Saturday 8 September 2018

The Tyranny of Now

I don't drive and so learn a huge amount, as well as improving my Romanian, by talking to taxi drivers. I had one especially interesting one who impressed me a lot but lost my confidence when he told me in confidence a discovery he had made. He had discovered that the world was flat. He explained that the moon landings had been staged. 

He asked me to keep this a secret and though I made him no promise I feel bad about repeating the story.

I do so because a film has come out about man (person) landing on the moon. It does not pretend that the moon landings were faked out but it lies in its own, to me very curious, 
way. It does not show Neil Armstrong planting the US flag on the moon, which was the point of the whole hideously expensive enterprise. I know because I watched it on TV.

I mention this because of Rod Liddle's latest article in the Spectator, in which that brilliant man excels himself on what he calls the tyranny of now. Here is a sliver to whet your appetite.
It’s bad enough to be patriotic at the best of times, but to do so when that fascist is waving the Stars and Stripes around would be unconscionable. Meanwhile, the actual benefit to ‘humankind’ as a consequence of the moon landings was ephemeral, fleeting and slight. Nonstick frying pans, anyone? 

We are in the Tyranny of Now. A time when the liberals in Hollywood or at the BBC or on our university campuses will rewrite or eradicate history according to their own manifestos, and where everything that happened in the past is subject to a Manichaean divide. In a film about slavery, the black people will be uniquely good, the whites uniquely bad, conveniently avoiding the issue that black Africans instigated the slave trade and continued it long after we’d been pricked by our honky consciences. Attempt to suggest that not everything that came from colonialism was uniformly bad, as one Oxford professor did recently, and you will be subjected to a moronic inferno of howled abuse — even though, palpably, nothing is quite so black and white as the liberals see it.

Historians obviously have a duty to battle with the tyranny of now, but they are often the worst culprits, especially in North America. Look at this story from the Independent.

Donald Trump‘s decision to mock a rival by calling her “Pocahontas” could lead to his impeachment, a political historian has claimed.
The US President used the Native American icon’s name to refer to Senator Elizabeth Warren during a White House event honouring Navajo veterans, who helped the US Armed Forces to pass secret messages during the Second World War.
Political historian Allan Lichtman who has authored The Case for Impeachment, said the comment [could] form “part of an article of impeachment.”
He added that Abuse of Congress has previously been cited as grounds to remove a US president. 
An 1868 article of impeachment against Mr Johnson – one of only two US Presidents who have been impeached – said he “used intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues … and loud threats and bitter menaces … against Congress”.
Of course impeachment is a purely political process and anything could be included in articles of impeachment, so the good Professor Lichtman is not wrong. 

1 comment:

  1. Professor Lichtman, incidentally, successfully predicted the results of all presidential elections since 1984 using a system called The Keys to the White House. He made the headlines after predicting Mr. Trump would win - though he slightly hedged his bets closer to the poll in view of how unusual the election was. I remember reading the original story and being sceptical. How much has happened since then.