“So it is true that every one of our actions leaves some trace on our past, either dark or bright. So it is true that every step we take is more like a reptile’s progress across the sand, leaving a track behind it. And often, alas, the track is the mark of our tears!” [Spoken by a baby-killer in Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo]
There will come a time when the people who run Planned Parenthood will be viewed as we view slaveholders today.
Today, you hear young people say, “Why should we listen to the people of the past? Why should we admire their accomplishments? They held slaves. They were racists. They conquered other nations. Who cares what books they wrote? What discoveries they made? What governments they created? They owned people. They owned human beings as property. Why should we do anything but despise them?”
In the future, young people will say, “Who cares about 21st century technology? Those people murdered their babies. The very mothers who should have nurtured them had them torn out of their wombs piece by piece, their bodies sold in parts, burned for heat. Why should we admire their computers and phones? Their spaceships to Pluto? The medicines they discovered that we still use today? They killed their children. The very fathers who should have protected them, turned their backs and left them to die. Babies with no voice, no vote, no way to protect themselves. Those people slaughtered them just to insure they could have sex whenever they wanted, with whomever they wanted, without consequence to themselves. For their pleasure and convenience, they murdered millions and millions and millions.”
I sometimes try to explain to young people that the people of the past didn’t have our perspective. They had to fashion the ideas we already have. You can’t see what you can’t see, I tell them. You can’t know what you don’t know. Have pity. Have compassion. Take the good from the past and leave the bad behind.
But the young have no pity. They have no compassion. They feel them, but they don’t have them. That only comes with time. The people of the 18th century saw themselves as the forgers of new ideas and new nations and new ideas for nations. The young take all those things for granted. They see the men and women of the past only as slaveholders and racists and conquerors. Which they also were.
We see ourselves as inventing new machines, new medicines, new art forms, connecting human minds in new ways. The young of the future will take all those things for granted. They’ll see us as the slaughterers of the helpless, the butcherers of the silent, the small, the weak. The cannibals of our own children.
Which we also are.
A must-read from Scott Ott: