Buck v. Bell and presentism
lesl at UDEL.EDU
Tue Mar 13 17:02:13 PST 2001
as was sending Schenck and Debs to prison even though neither one of
them had advocated anything illegal. The guy was good at turning a
phrase and had a usually healthy respect for democracy, but sometimes he
went too far.
Frank Cross wrote:
> Judging historic figures by present standards is often described as the
> historical fallacy of "presentism." Yet I think it's appropriate in
> circumstances like this, for all but absolute cultural relativists.
> Greatness is demonstrated by one's ability to transcend the prejudices of
> the time and appreciate standards (ethical, legal) that will come to be
> widely recognized only later. Buck v. Bell is evidence of an inability to
> do so and a mark against claims of greatness.
> Frank Cross
> Herbert D. Kelleher Centennial Professor of Business Law
> CBA 5.202
> University of Texas at Austin
> Austin, TX 78712
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