the unpredictability of history

It’s easy to fall for the myth of the inevitability of history. But the one thing that is certain about history is that nothing is certain.

Most of the significant political events of the past three decades or so have come as a complete surprise to political pundits, journalists and historians. In 1976 no-one would have predicted that within four years Ronald Reagan would be President of the United States and that within less than fifteen years the Cold War would be won and the Berlin Wall would be no more than a memory.

Ten years ago even the most optimistic global warming sceptics would not have predicted that the global warming hoax would crash and burn as spectacularly as it has, to the point where even the Europeans (the Europeans!!) are losing faith in the fantasies of solar power and wind farms.

Ten years ago no-one would have expected that a doctrinaire Marxist who openly hates the US would be in the White House.

Ten years ago no-one would have predicted the rise of the Tea Party.

Ten years ago who would have expected the rise of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands? Who would have expected that even in Sweden, the most oppressively totalitarian of all European leftist regimes, a party like the Sweden Democrats would have emerged?

Politics in western countries has become extremely volatile. The old tribal political allegiances are meaningless. We’ve seen this happen in Australia, in the recent NSW election, when the Labor Party made the unpleasant discovery that there’s no such thing as a safe Labor seat. There’s no such thing as a safe seat.

That’s why it’s foolish to become excessively optimistic or excessively pessimistic. There will always be opportunities, we just have to be ready to grab them when they appear.

This entry was posted in history.

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