Privleging of the Present

“This leads to my third major concern: the excessive privileging of the present. So powerful are the online forces of conformity and political correctness that it sometimes seems that knowledge of the past is being judged as irrelevant and every former age dismissed as unenlightened. For centuries, antiquity might have been over-reverenced; now earlier eras are condescendingly patronized, smugly disdained at racist, imperialist, classist, sexist, and generally reprehensible. Such presentism is intellectually impoverishing, as well as generally bad for one’s character, and should be resisted. The timeworn adage remains at least partly true: we are but pygmies standing on the shoulders of giants.”

An example of this is the school of thought that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were actually terrible people because, regardless of what good they did, they did not believe black people where the equal of white people.  They also scoff at the term “Age of Enlightenment” and will write books about how history is nothing but rich white men abusing and oppressing minorities.

The ironic thing is those guilty of privileging the present are basically all people who will vocally rail against white privilege, male privilege, etc.

This isn’t theoretical; I have met some of these people on the internet and in person.


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