Response to Ex Post Facto Ethics

Topics: Morality, Slavery, Ethics Pages: 2 (575 words) Published: August 26, 2013
The document, “Ex Post Facto Ethics” by Stanley Schmidt reveals many important points to our society. He stresses the fact that historians today are judging and frowning upon what important historical figures thought and acted upon in their time. Although his article was very specific in examples his generalization of society being a uniform mass is his own hypocritical example of “Ex Post Facto Ethics”. It also proved to be hypocritical in its argument about passing judgment much after the matter has passed. Schmidt stresses the fact that people in our present day society are constantly condemning upon our ancestors for violation of “ex post facto moral laws” when, in reality, the general accepted standards and values are changing even at this moment. Therefore, we do not understand how these people of history thought, felt, and/or believed what was right or wrong. In other words, we are unaware of the great impact that the social context of their period had on basic morality. It is easy to make judgment of other peoples’ actions in spite of our own beliefs of what is right and what is wrong in our eyes. To most of us now, the perception and understanding of basic moral principles differ drastically from the perception and understanding of basic moral principles of the ancient believers, historical figures, or the primary establishers of our country. For example, the article explains how students and teachers rail “against George Washington and Thomas Jefferson because they kept slaves”. The establishers of our country had come from Europe, where it was taken for granted to have slaves; it caused no harm or foul to anyone but the slaves themselves. (The slaves were only considered property). But that is where the controversy begins: today, slavery is immoral, cruel, and unacceptable. The article states that, “We can judge the quality and importance of their [people of the past] contributions to understanding the universe only in terms of what they did with the...
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