This piece first appeared on XYZ.
There is a tendency among people in our time to think of history in basically progressive terms. We tend to assume that we started off as apes, became brutes, toiled as serfs, liberated ourselves as peasants and now stand sovereign and enlightened as the technologically godlike, infinitely reasonable and eminently sane modern man (or woman or trans* person or genderqueer). We believe that history has been, if not a moral arc of progress as described by Barry Soetoro-Obama, at least an incremental improvement upon what went before. In this worldview, or what the Germans perfectly call a weltanschauung, we are the pinnacle of humanity over time.… Read the rest