Over the past couple of days, Thomas Jefferson has been popping up here [link] and there [link], and in reading the history concerning the man now being revisited in ways that are not pleasing to those who see him in a particular mythological light, I started thinking about the following (rhetorical and naive) question.
In the waning days of slavery, with abolitionism on the rise, and the need for societal change concerning the “peculiar institution” coming to a head (even though this was based more on economic and political rather than on humanitarian reasoning), can we imagine someone knowingly engaging in the practice, despite understanding that in a certain period of time they will have to come to terms with what they’ve done on some level? Meaning, sensing there is a change coming, and yet going through with a knowingly soon-to-be outdated practice?
Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical.
I’ve often said that there is a difference between someone adopting in the 1950s/60s/70s, and someone adopting today. What was possible to know then is much different from what is possible to know now, in terms of source countries and world politics/economics, etc. As activism concerning adoption gains ground, and awareness of the issues at hand grows, how does this change the decision to go ahead and adopt despite what is currently possible to know? Is this worse? Less forgivable? How does this change the basic parameters of adoption, and the role of the adopter? Does this explain the newer crop of vehemently adamant adopters? Does this make our task more difficult on some level?