Samuel Huntington died on Christmas Eve. Lee Siegel in the NYT:
It was not always so. In the classical age, when wars lasted for many years, even decades, and technology evolved at a snail’s pace, historians like Thucydides and Polybius took a longer view. To them, no single historical event mattered more than any other. All unfolded within endlessly recurring cycles dominated by the deep currents of human nature. This view might seem archaic — yet its lessons remain relevant. Bernard Madoff is accused of bilking an estimated $50 billion from investors by executing the same scheme Charles Ponzi used in 1921. Wall Street’s financial “instruments” have undergone a revolution in the last nine decades, but people are driven by the same appetites — envy, greed, fear.
It was in the modern era, with its belief in human progress, that thinkers began to interpret the world in a different way — not as a record of human folly but rather as an enactment of changing or evolving historical forces.