Tag: Hegel

Right or Wrong, History Has No ‘Sides’

 

“[Y]ou cannot deliberate about the inevitable, which is how progressives think of history. As we’ve been told for generations now, ad nauseam, you can’t turn back the clock. By the same token, however, you also can’t turn the clock ahead… Either you’re on the right side of history or the wrong side, where the right side is necessarily understood to mean the winning side, and the wrong side the losing one. Otherwise, this would not be a historical test but an abstract moral or philosophical one.”
— Charles R. Kesler, Crisis of the Two Constitutions, pp. 258-259

In his most recent book, Charles Kesler dismantles one of my many political pet peeves: the conceit of being “on the right side of history.” As I’ve said in debates countless times, history has no sides.

As an example, let me concoct a pair of 20th-century Russians. In 1910, Dmitri was a conscientious church deacon who fully supported Czar Nicholas II. Was Deacon Dmitri on the “right side of history?” Sure … at least until 1917, when Nicholas was forced to abdicate and was later shot. I suppose the deacon was on the wrong side of history from then on.

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I will end my attempt to correct an annoying new mistake concerning thinking about decent politics & terror. I have argued that this is inadequate theoretically & a liberal prejudice practically. Finally, I have some remarks on how Americans can understand what’s at stake & how the non-American additions to American government in the age […]

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Mr. Goldberg is one of the most pleasant people American conservatism can now boast. He seems very humane & loves dogs. One reads his comments on American politics with a sense of ease–moral ease–this is a man who distinguishes principle from expedience & who desires to be intellectually honest, like Max Weber told educated people […]

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A central – perhaps *the* central idea of Marxism – is that “History” has laws, which are in principle discoverable. Marx claimed to have discovered them. He insisted that future “History”  – the general shape of events – could in principle be foreseen,  no less than the past is discernible from records. “The wrong side of history”, is […]

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This is a kind of quatrain & a kind of poem Kipling seems to have enjoyed writing. Here’s John Derbyshire reading it, which should be enough to charm you. I’m not sure he invented it, but I find it hard to believe anyone did it better. See The Conundrum of The Workshops, New lamps for […]

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