Trashing historical figures is dumb
I don’t get it when people criticize famous historical figures.
I recently listened to a two-part podcast where the host and the guest spent two hours discussing the flaws of Gandhi.
There are books dedicated to lampooning Steve Jobs for being a mean boss and a bad father.
When his fans praise John Lennon, another quarter of people bring up his past as a wife-beater.
Jack Welch increased the valuation of General Electrics by 1400%, but people criticize him for pioneering the culture of mass layoffs.
The same goes for judging historical personalities like Chanakya or Marcus Aurelius who lived hundreds of years ago and might have said things that are sexist and racist by today's standards.
I recently came across a thread in Reddit that discussed this topic—and I was relieved I wasn't the only one who thought that this was dumb.
People’s definition of a hero is this perfect person with no flaws, which is not true. Every historical figure, regardless of their contribution to the world, was full of flaws.
I'm not advocating that we stop criticizing historical figures for their flaws. But negating their accomplishments with their personality flaws is straw-manning the argument. That’s ad hominem.
It’s important to remember that we should idolize virtues—not people.