Dennett: I hear what you are saying, but I have to wonder how much of it is based on what you think now, not what you thought then. Back in the mid-sixties, such “gender consciousness” barely existed, and not at all among 14 and 15 year olds.
The tendency to judge the past by the values of the present has always existed, but has now reached the level of hysteria. To engage in it makes any real understanding of the past nearly impossible. The past can only be understood through the discerning lens of historical perspective, not through the accusative lens of current ideology.
Blinkered by ideology, feminists find misogyny wherever they look in the past, and sternly condemn all those they feel engaged in it, whatever other virtues the accused may have possessed. They forget that now wasn’t then, that the values of then, however they might look to us now, were simply considered normal if they were considered at all.
Thus, yesterday’s “ladies man” is today’s “sexual predator.”
I think that todays SJWs blanket judgements may well be seen by future critics as parochial and short-sighted. We are all products of our time and place and culture, as were those who came before us. We certainly don’t have to accept those past views, but we have to admit that those who held them were not willfully sexist (or racist or homophobic or antisemitic), they simply expressed the context of their own time and culture, exactly as we do now.