Triumphs of the Spirit: How History Responds to ideas and Yearnings

How history responds to ideas and yearnings

So, little by little, time brings out each several thing into view, and reason raises it up into the shores of light.

—Lucretius

News, almost by definition, tends in the other direction.

Events may be merely busy, of course—a sort of itch of the unusual, a restlessness in the world. But when the news is momentous, it may run toward darker, murkier regions, toward war and catastrophe.

Yet, sometimes, the news does rise toward the shores of light. Sometimes history responds not merely to the promptings of blind accident or economic tides but to the pressure of ideas or...

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