Here we go again with the “right side of history” rhetoric

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof does not like Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. That’s fine. A lot of people don’t. But please don’t invoke “the right side of history.” (The political Right does this as well). There are no “sides” to history. Sometimes the course of human activity moves toward the values of Enlightenment progress and sometimes it doesn’t. It is the job of the historian to chronicle and interpret all of it.

When people like Kristof invoke this phrase they are not saying something about history, they are simply saying that they believe in progress. It is a political statement. When Martin Luther King Jr. said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” he was not making a historical statement, he was making a theological one.

Read his piece “Will We Choose the Right Side of History?