Brands's Laws of History

Idiosyncratic observations on humanity's crooked path


1. There are no laws of history.

(History is not physics; people are not atoms. But there are patterns.)


2. Beliefs die when the believers do.

(People don't change their minds, but neither do they live forever.)


3. The Sabbath comes once a week; people eat every day.

(Material desires are the locomotive of history; ideals are the whistle.)


4. Every country gets the foreign policy it can afford.

(Poor countries bend to fate; rich countries try to change it.)


5. Happy stays home.

(Immigrant nations like the U.S. are inherently restless.)


6. Sex makes babies; war makes heroes.

(Which is why humans are so attached to both.)


7. Even monsters sleep well.

(The capacity for self-justification is boundless.)


8. Great leaders have limited vision.

(People who look too far ahead trip over the present.)


9. History is complicated.

(For simple, see myth.)