Past in Perspective

2018-08-15T22:58:16+05:00

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

–The Great Dictator (1940)

Contrary to the claims of Francis Fukuyama, capitalism has failed in bringing democracy to the world.

 

Charlie Chaplin’s speech at the end of The Great Dictator provides an excellent road map of how a citizenry can conquer the issues that divide it and how a selfless leader should view the world.

The Great Dictator was a political satire, condemning Hitler, Mussolini, the Nazis, and anti-Semitism. The film tells the story of a Jewish barber (Chaplin) who is mistaken for a dictator he resembles and is asked to take his place. At the film’s conclusion, he rejects his position as emperor and gives an impassioned speech that has become one of the most famous in film history.

Today when many contemplate on the causes of the times of transition, Pankaj Mishra analyses the present flux in political situation across the world in his book Age of Anger. The book is a critique of the capitalist world order that many championed as harbinger of democracy and enacting the supremacy of human rights and holds the neo-liberal economic system the root cause of most of social and political crises.

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