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Putting the past on trial: burning dead witches?


witches thumb

Past decades are now seen as having a toxic legacy, particularly in discussions about child abuse in the 1960s and 70s, but also in debates about ‘old-fashioned’ patriotism. And in the debate about Baby-Boomers, older generations are admonished for the allegedly hedonistic, selfish and unsustainable lifestyles of their youth. For critics, this means inviting individuals to make sense of their current problems by seeing them as part of the damage inflicted by past wrongs. Why are we so keen to turn backwards and put the past on trial today, rather than concentrating on an optimistic embrace of the future? And was the past so bad anyway? Speakers and audience in this must watch debate at the Battle of Ideas certainly put the past in perspective. The speakers are: Jennie Bristow; Allan Massie; John Waters; Professor Sir Simon Wessely and the chair is Claire Fox.

Recommended link: Battle of Ideas debate page

Related topics: Debates

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Steve said:

Great discussion.

Good to hear questions about why we are so keen to ignore the maxim that the past is a different country. And also, what’s the point of getting aoplogies from people who were never responsible for past misconduct?

Biggest issue that strikes me, is why are we all being invited to dwell on the past when the future is the only thing we can meaningfully change? It’s like Groundhog Day, but with every witch trial our civil liberties are eroded one more step

A.M. Nesiac said:

Must watch debate. Shame I didn’t watch this before trying to raise concerns about the post-Savile / YewTree witch hunt in the pub with a big bunch of friends a couple of Fridays ago. What is interesting is that if you try to raise important questions about the draconian implications or backward trajectory of these purges, people shout accusations of being an apologist for paedophiles or past violations.

This debate asked serious questions and made some headway in asking why do we all seem to want to paint the past in such a dim light.

dave said:

Simon got a maddox prise for abuse and raises momney for charity as with Jimmy Savile simon he got a knighthood and has friends at the BBC .
The Maddox prise for abuse or sense about science is really saying the public is stupid and unscentific so any complaints about simon by them is somehow an attack on science as with Savile noone can defend themselfs

.. Convicting mothers of munchusen by proxy in the 1980s for haveing children with ME is not that far from convicting women of whitchcraft caling ME patients vile militants in the press isnt far away from caaliling HIV sufferers d horrible millitant gay people .
Calling the camelford survivors deluded and saying the Camelford water poisoning was a legend as Simon has done isnt exactly nice or forgiveable .
Simon wasnt fighting in the first world war does he have the right to decide what a wife wanted for her husband back in the 1900s ?