The Most Important Thing to Learn from History

Julie Hotard
2 min readJul 17, 2023

People on Twitter sometimes ask me great questions that push my thinking to new horizons.

Someone asked me, how do we end up at similar places to where we were fifty years or more ago, going backwards for a time, rather than building on our past progress to keep going forward. For example, we have more voter suppression now than a decade ago, fewer states where women have reproductive care rights and perhaps more racism.

I thought of the saying “We learn from history that we don’t learn anything from history.”

Actually many of us do learn from history. But we may not be the people who have the power to keep history from repeating itself in our time.

Con artists also learn from history. They learn that they can gain power and money by lying to people and manipulating their emotions. They practice and learn how to fear/hate/grievance monger and deceive people to get supporters. They also find ways to deceive, discourage and distract opponents.

When con artists get power, and use what they learned from history, ignorance reigns and society goes backwards — regressing instead of progressing.

That’s why the most important thing to learn from history is how to get and keep power for the people who value truth, justice and democracy.

If good people don’t have power, then con artists grab everything valuable in the society and run off with it.

For anyone who hasn’t read it yet, here is my article on how power works.