There’s an axiom of history “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.” There’s a lot truth in that statement. However, other factors are to avoid bias in writing history or re-writing history as well as taking context into account. This also applies to erasing history, even more so. You can’t erase or re-write history although plenty of historians and wannabe historians do it on a regular basis.
This is based partly on my post yesterday – Mississippi New Flag Is Official – Mississippi Mondays January 11, 2021. In that case, I believe changing the flag was the right thing to do. Keeping the old flag was the wrong thing to do.
The reason to take context into account is context matters. I am not a fan of those who claim morality and ethics are determined by an individual, culture, country, or society. In a given situation, something is either moral and ethical or it is not. The attitude seems to be moral relativism (MR) or cultural moral relativism (CMR) dictates if something is moral and ethical. It’s interesting in this view, that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao ran their countries and therefore anything they did was moral and ethical. When I point these examples out to people who hold the CMR view, they claim those are exceptions. A great example of why MR and CMR views are wrong. You can have similar situations that aren’t exactly the same. In those cases, situation one may be moral and ethical, but situation two would be immoral and unethical given the change in circumstances.
What was considered culturally acceptable 200+ years ago isn’t the same as today. There are exceptions. There are plenty of cultures and countries where slavery is still considered acceptable today. Throughout history, slavery has been considered acceptable in numerous cultures and societies. The Egyptians enslaved the Jews. Muslims in some countries enslave people of any ethnic background. Those was true a long time ago and it is still true today. In the early days of the U. S., most colonies and states had no problem with slavery.
Erasing or re-writing history doesn’t work as people forget history as it is erased or re-written. That’s something not understood by those trying to erase or re-write history. Likewise, understanding context makes a difference in most cases. There are exceptions as some things are immoral and unethical regardless of context. A good example is cold-blooded murder. I don’t consider it ever acceptable. Yet, many people make exceptions in some specific instances.