Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Honoring the ancestors

What I don't get is why anyone takes offense at the idea that their ancestors might have done terrible things. We are all probably descendant from war criminals--or at least people who would be war criminals if such an idea existed at the time. That is not to excuse war crimes. Quite the contrary, I see nothing wrong with calling them out as war criminals if they deserve it, even if they share some DNA with me. The fact that we all have people who we should not be proud of in our ancestry is just a symptom of the fact that our understanding of what is good has changed, or even (dare I say it) progressed.

I just don't understand why some people resist the idea that people fairly far back in their family tree might not be worth honoring, at least not by modern standards. And as a modern person, there really isn't any other acceptable standard to use when we decide to honor people.