Bill Maher Says It’s “Stupid” To Judge Past Behaviors On Current Social Values

Bill Maher Says It's "Stupid" To Judge Past Behaviors On Current Social Values

Last night on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the host knocked liberals who judge historical figures and events based on current social values. He referred to the practice as “presentism” during his New Rule segment of the show (above).

“New rule: You can get creative with a novel, a TV show or a movie, but history books – that’s not supposed to be fan fiction,” said Maher.

The host added that both sides are actively working to erase certain aspects of history that are being presented in schools.

“Liberals [are] accusing conservatives of wanting to whitewash the past — And sometimes that’s true, sometimes they do. But plenty of liberals also want to abuse history to control the present.”

He mentioned a recent essay by scholar James Sweet, noting the Wisconsin professor “caught Hell” for calling out presentism.

Maher said it’s “stupid” to think that people from centuries or millennia ago “really should have known better,” noting that most kids regret a lot of what they did in their youth just as humanity regrets much of what it has done in the past.

“I read Ayn Rand. I smoked. I was into numerology. Yes. Because we hadn’t then grown into the persons we would become. And humanity writ-large is just the collective version of that. Did Columbus commit atrocities? Of course. The people back then were generally atrocious. Everybody who could afford one had a slave, including people of color.”

Maher reminded his audience that slavery was not unique to America, pointing out the root of the term is Slav – adding that Slavic people are not Black.

“Slavery throughout history has been the rule, not the exception,” he continued, adding that all humans have a capacity for cruelty not just white people.

“But in today’s world, when truth conflicts with narrative, it’s the truth that has to apologize – Being woke is like a magic moral time machine where you judge everybody against what you imagine you would have done in 1066: And you always win.”

During his monologue, Maher noted that presentists like to compare their diverse group of friends to George Washington’s exclusively white entourage. He argued, however, that if the Founding Father was alive today, he would likely have just as diverse a circle.

“Not to say that there is some truth to the old rubric that ‘history is written by the winners’ and it is subjective,” he said. “It’s also true that much of history is indisputably factual because we have artifacts and coins and birth records and archaeology.”

“Somebody in Mesopotamia kept a record of how much grain they ate: It’s not all up in the air to change or delete or make up based on what makes you feel better today,” Maher concluded.

Stream Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO Max

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