“In the normal telling, history is driven by visionaries and revolutionaries. If you studied history in school you probably plowed through book after book about this revolution or that one — the American Revolution or the French, the industrial revolution or the information one. In the normal telling of the past, events are driven by revolutionaries, and the few reactionaries who stand in the way get run over.
But really, history is often a volley between revolutionaries (who take control in some periods) and reactionaries (who drive events in others). Today, as the Columbia political theorist Mark Lilla points out in his compelling new book, “The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction,” reactionaries are in the saddle.
Reactionaries, whether angry white Trumpians, European nationalists, radical Islamists or left-wing anti-globalists, are loud, self-confident and on the march.”
Thank you David Brooks for a challenging piece of writing. You have a masterly way of skating around and making sense. I am struck by an unexpected similarity between the right wing bible thumping reactionaries behind Trump, and my own crowd of depressed, but ardent, environmentalists. We have are own fear of apocalypse, or ending of life as we know it. It is not from too many people of color, but, of just too many damned people. We are looking at population growth going from 2 to 7.5 billion in just a hundred years, and the destruction of 50% or 85% of the current species on the planet in the next 100 years. We are the meteor, we are the Anthropocene. So we environmentalists have an apocalyptic view, just like our Trump supporting brethren.