appeals to yesterdays that never were

I like to think this blog is about my own ideas, but sometimes something comes along that’s worth repeating. This is one of those.

“The late Ryszard Kapuściński coined a striking term to describe those susceptible to demagoguery,” writes Adam Hochschild in a recent issue of The New York Review of Books.

“They were believers, he said, in the Great Yesterday.

“In the last few years we’ve seen inflammatory strongmen, from Viktor Orbán to Narendra Modi to Donald Trump, evoking visions of Great Yesterdays, from a Greater Hungary to an India without Muslims to an America without immigrants of color.

“Besides their shaky connection with actual history, such Great Yesterdays have several features in common.

“One, hinted if not spelled out, is that everyone who enjoyed that golden era in the past was of the same ethnicity or religion.

“Another is that the Great Yesterday was destroyed by malevolent outsiders…”