By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
People who write or say “history will judge us,” have they considered that in the future there may not be history?
I mean, considering the way the world is going, with countries declining and where the future looks more like Syria, what history will there be to “judge” us?
Consider the fact that the 20th century saw great advances in human endeavor and technology; major revolutions in understanding and advancement of concepts of human rights, minority rights and women rights.
But the 21st century is the opposite. There is and will be a greater erosion of all those rights. Slavery will return, as it has in Iraq and Syria. Genocide, which happened in the 20th century, will return and grow ore extreme. Mass chaos and poverty and failed states will increase. Democracy will disappear, as it slowly did in Turkey, Russia and Venezuela, not with protests, but through the ballot box, as democracies vote themselves populists and vote away rights; people will embrace new-found religiosity and prosecute and hang people for “blasphemy” and killing of people for free thought will be normal. Countries will waver between being bureaucratic CCTV-police states and total chaos.
So what’s this history you worry about “judging” you. You think history judges al-Qaeda or Boko Haram, or ISIS badly? If you surveyed Europe you’d find tens of thousands who want to join ISIS. You’d find people from Oxford and the best schools who shrug their shoulders at ISIS crimes.
Boko Haram won’t be judged badly in the future, it is the future for much of Africa. The Taliban is the future for parts of South and Central Asia. Hezbollah is the future.
These organizations don’t have history, they don’t have learning and intellectual endeavors. There are no universities endowed by Hezbollah. Shia militias don’t build universities.
So don’t worry so much about how history will “judge our actions today”, there probably won’t be much history in 100 years. Sorry to say that, but it’s true. There is no evidence of human endeavor to make the world better and increase rights and democracy and peace and prosperity today. There is just a rush to the bottom.