August 04, 2016

Today in History: Defender of liberty (and anti-Semite) Simon de Montfort dies in battle (1265)

John RobsonResident Historian
 

August 4 of 1265 marks the death in battle of Simon de Montfort, hero and… um… anti-Semite.

Though Montfort genuinely was instrumental in the development of self-government because he invited the common people into the Parliament of England, we cannot overlook or excuse his bigotry because it was common then.

But we also cannot consign the entire past to the rubbish heap of history and consider ourselves infinitely superior even to the heroes of the past, because while we lack some of their failings we have others.

And for that matter anti-Semitism is increasingly resurgent in the modern world.

So we must be inspired by Montfort not only to defend liberty under law, but also to scrutinize our own hearts for failings that might baffle and horrify posterity or, for that matter, those who have gone before us.

Comments
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commented 2016-08-04 17:28:14 -0400
Baby Doc is not conceited because conceit is a fault and Baby Doc has no faults. Same as Obama. Same as Notley. Same as Wynne. Same as Merkel. Same as Hollande. So Prof. Robinson is giving us a quaint historical fact that our past leaders used to be imperfect, up until today’s perfect leaders.
commented 2016-08-04 17:23:50 -0400
Nothing like the anti-Semitism expressed and practiced in this day and age by Islam, Palestinians, BWM, SJWs, neo-Marxists warriors, and so on.
Simon de Montfort at least defended and championed liberty. Islam, Palestinians, BWM, SJWs, neo-Marxists do not defend of champion liberty. They are the REAL fascists and anti-Semites.
commented 2016-08-04 17:10:54 -0400
Sadly anti-Semitism was at the centre of European medieval life. The Pope had to beg to stop Crusaders from attacking Jews on their way to the Crusades. Sir Walter Scott does a good job of describing the fate of Jews in England in Ivanhoe – and England was by far the best place for Jews in all of Europe.