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Great Man versus social forces

25 Nov

Happy belated Thanksgiving / Happy Black Friday to my American friends, by the way. Hope you’re enjoying the holiday, and salty prog tears around your family dinner tables. 😉

In thinking about the recent American election results, I got to thinking of the old argument in historian circles over the Great Man view of history versus social forces.

Must we even frame it as one or the other?

Why can’t it be both, that drive history?

I submit that in the case of the Donald, it was both.

Yes, Trump is a walking ego with a larger than life persona who set out to achieve the improbable and did it.

But what he did was win an election, which requires millions to vote the same way.

And so they did, in spite of everyone telling them not to – the media, the entertainment industry, academia, politicians, Christian leaders, etc.

I submit that while Great Men make history, so do movements. Not sure, in terms of elections, that the two can be untangled from each other.

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6 Comments

Posted by on November 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

6 responses to “Great Man versus social forces

  1. Peregrino Nuzkwamia

    November 25, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    The “social forces” theory of history is Marxism, plain and simple. And it’s false. Without the discoveries of great scientists & inventors, the theories of intellectuals and prophets, and the decisions of great leaders, there would simply be no history.

     
    • Will S.

      November 25, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      I agree about the roles of great people in driving big change, but what of populist movements, esp. unguided, leaderless ones such as blogs centred around similar themes? Or are they actually driven by personalities such as yours truly (perish the thought, lol)?

       
      • Peregrino Nuzkwamia

        November 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm

        I think they’ve pretty much always got a few personalities producing most of the ideas, inventing strategies, and focusing the energy. Without them, you could have flare-ups of passion about one thing or another, but these would rapidly dissipate with little or no enduring effect.

         
      • Will S.

        November 25, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        Fair enough. That indeed seems to be how influential blogs operate. Vox Day makes much sport of being ‘the Supreme Dark Lord’, but no question, he wields huge influence, and indeed has many ‘minions’ doing his bidding. 🙂

         

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