History is the Witness: The Worth of Human Life


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

The great Roman philosopher and political theorist Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote, “History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquities.”

Those who follow my writings here on this site know that I am a historian and that much of what I write, even regarding current events, is framed by history and the stories of those who came before us. That is one of my driving passions, a passion for historical truth, and a passion to ensure that the past is not forgotten. Sadly, it seems that our society, and even our education system is disconnecting itself from history. We have pretty much stopped teaching history in schools, and often what is taught is myth. As such we have become a society that through its ignorance of the past is ever repeating the worst aspects of our history. As a whole we are ignorant of our past, and that ignorance is demonstrated by many of our political, business, journalism, educational, and military leaders on a daily basis.

Cicero wrote “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”

Our lives must be woven together with those who came before us, without that sacred connection to the past, we endanger the future, and doom those who follow us. Cicero wrote,The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Thus, it is for us the living to remember and never forget those who have gone before.

That is why I write.


Padre Steve+



Filed under History, philosophy, Political Commentary

4 responses to “History is the Witness: The Worth of Human Life

  1. Jim

    Perhaps your passion for history will enlighten you to the importance of confederate history; the present cannot have honor, be honored or historically remembered without honor to all. The Civil War is a story of both sides; the south did not give up 300,000 lives just to be the victim of history; the men who fought took the oath of allegiance and came home and rebuilt a south that serves all southerners . Modern historians have done a great job of putting slavery entirely on the south when in fact it was a national evil. The stars and stripes waved over negro slavery for 85 years through and up to late 1865. Lincoln freed no one. We are engaged in a present attempt to eradicate southern history and or vilify it as though the south were some Nazi state. The out reach to create a social structure that embraced the black man after the war was a southern outreach; the US army and the US government did nothing to ameliorate the destruction in the south or the condition of its people black or white. It is a southern story; it is some of the best history this country has. The black man cannot run away from himself; ultimately, he is a part of the south entwined in its history, in its soil and is a part of its very roots and he will not truly be free until he realizes this.

    • padresteve

      Jim, how many times have we discussed that and how many times have I written about how many northern politicians and businesses worked with the Southern gentry and plantation owners to prop up slavery. I have also written about how northern corporations worked hand in hand with Southern landowners to exploit both freed blacks and poor whites in the South after the war. That being said it was the legislatures of the various Southern states that legislated the notorious black codes, and later Jim Crow which were nationalized by the Southern dominated Supreme Court in its 1894 Plessey

    • padresteve

      Sorry that cut off, the Plessey v Ferguson ruling that gave the force of law to separate but equal. It was also Confederate veterans who were the backbone of the White Liners, the White League, the Red Shirts and the Klan which were nothing more than terrorist organizations. So please, if you want to play to the myth of the noble Confederate nation you have to get around those facts. And by the way the current south leads the nation in poverty, unemployment, failing education systems, teenage pregnancy, abortion, STDs, literacy rates, and collapsing infrastructure. That is because the current political leaders of the South have adopted the same policies that were put in place by the post-Reconstruction governments. That is history related to the peasant.

      As always I thank you for your comments. I miss them when you don’t post for a while. Have a good Sunday and a better week.



    • Christopher

      Lincoln freed slaves by not relinquishing them to enemies of the Federal government; they were treated as “contraband” as a technicality to get around the fugitive slave act. Northern politicians may have edged carefuly around the issue so as not to hurt any Southerner’s feelings, but in the end, Lincoln certainly freed more slaves than the South. Most modern historians have only done a great job of redefining slavery as black poverty and social isolation, which was already being shored up against by the end of the war.

      Lee is also given far too much credit for being some great leader, when he in fact may have ignited the war by siding with the South when Virginia was teetering on the edge of union and secession. The fat general fought mostly defensively, relying on the terrain, digging in. From a moral perspective, the war never needed to be fought in the first place, except that persons needed to be held equally as persons under the law, and the war itself dampened fervor for state’s rights as those states mostly allowed owning persons, and did not allow an interested portion of Virginia itself to secede. From a strategic point of view, it was almost hopeless until the North arrogantly lost a number of battles on enemy ground early on until about the third year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s