Sunday, December 25, 2016
Obama vs. Coates on the Arc of History
The Atlantic has an important cover story by Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Obama presidency
In the opening editorial of that issue, editor Jeffrey Goldberg contrasts the view of history of the two men.
President Obama often quotes Martin Luther King the "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
Mr. Coates, by contrast, believes that the arc of the universe "bends, in fact, toward chaos." He elaborates that he does not mean history tends toward meaninglessness, but rather that it is open, and subject to disruption. He regards Obama's election as "a sign of chaos, of disruption."
Still, on this matter I am with Obama, and King, and Theodore Parker, the Unitarian minister from whom the metaphor originally came: "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one ... But from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice."