January 20th, 2010

A Birthday

The Whig Interpretation Of History

Being an expansion of  "Non-Feudal Political Systems in Fantasy"--something from the panel that I forgot at the time. . . .

Anyway, a panelist warned the audience about the Whig Interpretation of History -- so named because first diagnosed in the Whigs.  It is basically the theory that history is teleological, and the aim and summit of its purpose is the glorious wonderfulness that is one's self and one's society.

In ancien regime Europe, people knew of democracy.  It was a thing of the past.  And there's no guarantee that it will be a thing of the future.  Tocqueville warned, a while ago, about the danger that the populace will learn to vote themselves largesse from the public treasury, and lo and behold, you see the deficits of nowadays.

Always be wary of regarding history as occurring in stages.  Marxism is particularly blatant about it, but you find it pervading much of historical studies.

Tragically, you will also find it in readers, who, given the chance to broaden their minds by reading about a place and time different from theirs and people who think differently, will reject it as "backwards" or what have you.  Indeed, some seem anxious not to taint their tolerance and inclusivity by reading about people who are different.