Zantovsky on History

13 01 2010

“Based on the known record, history is more likely a complex process in which each event is to a larger, smaller, or infinitesimal extent the result of everything that has happened before combined with a healthy dose of randomness. As such, it carries forward and perpetuates, at least for a time, not only human growth and human achievements but also our weaknesses, fallacies, inconsistencies, and failures. That is why it comes back to haunt us so often. One can only ask whether the post-Cold War world would be any different if Communism was smashed to dust and eradicated the way Nazism was. In the event, to the vast relief of people in the West and East alike, it imploded peacefully. But perhaps in doing so, it was also allowed to scatter tiny bits of its tyrannical self, its messianic arrogance, its ignorance of human nature, and its fundamental immorality to the ends of the earth. It is gone but not dead. In any case, democracies seem to have been much more aware of their fundamental values and the price of liberty when the totalitarian threat was still around.”

Michael Zantovsky, Resumption: The Gears of 1989, World Affairs Journal

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