Brendan O’Neill writes:
Many now conceive of themselves as the products of history, as the damaged goods of historical events or as fragile specks of anomie who must heed history’s warnings, be dutiful to the past, or at least to the reading of the past by a newly emboldened history class. Movements like Rhodes Must Fall, consisting of black students who want statues of Cecil Rhodes taken down, claim to be victims of ‘the colonial wound’. The children and even grandchildren of Holocaust victims or survivors claim to suffer from ‘Holocaust trauma’. Everywhere from Ireland, with its unsavoury obsession with the Famine of the 1840s and its impact on the Irish psyche, to the US, where slavery is now treated as a kind of original sin that the republic will never wipe clean, history appears not only as a power in itself, but as the sealer of nations’ fates and shaper of individuals’ minds and souls. History makes us, we don’t make it. (…)
Give me the ‘peril’ of ignoring history over the dead conformism and empty stability of obeying it. This stability is built on the suppression through technocracy of politics, of ideology, of the ‘daring, courage, imagination and idealism’, in Fukuyama’s words, that earlier historically conscious periods frequently called into action; it is a soulless stability, a stability that hinges on the demeaning of the historical imagination, and as such it deserves to be destroyed. So in 2017, do not heed ‘history’; challenge it.