Before the advent of the internet, people’s mistakes could be remembered within their communities or circles. Then being able to start a new life somewhere else in the world was at least a possibility. Today, people may be followed by their doppelgänger wherever they go in the world. And even after death the excavation and tomb-raiding will go on, not in a spirit of enquiry or forgiveness but in one of retribution and vengeance. At the heart of which attitude lies the strange retributive instinct of our time towards the past which suggests that we know ourselves to be better than people in history because we know how they behaved and we know that we would have behaved better. There is a gigantic modern fallacy at work here. For of course people only think that they would have acted better in history because they know how history ended up. People in history didn’t — and don’t — have that luxury. They made good or bad choices in the times and places they were in, given the situations and shibboleths that they found themselves with.
To view the past with some degree of forgiveness is among other things an early request to be forgiven — or at least understood — in turn. Because not everything we are doing or intend to do now will necessarily survive the whirlwind of retribution and judgment. Can such an attitude of forgiveness be applied to the personal as well as the historical? To the people going through history with us?
— Douglas Murray, The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity
There’s also a good interview with Murray here.