Time Magazine: Man of the Millennium

Mike Albaugh albaugh at agames.com
Wed Sep 23 14:28:47 EST 1998


Craig Burley (burley at tweedledumb.cygnus.com) wrote:
: Well, thinking in terms of what he actually *said*, "benefit of the
: human race", I think it's fair to at least consider that it might have
: been the unique contribution of George Washington that he laid down
: the foundations of a government, based not on powerful personal rule
: but the rule of the individual citizen (via democratic republic)

	I'll give you that his refusal of offered "kingship" was
an important event, but might it not have been something like
Caesar's refusal of the Roman "crown", that is, pro-forma?

: and
: his private morality, and that this government, in basically the same
: form, a century later, struck the most definitive worldwide blow
: against the widespread practice of slavery.

	Which neatly ignores the point brought up in the book:
"Lies my teacher told me", that England had mostly outlawed
slavery and the threat of the extension of abolition to the
North American colonies may have been a contributing factor
in the revolution. That is, some of the "patriots" were fighting
to keep their slaves.

: But, if a personal-power-based government outlaws slavery in the
: one instance, it can reinstate it in the next...

	Rule of law is "A good thing", but don't shine too bright
a light on Lincoln's behavior during the "War Between the States"/
"American Civil War" Even the name begs the question, and the
victors get to write the history books :-) What Lincoln and company
did to the Bill of Rights, Louis Freeh only _dreams_ of :-)

:   Whoever that King of England was who gave up the Battle of Hastings
:     circa 1066 (though maybe the guy who started the invasion should
:     really get the credit)

	Harald Hardrada (sp?) and William "The Bastard" aka 
"The Conqueror" aka "Of Normandy". I don't fault Harald for "giving up"
what with him being dead of an arrow through the eye and all :-)
I was actually meaning to mention William, except that I was refraining
from continuing this thread. Without him, British history and the English
language would be quite differnet, as would French history, and with
Britain and France changed greatly, most of European history would be
very different. Where would modern Communism have been without Lenin's
German-sponsored train-ride during WWI? :-)

	I am not well-enough schooled in history to speculate whether
"someone else" would have done much the same thing. At the time one
needed a marginally plausible claim (having to do with a trick played
on Edward the Confessor) as well as an army and chutzpah to go conquering
one's neighbor. Nobody else comes immediately to mind with exactly
the qualifications... :-)

:   Charles Babbage (sp?)

	Had little effect in his lifetime. Looking back to him as
some sort of founder and ignoring, say, Maurice Wilkes, is a bit
like lionizing Osborne and ignoring Gates, or dismissing Volta
because some Babylonian (counterfeiters?) had working electroplating
works some centuries BCE. :-)

	Nope, my money is on William, or maybe on whichever pope
authorized the Inquisition and started off the chain of religious
wars among the Abrahamic faiths that has so plagued the world ever
since.

						Mike
| albaugh at agames.com, speaking only for myself



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