What is directed history? As the term implies, it is the idea that history—typically modern and recent history—has been taken in a specific direction by wealthy and powerful people we can identify if we try: a relative handful of extended families acting across generations who have very specific long-term goals for the world.
The alternative might be called accidentalism. This would be the contrary idea that the errors of the past couple of centuries—errors whose number and magnitude of severity have been accelerating of late—are just disconnected events and unlucky accidents, the product of “leaders” who didn’t know what they were doing and disasters they couldn’t control.
Accidentalism faces two immediate problems. First, the idea that our “leaders”—and their overseas equivalents—have been stumbling around in the dark for decade after decade, clueless, is belied by the fact that almost without exception they have studied at, and graduated from, some of the world’s most prestigious universities. In Great Britain, we’re talking about Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of London which includes the London School of Economics. In the U.S., it would be Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the University of Chicago and similar elite colleges. I suppose, today, a student can come out of those places as clueless as when he went in. It depends on the student—and sometimes on his family ties. For some, a degree or two from such institutions places him within reach of some of the Western world’s most important and influential networks.