One might think that a reasonable knowledge of the history of human barbarity would leave little room for further disillusionment.
A similar knowledge of human experience also tells us that such a statement as that holds no place either at the dinner tables of young families, the town halls of electoral politics, or the congregational gatherings of organized worship. These are the places where hope must reign.
It is such hope that has sustained the human race through all the disillusionment, in the renewable belief that life can be better — and, in fact, in almost incalculable ways for most people most of the time, over the course of time, it became so. Ancient barbarities are, then, accordingly discounted by that very word — ancient, from which the species has advanced. The more recent lapses — the African slave trade (of what is, historically, still the modern world), the Holocaust — are further reconciled with hope by labeling them as exactly that, as lapses, however horrific they were, in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s bending arc of the moral universe and justice.
Originally published September 21, 2020. Read more at my Medium page.