The Hypocrisy of judging history
Retrospective application of moral judgments is dangerous
The hypocrisy of judging history
Retrospectively applying moral judgment is potentially dangerous
There does seem to be a trend towards trying to obliterate truth about “history;” attempts are made to punish descendants- many generations later- for events that were perfectly legal in the period in which they were committed. There are also attempts to delete the truth about these historic events, the prevailing knowledge and opinions of the period in which the events occurred, from the base knowledge of future generations.
An example chosen at random; empires, such as the Spanish one, where global exploration and superior military abilities, saw them take control of huge areas of land. The methods and the morality of their actions would be condemned by today's knowledge and standards of social awareness; but were perfectly acceptable to the period in which they occurred. Teaching future generations that the “Conquistadors” behaved illegally, while refusing to teach the ambiance of the time in which they operated, is creating a false base for knowledge. The knowledge itself then becomes false. This in turn is potentially dangerous to the future. If history is manipulated then knowledge is distorted and future decisions are made, that are unsound.
Slavery is another area of hypocrisy. It is another topic where selectivity and opinion (expressed as if fact) is distorting historical truth. Under modern law, slavery is (quite rightly) illegal in all its forms; but it still goes on. All the “politically correct” focus is on denigration of actions and events which took place when slavery was not illegal or even unacceptable to many of that time.
As far back in history as we can establish; slavery was common. Just about every nation, race, ethnic grouping, on the whole earth, practiced slavery. The city state of Athens, lauded as the foundation of democracy, had slaves as the economic base of its prosperity. The Romans made slaves of conquered tribes, Tribal wars all round the world involved taking slaves from other tribes. The Irish tribes used to raid what is now Wales and north west England to take slaves, valuables and cattle. The Egyptians, the Persians, all used slavery as both economic and military weapons. There were no laws against it, it was common practice. So much is made of the transportation of slaves to American plantations, yes this was despicable under modern understandings but at they time, the taking of slaves by a mid Africa tribe who then sold them to North African traders, who sold them to European transportation experts, who then sold them to European plantation owners, was legal and even acceptable to many. This was a change in the way slavery worked. The selling as if wholesale commodities, of one ethnic group to another ethnic group. This was new to the world. Previously when for example, the Romans conquered Britain, they took slaves from the various Celtic tribes they found there, these unfortunates may have been traded between those who captured them and the eventual slave owner but it was a personal trade between similar ethnic groups. Saxon tribes probably used Celtic British people they captured during inter tribal battles, as slaves. They certainly did not offer rights, wages and protection to such captives.
So why is there such focus on the villainy of the American slave owners and those who transported the victims? If we are to apply retrospective judgment then all those involved from the time records are known, until the abolition of the slave trade- by a British parliament- and the end of the American civil war. Should be equally condemned. Even greater focus and odium should be directed to those who still practice slavery. It is now illegal, it is now recognized as being the abhorrent evil practice it is, so it is those involved now who should be the only objects of preventative action and punishment.
It seems historical hypocrisy is a live and well in British universities. A prominent university that seems to pride itself on being all things politically correct, to the extent of dropping classical English writers from their literature courses, has been found to pay the female staff less than male staff. Old saying-- noble is as noble does. What you do says far more than what you say.
In our modern world where empty words spread many times faster than any virus; we should take time to look at what a person, a political party, a commercial operation and all protest groups actually do; check their actions and motivations are fully in accord with what they say. . That strange and undefined collective, that is known as political correctness, is in itself hypocrisy. Why say political when those advocating the latest trendy political correct objective, are not a publicly acknowledge political party. Why correctness when such a lot of it seems aimed are negating what the majority regard as correct. It is hypocritical through and through.
How will future observers judge our modern times? TV adverts that claim if you buy this product you will save the planet. Disruptive protests (aimed at overturning a democratic election) that claim they are trying to restore democracy. Well funded organizations claiming we have to reject the material world. The media, governments and vested commercial enterprises, joining forces to promote the idea that climate change can be stopped if only everyone will obey new lays pay more tax; all the while knowing the best humans can hope to do, is slow the rate of change. The natural climate cycles of the planet will go on regardless of humans. International commercial enterprises creating huge demand for their own ability to supply, by manufacturing public demands for changes in order to save the ecology. Governments bowing to pressure and rushing into mistaken policies just to pander to the loudest protests. These will all be judged as the hypocrisy they are. This is the era of hypocrisy in all things.