Being wise after the event is not so easy either

This from Todd Gitlin:

Amid all the postmortems after an election campaign that will live in infamy, one historical principle ought to be kept uppermost in our minds. A narrow loss cannot possibly be laid at a single door. History does not work in straight lines in which A — and nothing but A — causes B, as the location, trajectory and spin of the basketball leaving the hand of LeBron James sends the ball through the hoop. It follows, then, that recriminations ought to be tempered. For one thing, as political scientist Jeff Isaac has lucidly written in an appeal for intellectual and emotional modesty: “[I]t is simply impossible to definitively settle complex questions of political and historical causality. This is what keeps historians and social scientists in business, for good or ill.”

Yep. Isaac’s piece is worth reading btw.