Ross Douthat speculates on whether history is repeating itself and we are entering a period of American history not unlike the late 60s/early 70s.
History rhymes rather than repeats; we are not reliving the widening gyre that Didion discerned. But there are echoes and recurrences linking this difficult moment to the American berserk of two generations back.Now as then there is urban unrest, a sudden rise in homicides, tensions between protesters and cops; even white nationalism is re-emerging from its post-segregation sleep. Now as then there is campus activism, the New Left reborn as Social Justice Warriors. Now as then there is a spate of domestic terror attacks. Now as then — much more now than then, in fact — there is a pervasive mistrust of institutions, a sense that the country is rotting from the head down.
Click through to read the whole thing, but Douthat concludes that we (probably) aren't about to experience 1968 redux. On the way to church yesterday I heard a speaker on NPR compare this moment with that one with the comment "our cities aren't burning, but the internet is burning." As bad as that is -- and if you spend any time reading comment threads you'll be profoundly depressed -- I fervently hope it remains that way.