Friday, January 08, 2010

The More Things Change...

In Eighteenth Century England, the target was Roman Catholics. In the Twenty-first Century United States, it's Muslims. As a species, we don't seem to be making much progress.

It is unnecessary to say, that those shameful tumults, while they reflect indelible disgrace upon the time in which they occurred, and all who had act or part in them, teach a good lesson. That what we falsely call a religious cry is easily raised by men who have no religion, and who in their daily practice set at nought the commonest principles of right and wrong; that it is begotten of intolerance and persecution; that it is senseless, besotted, inveterate and unmerciful; all History teaches us. But perhaps we do not know it in our hearts too well, to profit by even so humble an example as the 'No Popery' riots of Seventeen Hundred and Eighty.

- Charles Dickens
in the preface to Barnaby Rudge, 1868