If there is one concept that’s taken a massive hit from Donald Trump’s election, it is the idea that secular history can be predicted with certainty by “experts.” Trump’s election, along with the re-election of an energetic Republican Congress, is hardly the first to surprise political pundits, but it is surely one of the most stunning of modern times. And therein lies a lesson. People who speak about inexorable historical trends, or assert (often
for ideological reasons
) that they are on the “right” side of history, and can therefore read it with pin-point accuracy, are no more reliable than broken weathervanes.

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