|Clio, Muse of History|
I don't disagree with Jonathon van Maren very often.
It's true that a number of progressive heroes would not make the cut as regards modern standards.
But I think the mistake he makes is in thinking that truth matters to progressives.
Progressives have acknowledge racist and sexist "heroes" for ages, now. Take Margaret Sanger. Even a cursory reading of her life reveals that she was an adherent of the eugenic mentality of the time. She believe that some people were "unfit" and "shouldn't reproduce."
Another example that springs to mind are the Canadian suffragettes like Nellie McClung and Emily Murphy. They were white supremacists.
Well, they were women of their time.
Yes, they were.
I will say that some feminists are keenly aware of the racist past of white liberal feminism, and that's why a number of them launched intersectional feminism, to discuss issues that affect them as women of colour (or other categories) and themselves as women.
But people who did not advance the feminist cause do not get that pass. The example I have in mind are the Church Fathers. They were deeply misogynistic, so nothing they could write could ever be of any redeeming value.
Nellie McClung won the "Persons" case, she gets a pass, but Church Fathers wrote against feminist ideas, so they don't.
That's how it works.
What makes progressives so unafraid of history is their ability to re-frame it in light of their agenda so that those figures who are convenient to their cause are remembered-- while their flaws are overlooked-- while those who opposed their cause are demonized, no matter how much good the person actually did.
And if certain people become inconvenient, as political winds shift, they are forgotten.
So no, I don't think progressives are afraid of history at all. Truth doesn't exist for them. Truth is what you frame it to be.