The Past and the Furious, with Bill Maher

I think it is possible that Power Line was first to the story last month of historian James Sweet calling out politicized “presentism” in academic history, and, noting the Twitter backlash from the left, predicting that his groveling apology tour was certain to follow. Which it did—in less than 24 hours. The major media, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and others, all picked up the story at this point. (And we had our last word here.)

Now the Sweet story has made its way to Bill Maher’s weekly rantfest on HBO. This is not one of his better ones, as some of his obligatory “both sides” jokes and jabs fall flat (when they’re not flat wrong, like his sideswipe of the Bible), but the woke left is his main target. One line in particular lands perfectly:

Being woke is like a magic moral time machine where you judge everybody against what you would have done in 1066 and you always win. Presentism. Yeah this professor [Sweet] is right. It’s just a way to congratulate yourself about being better than George Washington because you have a gay friend and he didn’t. But if he was alive today he would too. And if you were alive then, you wouldn’t.”

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.