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September 13, 2016 / Congau

Restrained by History

Politics is the art of the possible, they say. That expresses above all the great limitations of politics. A great leader certainly has power, but only as much as he is given by the circumstances.

Even the most autocratic king is confined to a small number of alternatives, and also the revolutionary leader who is prepared to tear down the existing society and build everything anew is subject to the forces of history. Would there have been a World War II without Hitler or a Russian Revolution without Lenin? Those questions cannot be answered, but we can say that history made Hitler possible and his power remained limited to the possibilities of history.

Even the mightiest leader remains tiny compared to the forces of history. That may be a comforting thought.

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