In every age, people will find ways to justify and celebrate what is in their economic interests, writes Joseph Cocker, while Jenny Blackwell says controversial statues should remain, but context should be provided

Toppling statues of everyone who supported racist and discriminatory views effectively whitewashes history (White supremacist statues must fall, 19 September). We could start with Plato and St Paul. And who is going to decide and how grave does the offence have to be? Far better to make people understand the context. The fact is that in every age, including our own, people find ways to justify what is in their economic interest, hence slavery and apartheid, and in many cases religion supported them. (I would make an exception where statues are erected long after the event with the deliberate aim of stoking old conflicts, as with some of the confederate statues in the US.)

Yarden Katz singles out Crick and Watson regarding eugenics. The word has acquired an aura of horror, but in practice we abort foetuses known to have abnormalities. They may have been misguided but the early proponents of eugenics genuinely wished to reduce the human misery that was all too apparent in Victorian times.

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