I always tried to teach my students that though societies, tastes and cultures change, human nature never does. People are complex creatures and can act well or badly, be criminals or heroes, reprobates or saints, but all must be judged in the context of their time and culture.
It always concerned me that the AP High School Curriculum diminished the learning of events, literature and people in favor of inculcating a set of conclusions about how history has created our present society. When students learn the conclusions before learning the whole history, it strips historical characters of all humanity leaving them little more than stick figures who are merely sexists, bigots, and zealots. And never mind that the conclusions students learn belong to others and may or may not be the ones they would come to if they learned the history for themselves.
Teaching cultural history is a necessary antidote for what otherwise becomes a self-indulgent exercise that glorifies people living today. It is simply not true that contemporary people are better than those who went before. But believing so makes it easy to turn past heroes into non-persons, tear down memorials, remove historical figures and their literature from textbooks and ultimately reject the beliefs and rights of people who hold a dissenting view of the past.
And we are now seeing the tragic effects of this lack of cultural transmission. Below is a link to a piece where Mark Steyn writes on the same theme. I hope you enjoy it and wish all my readers and followers a fun Labor Day weekend.
The Totalitarianism of the Now by Mark Steyn
I had thought the floodwaters of Texas had at least momentarily submerged the left’s war on history. But I see a Hillary Clinton staffer called Logan Anderson has been triggered by a white man with a Confederate flag on his boat rescuing black people in . . .
Source: The Totalitarianism of the Now