|The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)|
Saturday, December 27, 2003
smacks New York Governor Pataki around for his "pardon" of Lenny Bruce:
The posthumous "pardon" is a modern inanity. A person from a more humble age might contemplate our present-day freedom of speech, and feel quietly grateful. The contemporary man comes to the realization that advancements today mean superiority over denizens of the past, that said past individuals are not around to defend themselves, and finally that time spent apologizing for wrongs done by dead person A to dead person B is time that need not be spent apologizing for recent wrongs done to living persons.
Furthermore a posthumous apology can backfire. The Vatican recently made a ridiculous "apology" to Galileo for persecution of his heliocentric theory back in the 17th century. Did this make the world respect the Vatican's tolerance and humility? Of course not; it merely caused some nasty chuckles about how the pope really was infallible, but you had to wait 370 years for the right answer. Then followed by a rush to find other individuals still under a Catholic blacklist. The speculation can easily be imagined: "Maybe in the year 2330, Catholics will be allowed to use the birth control pill!"