Sunday, July 31, 2016

Future historians and General Woundwort

The eventual condemnation of a person or movement by future historians doesn't strike me as a very worrisome fear. First because it's not certain just who will be writing the history books. Second, because it's even less clear who will write the history books after them.

But more importantly - who are these future people whose opinion I should be concerned with, and why? Are they people who I'd rather admire me - or the movement I attach myself to - or would I regard their rejection, their disgust, or even their fear as a badge of honor?

I remember the comment by the Narrator near the end of Watership Down about General Woundwort, the big villain of the movie:
General Woundwort's body was never found. It could be that he still lives his fierce life somewhere else, but from that day on, mother rabbits would tell their kittens that if they did not do as they were told, the General would get them. Such was Woundwort's monument, and perhaps it would not have displeased him.
I do not think it matters if fear is instead disgust, or distaste, or pity, or anything else negative. And if what we support and advocate now provides some succor to a future people, outnumbered but resilient, well - so much the better.


Wood said...


I apologize I've been blowing up the comboxes lately.  But this is a great post. I read once that Virginia Woolf (yes, that one) said something to the effect that intelligent "common" people should read good books and think and comment on those books. Because somehow those opinions could "escape" into the larger community and influence people to read and write even greater books. Christian men and women of good will hashing out issues in these alternative forums may just have a similar effect in some small way. I doubt I would have found my way out of postmodern atheism without the internet.   So by all means keep blasting away!

Crude said...

I apologize I've been blowing up the comboxes lately.

No need for apologies - comment all you like.

I agree, all the same. I think the 'future generations' and 'wrong side of history' threats are so weak and absurd, but they seem to come up so often without response.

Anonymous said...

Second, because it's even less clear who will write the history books after them.

Indeed. I don't quite know how long it will take, but eventually future generations will know us as "that era when people were so stupid they couldn't tell the difference between men and women". This is history I don't want to be on-side with.