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Old December 28th, 2017, 05:37 AM   #11

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My very own pet bloated over-inflated reputation .....Winston Churchill
I'd say that Churchill is a good example of an historical figure who it is fashionable to 'trash'.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 05:39 AM   #12

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Karl Popper's saying "Great men may make great mistakes" may be correct; then, there is a growing trend to trash historical figures because of their racist, sexist, or other attitudes that are not compatible with the current value system.
For example, a continuous attempt to purge names of historical figures with racist connections from public properties continue in Canada.
By extension, should we trash Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan simply for mass murders and massacres?
Why does the current trend happen?
How should we evaluate historical figures?
Floccinaucinihilipilification is too much a word; "trashing" is much more plain English.
Unfortunately few people care to study history with any context and prefer to transfer their value sets (which of course are the only correct ones) onto the past.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 06:49 AM   #13
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If history has any practical value, beyond just the accumulation of interesting facts or trivia, then it's as a source of information, lessons, or even inspiration that we can use in our daily lives. However, if you're studying history for practical knowledge that you can use in the modern world, then yes, you need a healthy value system to guide you through what is acceptable modern behavior and what is unacceptable. If Alexander the Great and Ghengis Khan have anything useful to impart to us today, it's not the value of mass murder as a tool of public policy.


As to the reputations of historical figures: "As a matter of cosmic history, it has always been far easier to destroy than to create" - Mr. Spock.

People who trash historical reputations are too lazy to find the good in people.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 07:24 AM   #14

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When we speak of others we hold a mirror up to ourselves.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 07:30 AM   #15

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I'd say that Churchill is a good example of an historical figure who it is fashionable to 'trash'.
Not at all, at least in the US--with the recent movie about him, he's "hot".

Wall Street Journal yesterday had an Op-Ed about him--he never said or wrote many of the things that are attributed to him. (e.g. "If you're going through Hell, keep going")
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Old December 28th, 2017, 01:10 PM   #16
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You aren’t engaging in presentism if the people of the age were saying the same things.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 01:10 PM   #17

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There is far too much judgement because there are a lot of people who have just enough historical insight to be dangerous, and they use it for contemporary juxtaposition.

For me historical analysis should be about explaining what happened, nothing more and nothing less.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 01:12 PM   #18
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There is far too much judgement because there are a lot of people who have just enough historical insight to be dangerous, and they use it for contemporary juxtaposition.

For me historical analysis should be about explaining what happened, nothing more and nothing less.
Thatís because people keep up the erroneous myth that history is cyclical, so they search for a present connection
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Old December 28th, 2017, 01:42 PM   #19
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It's a political thing, it's the 1984 thing of controlling the past to control the present.
So are we not allowed to pass moral judgments on historical figures? If so, at what point does it become acceptable to do so? Is Hitler fair game?

People often talk about viewing things "in the context of their time", which is fair enough, but then whose point of view are we looking at in their time? People have rarely been of one mind. From Hitler's point of view he was probably on the right track, and others clearly agreed with him. What does it mean to judge him in the context of his time if opinion was divided then (as now).

Alexander the Great was indeed criticised by his contemporaries and has been ever since. The OP mentioned Genghis Khan, but is there some new politically correct campaign against him? He's been one of the most vilified figures in western historiography since Atilla the Hun. "The context of his time" certainly included bitter hatreds that dwarf any modern criticism.

I'm not really sure what issue this thread is trying to address.
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Old December 28th, 2017, 01:52 PM   #20

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For Australians Winston Churchill always was a dangerous buffoon
that's not new , that's a long held belief

There was Gallipoli ,then there was the disaster of Greece and Crete
there was his bland abandonment of Australia New Zealand after Singapore while holding to a steadfast refusal to send the Australian troops back from the middle East to defend their homes.
This led to the Australian government in an official speech announcing that henceforth they would turn to the US for their National security

He was a political failure and a backstabber until the job fell on his lap allowing him a grand stage to play his histrionics
For him the colonial Empire was everything

He is on par with his wannabe imitator Boris Johnson
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