The Past isn’t as Perfect

Some Democratic Party groups are renouncing their once-egalitarian idols, the renaissance genius Thomas Jefferson and the populist Andrew Jackson. Both presidents owned slaves two centuries ago, so they’ve suddenly deemed unworthy of further liberal reverence.

The Ministry of Truth has spoken. Anything else is a thoughtcrime.

In Connecticut, the state Democratic Party has removed the two presidents’ names from an annual fundraiser previously known as the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Dinner.

There are lots of strange paradoxes in the current frenzied liberal dissection of past sins.

But since they are orthodoxy, there can be no paradoxes because The Ministry of Truth has decreed it so. Anything else is a thoughtcrime.

One, a historic figure must be near-perfect in all dimensions of his or her complex life to now pass progressive muster. That Jefferson is responsible for helping to establish many of the cherished human rights now enshrined in American life apparently cannot offset the transgression of having owned slaves.

The modern Democrats were prominent slave owners of that day. The Republican Party was formed in opposition to slavery.

But don’t tell that to the Ministry, for that is a thoughtcrime.

Two, today’s moral standards are always considered superior to those of the past. Ethical sense supposedly always improves with time.

And if it does, then The Ministy’s job is enforce that it has anyways.

However, would American society of 1915 have allowed a federally supported agency such as Planned Parenthood to cut apart aborted fetuses to sell infant body parts?

Ivy League enrollment figures suggest some of these universities have capped the number of Asian students. Is this really much different than the effort to curtail Jewish enrollment at Ivy League schools in the 1920s?

Three, the sins of the past were hardly all committed by racist, sexist, conservative white men.

The truth does not matter to The Left. Period. The “truth” matters. 🙂

Under the new morality, should we not also condemn the Aztec king Montezuma as a Hitler-like war criminal? No society prior to the Nazi Third Reich had so carefully organized and institutionalized the machinery of mass death that each year executed tens of thousands of human captives from conquered neighboring tribes.

Perhaps San Diego State University should stop using the nickname “Aztecs” for its sports teams, given the fact the Aztecs practiced slave-owning, human sacrifice and cannibalism.

The Zulus are often portrayed as saintly indigenous people, brutally colonized by rapacious British imperialists. That’s not quite the whole story. Earlier in their pre-British history, the Zulus’ King Shaka adopted military imperialism and internal police state that would have made Josef Stalin proud.

By the time of his death in 1828, Shaka’s army had killed more than 1 million Africans through imperial conquest and mass executions.

Applying the morality of the present in crude political fashion to ferret out the supposed race, class and gender immorality of the past is a tricky thing. Picking saints and sinners can boomerang in unexpected ways.

Senator Robert “KKK” Byrd anyone? Al Gore’s father, the segregationist. And we already knw that some extreme lefties consider Martin Luther King a bad person because he said many un-PC things, like actual tolerance and acceptance of everyone, not just the sanctified Progressive Liberal.

Will Democrats now also damn America’s most openly racist president since the pre-Civil War era — the liberal saint Woodrow Wilson?

Wilson successfully led the U.S. in World War I, tried to organize a global League of Nations — and was an unapologetic Southern racist in word and deed. It was Wilson who fought the integration of the U.S. military and did his best as president of Princeton University to deny talented African-Americans admission.

Should Princeton focus only on that disreputable aspect of his legacy and thus change the name of its vaunted Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs?

Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren is worshipped as a progressive icon who through his work on the Supreme Court helped enshrine a liberal agenda. But no American was more responsible for incarcerating Japanese-Americans in internment camps when he was California’s attorney general.

Should we regard civil rights advocate Malcolm X as unworthy of attention or a complex historical persona? By present ethical standards, was Malcolm more than just a convicted thief and avowed Communist who dismissed Martin Luther King Jr. as “chump,” declared that he was “glad” when John F. Kennedy was assassinated and talked of black superiority as he condemned whites as “devils.”

Enter Louis Farrakhan talking about black killing whites…

The architect of Planned Parenthood was the feminist family planner Margaret Sanger. Shouldn’t Planned Parenthood denounce Sanger’s legacy, given her eugenics agenda that deliberately sought to focus abortions on minority communities?

The past is not simplistic “gotcha” melodrama in which we convict figures of history by tabulating their sins on today’s moral scorecards. Instead, history is tragedy. It is complex. Moral assessments are dicey. With some humility, we must balance past and current ethical standards, as well as the elements of the good and the bad present in every life.

But Liberals are simplistic and narcissistic. Not to mention, selective. After all it was the Southern Democrats who were against The Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s and fought a War FOR slavery.

We must avoid cheap, politicized moralizing that often tells more about the ethics and ignorance of today’s grand inquisitors than their targets. (Victor Davis Hanson)

Yes, it does. And no, The Ministry of Truth doesn’t care. “We are at war with Oceania and always have been…” — 1984 By George Orwell.

The truth of the moment is what ever the Party deems to to be. If it changes 5 seconds from now that is to be ignored because the Party is always right and The Ministry will see to it that history records it accurately, even if that mean revising what it says as they say it.

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez
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