When I hear people talk about the right and wrong sides of history, I typically remind myself that they mean the right and wrong sides of historians, which ain’t necessarily the same thing. I suppose a prime example of this might be the Whig view of history, or in my own field, the old view of medieval drama that saw it as a sort of Neanderthal form of drama, an evolutionary stage on the way to the better drama to come. The problem with this latter theory is that if we accept the evolutionary premise, then as King Lear surpasses Mankind, so should, oh, Shopping and F***ing surpass Lear.
Likewise, I’ve occasionally asked my self-described progressive friends what we’re progressing toward. (See also the “Forward” metaphor employed by MSNBC and the Current Occupant’s 2012 campaign.) Progress implies a destination, after all.
As I was reading today, I ran across a line from the Book of Common Prayer that more aptly describes my worldview. So without further ado, here’s the QotD:
“There was never anything by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted.”
Enjoy your day anyway.