Monday, March 21, 2016

Ponder: "a feel-good distraction"

"There is no end to Harvard's offenders--or Yale's or Princeton's or, for  that matter, most American institutions with a history.  Few entities can withstand the scrutiny of the modern conscience, and physically disassembling the artifacts of the past, attacking its symbols and its ghosts is a fool's errand--no matter how lofty the cause.  It illuminates little and is a feel-good distraction that comes at the expense of today's very real crises.  And picking and choosing which ancient offenses warrant purging creates the danger of prioritizing one historically disadvantaged group over another, inadvertently importing into our own age the very toxins of bigotry that activists now seek to condemn.

We can endlessly denounce the long-departed and disavow the already discredited, but to what end?  What we should do instead is devote ourselves to living our lives in a way that allows our descendants to take pride in the history we leave behind."

Ted Gup, “Waging War on the Dead at Harvard,” The Washington Post 20 Mar. 2016, A23

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