The Professor Watchlist is one such relic of the past, returned to the present—a readily available archive of who should be punished, who should be surveilled, and who should be erased. There may be more to come: Lists of refugees and undocumented immigrants, ready for an official invocation. Lists of enemies of the state, both foreign and domestic. Lists of radicals, lists of community organizers, lists of scientists. Lists that reminded people of dark moments in American history; of Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon, and the Japanese internment camps in the US during World War II.
It is a confirmation that those who believed progress was inevitable were wrong all along.