Against History: A Lesson from Simone Weil

Weil said progress is a myth. Should we listen?

“My fellow Americans,” Barack Obama said in a speech late in his presidency condemning terrorism, “I am confident in this mission because we are on the right side of history.”  When I heard him say that, I immediately thought: what’s history got to do with it?  I recalled Obama’s fondness for Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” A moving sentiment, indeed; but is it true?  I’m dismayed by Obama’s penchant, by no means unique to him, to see history as the arbiter of justice, by the tendency to subscribe to a belief in “the judgment of history”. I wasn’t alone in my dismay. In an article in The Atlantic in 2015, “The Wrong Side of ‘The Right Side of History’”, David Green expounded at length on the fallacy of awaiting the judgment of history, of time, to which Obama, and many others, has apparently succumbed. It is a dangerous fallacy. “Everything that is threate

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Otto Gleichner 29 November 2022

Leaving a comment in one of these articles is a waste of time because the author never bothers to react. Does this mean that people who leave comments are beneath us?

Nicholas Stephens 11 August 2021

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Abraham Joseph 15 October 2017

Commenting here in these columns, a futile exercise; I have never seen an author showing minimum social courtesy of responding to a comment! Are those who comment, lesser mortals?