Monthly Archives: November 2016

Unintended Consequences

The election of Donald Trump has already led to unintended consequences, whether it be Neo-Nazi’s saluting Trump in Washington D.C. or a Trump victory parade planned by the KKK.

Nothing surprising, though – Europeans and their descendants have excelled at creating unintended consequences for a thousand years.

The following comes from Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium, originally published in 1957, and quotes pages 66-69 in my copy.

In each captured city the Tafurs looted everything they could lay hands on, raped the Moslem women and carried out indiscriminate massacres. The official leaders of the Crusade had no authority over them at all. When the Emir of Antioch protested about the cannibalism of the Tafurs, the princes could only admit apologetically: ‘All of us together cannot tame King Tafur.’

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Seems Applicable

I’ve listened to much analysis of Trump’s win and while looking for something else ran across the following passage from Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium, originally published in 1957. The following comes from pages 87-88 in my copy.

This seems to echo the idea that voters were discontent and willing to push for change at whatever cost:

But not all strata of society were equally exposed to traumatic and disorienting experiences. As we have seen, amongst the masses in the overpopulated, highly urbanized areas there were always many who lived in a state of chronic and inescapable insecurity, harassed not only by their economic helplessness and vulnerability but by the lack of the traditional social relationships on which, even at the worst of times, peasants had normally been able to depend.

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