Restless Minds Topic: Changing Standards

Is it unfair to judge the past by the standards of the present? This topic will be explored when the Restless Minds discussion group meets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11, in the Sewing Room of Oakwood’s Arts & Crafts Center.

Restless Minds is a monthly discussion group available to all people with open, inquisitive minds. There is no organization to join or fees to pay. Just show up and participate.

Over the past few years, the question of applying current standards—sometimes called “retrospective morality”—has generated numerous examples and areas of conflict:

For example, should statues of southern Civil War heroes, including Robert E. Lee, be removed? What about slave owners such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington?

What about sports teams’ names? Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians are gone name-wise, but what about teams named the Braves or Warriors? Are those terms acceptable?

Book-banning, which has always been present, seems to be getting a new surge over the content of textbooks or the use of now-verboten language, even in classics such as Huckleberry Finn.

It’s dangerous to be a public person these days where something you said 10 or 20 years ago may potentially jeopardize your career.

Even medical research is experiencing ethical questions about past research standards and what should happen now with the fruits of that research.

Restless Minds meets on the second Tuesday of each month, September through May.