From "The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America"
(2018) by Timothy Snyder. See my review Here.
"The politics of inevitability" and "the politics of eternity" are the two central concepts through which historian Timothy Snyder frames his book. Eternity
emerges from inevitability
. The politics of inevitability is the blind faith we place in blind forces, the deterministic notion that history is like a train riding on the tracks of destiny to predetermined paths, that civilizational pillars and institutions are permanent fixtures that will always be there, and the illusion that we are powerless as individuals to affect change. The nihilistic apathy that flows from all of this gives way to the politics of eternity. A disengaged and zombified populace will be oblivious to people rigging the game, gaming the system, and eroding norms. This leads to problems in society. These problems reach the people, touching them and their lives. People become uncertain, then fearful, then desperate or angry. When people are struggling to survive, studies show their IQ drops by 13 points, nearly an entire standard deviation. Empathy for others declines, and tribalism is heightened. People become primed for demagoguery: manipulation, then exploitation, then domination. Tyranny. If we tell ourselves the lie that we are powerless and nothing can change for long enough, we will eventually arrive at a place where we truly have no power and nothing can change. Inevitability leads to eternity.
See more in my Timothy Snyder folder.