltdown in 2008. Believing “that there was nothing in the future but more of the same,” Americans came to feel, in Snyder’s words, that “history was no longer relevant.”Now history has resumed with a vengeance. With each passing day, the course of events threatens national institutions and stability as it has not for many decades. “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil,” General Tony Thomas, who serves as head of U.S. Special Operations Command, told a military conference in Maryland in early February. “I hope they sort it out soon, because we’re a nation at war.” Although Trump himself has only a shallow historical consciousness, his legacy may be to teach an entire nation the full import of Faulkner’s words from Requiem for a Nun: “The past is never dead. It’s not even the past.”

Source: Horrible Histories | New Republic

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