History in the Making

What follows is a rewording of a blog I posted in February that’s lodged in my mind and I think worth repeating. What about the “arc of history” and talk about “the right side of history”? Neither exists. That’s not cause for despair. If the arc of history bends in the right direction, it will be because enough good people made it happen.

History in the making seems to be a matter of lulls and big events, with undercurrents flowing all the time. In some ways it’s like geology, where forces are at work all the time but are not noticeable except to experts who are aware of stresses building up that at some point will result in a devastating earthquake or volcanic eruption. In recent years, big events have been occurring at an unusual rate, e.g. the election of a sociopathic aspiring autocrat as president of the United States in 2016; the failure of the Republican Party and the great majority of Republicans to repudiate him and hold him accountable, choosing instead to adopt his depraved moral ethos as their own; the rise of authoritarianism and brutalism and weakening of democratic institutions throughout the world; the stark failure of humanity to combat global warming; the transition of the Supreme Court of the United States into an instrument for implementing an extreme right-wing agenda; the Covid pandemic and threat of future ones; the rise of an imperially minded regime in China and rapid militarization of that country; and the shedding of inhibitions on the part of a depraved Russian dictator of Napoleonic bent, resulting in an ongoing horrifying amount of death and suffering and the peril-generating resumption of the Cold War.