An issue in the field of history is whether or not it is appropriate to judge the past by the standards of the present.
An article on the subject quotes the novelist and localist thinker Wendell Berry:
The probability is overwhelming that if we had belonged to the generations we deplore, we too would have behaved deplorably. The probability is overwhelming that we belong to a generation that will be found by its successors to have behaved deplorably.
The discussion topic for this weekend is NOT that historical controversy, but Wendell Berry’s challenge. Yes, looking back, we see that in many ways our ancestors were “deplorable”–in their acceptance of slavery, war, colonialism, and many other faults and evidence of moral blindness. But what will future generations see about us that is “deplorable” but that most people today are oblivious to?