Should We Just Delete History that Offends Us?

In light of our “politically correct” need to expunge away anything that offends us, I thought this harrowing excerpt from George Orwell’s 1984 might be apropos:

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

This is the interesting reality of 1984. Orwell assumed that some kind of systemic, unilateral violence would be necessary to accomplish such a dramatic transformation of society. He was right about what a transformed society might look like. But he was wrong about how that society would come about. Who could know that the monumental erasure of historical monuments would occur at the behest and request of the very people that erasure would help enslave?

What you are seeing today—from the renaming of streets, to the removal of monuments, to the rewriting of histories—is what happens when people just can’t handle the truth. You see it all around. No one is being forced to give up history. This isn’t Fahrenheit 451. No one is hiding their books. No one is running from the book hounds. No one is memorizing chunks of some forbidden library in order to preserve it from the government. They’re voluntarily giving up everything. They’re asking the feds to erase history.

Why? Because history offends us. So it needs to be either rewritten or expunged. Well, I have news for you all. History is a mixed bag for a reason. And that reason is simple. People suck. And you’re not holier, wiser, or better than people used to be. One hundred years hence, if we even have descendants alive then, I’m sure every one of them will be longing to scrape clean our few scandalous pages in history.

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