Forgetfulness: Making the Modern Culture of Amnesia

John Gray very warmly reviews Francis O’Gorman’s Forgetfulness: Making the Modern Culture of Amnesia. Trying to control culture from a rationalistic perspective is bound to frustrate: the upshot is that cultural marxists have to double down, manifest as even more authoritarian. Their whole project is akin to “pissing in the wind” but we pay a grim price for the eventual cyclical abeyance of this pointless and ill-founded exercise.

Today, disparaging the past is a mark of intellectual respectability

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Whig history meant history written as a story of continuing improvement. Today, it means history written as an exercise in reproach and accusation in which universal human evils are represented as being exclusively the products of Western power.

The end result of a systematic devaluation of the past, however, is a condition of confusion not unlike that experienced by those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

Yet history never does stop or begin anew.

Now the liberal West is in the midst of its own cultural revolution.