The preposterous academic trend of judging historical figures, out-of-context, by today's standards (the standards themselves largely a result of many of the historical figures’ own intellectual, political, and military achievements!) should not be seen merely as a childish or naïve interpretation of historical events but, rather, as a deliberate attempt to rewrite history and to devalue and purge the icons of western civilization from the culture.
For example, rather than rationally seeing the Founding Fathers as iconic heroes who risked or gave their lives to liberate themselves and the colonies from oppressive monarchy, and whose political philosophy of liberty and individual freedom actually set in motion the very trends that inexorably led to the abolition of slavery and to the most free, prosperous nation in the history of the world, they attack and dismiss these men, because they themselves held slaves - despite the fact that most of the world practiced slavery at that time, including Africans and Native Americans.
Whether it’s Aristotle, Columbus, Galileo, Shakespeare, Jefferson, or Robert E. Lee, not viewing any historical figure in the wider historical context, for good or bad, is not only scientific and academic malpractice, it is evil. Applying a kind of binary “good or evil” stamp on historical figures, not only by today’s ethical standards, but particularly from a Marxist perspective, is an attempt to undermine rational standards of intellectual inquiry in favor of rote leftist propaganda.
Of course, rational standards of intellectual inquiry, which necessitates a contextual understanding of how knowledge grows and ethical standards change over time, is not the goal of these academics. The Marxist lens through which they categorize historical figures into "sinner or saint" is a means to shame, disarm, and ripen the culture for their utopian revolution.
In a brilliant examination of recent cultural and political trends leading us toward civil war, Victor Davis Hanson writes:
Universities grew not just increasingly left-wing but far more intolerant than they were during the radicalism of the Sixties — but again in an infantile way. Speakers were shouted down to prove social-justice fides. “Studies” courses squeezed out philosophy and Latin. History became a melodramatic game of finding sinners and saints, rather than shared tragedy. Standards fell to accommodate poorly prepared incoming students, on the logic that old norms were arbitrary and discriminatory constructs anyway.
The curriculum now was recalibrated as therapeutic; it no longer aimed to challenge students by demanding wide reading, composition skills, and mastery of the inductive method. The net result was the worst of all possible worlds: An entire generation of students left college with record debt, mostly ignorant of the skills necessary to read, write, and argue effectively, lacking a general body of shared knowledge — and angry. They were often arrogant in their determination to actualize the ideologies of their professors in the real world. A generation ignorant, arrogant, and poor is a prescription for social volatility.
Western civilization and its foundational values of individual freedom, private property, and representative government required hundreds of years of intellectual and military battles to achieve and maintain. The ideas and the culture of the west should be understood and criticized within that context and should be valued consciously and rationally as a body of life serving principles and achievements that have created the most advanced and noblest civilization in history.