• Perspective Please! Judging Past Generations by Today’s Standards Can Be Unfair

    by William Pauwels

    Surge Summary: Judging our past ancestors by today’s standards and understandings — in every question of slavery, for instance — can be unfair to our ancestors.

    I hope you understand that I consider, and most people TODAY consider, slavery to be a great evil. Unfortunately, that was not always the case.

    It existed for thousands of years in practically every area of the world. The Bible confirms this as do other historical records.

    It was not considered sinful by many societies; although the mistreatment of slaves was considered sinful.

    Slavery was introduced into the United States in the 1600s – mostly in the South – to harvest and process crops.  Slaves received primitive housing, food, clothing, and healthcare.

    Slavery was outlawed in many states by the new US Constitution in the late-1780s. It was outlawed completely by Republican Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War in the early-1860s.  Thereafter ex-slaves were paid minimally

    and were free to sell their services to the highest payer.

    This change was a cultural process and took place gradually over several years.  Many people wrongly considered uneducated Blacks fundamentally inferior, which we now know is totally false.

    To a small extent, indentured-servitude replaced some of the effects of slavery, as mostly Whites paid for their relocation to North America by working several years for their sponsors – to repay the cost of their relocation.

    Keep in mind the lack of modern communications and education enabled the evil and immorality of slavery to thrive for several millenniums.  Most people didn’t know how prevalent and immoral slavery was – or how civilization could exist without slavery.  (The laws of economics were not generally understood for thousands of years.)

    Critically applying today’s generally accepted values to centuries past is known as “presentism” and is unfair to our ancestors — who simply didn’t know better or understand what we know today.  (Look at how Christopher Columbus is maligned today by leftist idealists.). The same will, no doubt, be true in future centuries when they look back upon our society today.  (Some scholars predict our entire nation will be enslaved by a Socialistic government that will “control and take care of us.”)

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge. 

    Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay 

    William A. Pauwels, Sr. was born in Jackson Michigan to a Belgian, immigrant, entrepreneurial family. Bill Pauwels is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and served in executive and/or leadership positions at Thomson Industries, Inc., Dow Corning, Loctite and Sherwin-Williams. He is currently CIO of Pauwels Private Investment Practice. He’s been commenting on matters political/economic/philosophical since 1980.


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