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The radical politics of futurists and fascists—and us, here, today

The Economist |  19 July 2019  |  News

MUCH OF what exists originated as an inkling in the human mind. That enslaving other people is acceptable; that it is utterly heinous. That a royal despot is the norm; that freedom, rights and self-governance is better. Conservative or left-leaning, capitalist or Marxists, sushi-lover or vegan—they’re all products of thinking.

A history of these synaptic outputs is the subject of Felipe Fernández-Armesto’s latest book, “Out of Our Minds: A History of What We Think and How We Think It” (Oneworld, 2019). It covers the range of human ideas, from prehistoric man’s preoccupations to artificial intelligence. But the focus is on topics like the emergence of scientific truth and democracy—themes that seem under threat today, with talk of “fake news” and authoritarians on the march.

 

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