Re the trustees’ action on Woodrow Wilson 1879’s legacy: I am delighted with this decision. Let’s not confuse pursuing present goals, and dealing with present problems, with accurately remembering the past and those who played a role in it. Of course we should acknowledge all of the aspects of historical figures — but we should begin with a deeper acknowledgement that human cultures, attitudes, habits, and so forth have changed immensely over the centuries. We should resist the temptation to impose our attitudes and values on the past. This is a very ungenerous attitude toward those who have gone before, as well as reflecting a very unattractive arrogance on our part. If we judge in this way, we are likely to be judged negatively by our successors. Furthermore, allowing present agendas of whatever kind to be the engines of historical revisionism is exactly the kind of manipulation that we condemn in totalitarian regimes.
In Response to: President Eisgruber ’83’s Message Regarding the Recommendations of the Wilson Legacy Review Committee