Mark Ollard Interview Waller Newell on Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror
April 27, 2018
Mark Ollard for UNRV: Today we have the distinct pleasure to interview professional scholar, educator, public intellectual and journalist Waller R. Newell about his latest book Tyrants: A History of Power, Injustice, and Terror.
UNRV: Thank you for taking a few moments to answer our questions. As I understand it, you're a specialist in political science. With so much contemporary source material available today, how valuable or relevant is the study of history in your field?
Waller R. Newell: It's true that there's a lot of source material available today, but it often lacks historical perspective. Tyranny is one of the oldest forms of authority known to mankind, and it still exists today. Contemporary approaches often overlook this historical depth, including the varieties of tyranny and the psychological complexity of the tyrannical personality. There are two main reasons for this lack of perspective. One is the prevalence of the 'rational actor' theory in the social sciences, which assumes that political actors are universally motivated by material self-interest.