Monday, April 27, 2020
Contemporary events differ from history in that we do not know the results they will produce. Looking back, we can assess the significance of past occurrences and trace the consequences that have brought in their train. But while history runs its course, it is not history to us. It leads us into unknown land, and but rarely can we get a glimpse of what lies ahead. It would be different if it were given to us to live a second time through the same events with all the knowledge of what we have seen before. How different would things appear to us; how important and often alarming would changes seem that we now scarcely notice! It is probably fortunate that man can never have this experience and knows of no laws which history must obey.
Yet, although history never quite repeats itself, and just because no no development is inevitable, we can in a measure learn from the past to avoid a repetition of the same process. One need not be a prophet to be aware of impending dangers. An accidental combination of experience and interest will often reveal events to one man under aspects which few yet see.
-F. A. Hayek, from the Introduction to The Road To Serfdom