Ramesh – I think I share your inclinations. But just to take an example we are all familiar with, Bill Clinton invoked his private life and his marriage constantly when it suited his purposes but then claimed any negative attention paid to either was completely and entirely unfair. It seems to me that at some point invocations of a right to privacy cannot only come when they are self-serving.
As for the history thing. Yeah, I think this Lincoln stuff is inappropriate. But as you say you’re not sure “we” need to know about Lincoln’s sexual habits. That’s an argument — or sentiment really — about the needs of the living not the rights of the dead. I think historians should always go for the truth, put it in the right context, and then move on. What offends me about the Lincoln stuff is that it stinks of propaganda and agenda-driven “history.”