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#043 History's Excuse

posted 1 Sept 2018, 14:47 by Aaron Brownlee   [ updated 1 Sept 2018, 14:48 ]

"We are all products of our time, vulnerable to history" - Han Suyin

I was reading the other day about ancient politics and it brought up something interesting. Aristotle, Greek Thinker, didn't believe that Women, Slaves or Foreigners should have any say in Politics. This probably wouldn't surprise anyone as this was around 350 BC, and was the same opinion that almost everyone else in Greece had. If you tried to tell people to stop listening to Aristotle due to his offensive views, you would probably be laughed at fairly quickly, most likely accompanied by a response of " It was a product of its time, everyone felt that way". In short, His views are considered fine in history because it was the norm, and everyone, even famous thinkers, was expected to conform.
Now take Winston Churchill, another famous figure in not so ancient history. Since its now the 19th Century, slavery is illegal, and women have the right to vote, which just leaves us with Churchill's views on Palestinians: "barbaric hoards who ate little but camel dung". Just like Aristotle, it's generally forgiven that he was fairly racist due to the time he lived, except that some people HAVE protested his views. But still, no one really cares much about it, and societies views again can excuse his opinions, the same way older people are in general more racist and uneducated than younger generations. 

Which makes me wonder, in 100 years time, will people look back on Boris Johnson's "Letterbox" Comments, and think "Oh, everyone hated Muslims back then, it's just a product of its time". Or will they read books on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party and think, "It wasn't even 100 years since Hitler died, I'm sure Antisemitism was plentiful back in 2018".  How much will history let the politicians of today get away with because of societies view? In part, it links to one of my posts back in March, #023 Tower of Shadows, because if a politician is above the line of what's still acceptable, people will forgive it, because everyone was like that "back in those days". I guess as the future comes closer we'll see what still gets forgiven from history, and what runs out of time to be acceptable in the eyes of history.
Anyway, Thought Over,

- Aaron