This is a wonderful little book, striking the perfectly right balance between our hopes for the future and a realistic appraisal of where we presently are in contemporary Western democracies. The main argument is that we have forgotten to look for that balance. All the “endisms” of our time have reiterated the message that we have come now to the end of an era, but they have left us no clue about the future. It is thus that we have become enemies of the future. The typical reaction is to “privatize” the future—as in: “things look good for me but bad for us.” Innerarity’s remedy, political hope, is not the messianic hope of Ernst Bloch (whom he does not mention) but hope based on a rational assessment of our present political situation: “a cynic is someone who has replaced hope with knowledge, while a dreamer is someone who replaces knowledge with hope.” Contemporary politics and politicians, however, ought to combine knowledge with hope. It is that combination that will transform us from enemies of the future into its friends. [End Page 559]
Frank Ankersmit is emeritus professor of intellectual history and philosophy of history at Groningen University and a fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. His many books include Narrative Logic; History and Tropology; Political Representation; Aesthetic Politics; Sublime Historical Experience; and, most recently, Meaning, Truth, and Reference in Historical Representation.