Pleased to note that my student Addy Huneke, who loves to study history, is resistant to romanticizing it. From her blog, The Music of a Story:
It’s Time to Stop Romanticizing the Past
I hear it all the time from many people I know. “It wasn’t like this back in [insert era].” “Kids these days are so weak. They aren’t raised like they used to. Kids used to be tough.” “Back in the Colonial era [or the days of the Ancient Israelites, or what have you], there weren’t any teenagers. Kids grew up a lot faster. None of this nonsense we have now.” Or “America used to be such a God-fearing nation, and look at us now! If only America was the same as it was in the day of the Founders.” “In World War Two, we had real men, and now, young men get PTSD from social media posts!” I’ve even heard someone say that this is the only era where kids really disobey their parents, that before modern times, children obeyed without question.
Look. I won’t deny that the past had its bright spots. We wouldn’t have civilization without the bright spots of the past. But, much like human nature itself, the history of the world is a long, varied history of misery and destruction and sin. We tend to focus only on the brightness of the past as contrasted with our present mistakes, but that gives us a rose-colored view of history. This age isn’t any better or worse than any previous time. The eras of the past did not have it more together than we do. The miseries we focus on that we claim are all our own are often reflected in the past by similar miseries.
Read the whole thing.