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Question: What are history's most interesting mistakes?

Harvey Mansfield: Well one is that the best regime can be made actual. This has led to world revolutions in the 20th century both on the right and on the left – the Nazis and the Communists. It also led to the American Revolution. Perhaps even a good thing but a very moderate revolution that substituted the rule of enlightened Americans for the rule of moderate British imperialists. So that was not as … as nasty and bloody a revolution as the others. We live in our time and in our country, so it makes no sense to condemn everything that we do or the main things I would do as historically mistaken. We need to have a sense of confidence that what we are about is worth it and … and … and so I don’t think we should be overcome by mistakes. Which I think as a country are fewer than you might find in say France or Britain or Germany, also very intelligent peoples.

Recorded on: 6/13/07




More from the Big Idea for Monday, May 16 2011


What are history's most int...

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