Sunday, September 5, 2010

Remembering history, and repeating it

This Nicholas Kristof piece in The New York Times is more concept good than it is you-need-to-read-every-word good. But the correlation he points out is pretty stark.
Perhaps the closest parallel to today’s hysteria about Islam is the 19th-century fear spread by the Know Nothing movement about “the Catholic menace.” One book warned that Catholicism was “the primary source” of all of America’s misfortunes, and there were whispering campaigns that presidents including Martin Van Buren and William McKinley were secretly working with the pope. Does that sound familiar?

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