Samuel Moyn is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and a professor of history at Yale University. His books include The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (2010), Christian Human Rights (2015), and Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (2018), and he has written for the Boston Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Dissent, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. (May 2020)
Comparison to Nazism and fascism imminently threatening to topple democracy distracts us from how we made Trump over decades, and implies that the coexistence of our democracy with long histories of killing, subjugation, and terror—including its most recent, if somewhat sanitized, forms of mass incarceration and rising inequality at home, and its tenuous empire and regular war-making abroad—was somehow less worth the alarm and opprobrium. Selective outrage after 2016 says more about the outraged than the outrageous.