I propose that we erect a new monument in Washington. I picture it as a windmill, impaled by Don Quixote’s lance. Its purpose would be to memorialize for the ages all the noteworthy claims that are sure to be proven false with the passing of time and the maturity of human understanding.
Around the base, I imagine stations for history’s most devoted washouts. The cornerstone would have to be devoted to Tommaso Caccini, who maligned mathematics as a tool of the devil. This Italian friar denounced Galileo’s theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Caccini’s very public opposition to the methodology of honest science led to the confinement of the world’s premier astronomer.
Physician J.J. Becher deserves a prominent position as the alchemist who proposed the phlogiston theory. This concept held that a common element (phlogiston) is released during combustion of everything that burns.
The real purpose for such a memorial would be to put all would-be leaders of social engineering on notice that, sagacious or fallacious, they will be remembered for advancing their false ideology. My inspiration is Chris Turney, the leader of the scientific expedition whose ship remains locked up in Antarctic ice.
Turney is professor of climate change at Australia’s University of New South Wales. While the empathetic main stream media offers details on all the waves of shortfall rescue attempts, they avoid the entertaining irony of a research voyage encountering precisely the opposite conditions that their doctrine led them to expect.
A solid bust of Professor Turney under the windmill would be a perfect addition to my proposed monument. The inclusion of one of his quotes insisting that the rapidly gathering ice around the Akademik Shokalskiy is evidence of global warming would be delicious.
Next to Chris Turney would be a prominent place for author Samuel Avery. I saw his book, The Pipeline And The Paradigm, prominently displayed last week at a shrine to the anti-fracking movement at the local library. I got a kick out of this promotional statement on the back cover, “With enough carbon trapped in the Canadian tar sands to plunge the Earth into irreversible climate change, it is the Keystone XL pipeline that will set that carbon free.”
The American culture is being marketed constantly by dogmatics. Their messaging is always urgency mixed with pious faith. I don’t disparage ideology. But I would like to see some accountability for an arrogant and myopic insistence that their belief system is absolutely correct in advance of the proof.
Truth is important. Without the understanding that Galileo brought us, navigating the skies would be impossible. Without advancements in energy production, civilization would be straddled with scarcity, stagnation and pollution. And if the global warming alarmists turn out to be misguided zealots, most of our environmental efforts will have been spent chasing an apparition.
I see two levels of education emerging, those taught in the world of baseless theories and those taught in proven understanding. Obviously, someone who arrives at adulthood with useful knowledge has the tools to prosper in the free market realities of supply and demand. And a phlogiston expert will find it difficult to gain employment as a chimney sweep.
So let’s publicly memorialize the murky philosophies being advanced by the likes of Michael Moore, Al Gore, and Barack Obama. Future generations will exalt them for their vision or mock them for their foolhardiness. I like the idea of putting all featured trailblazers on the Don Quixote monument in the position of weighing the longevity of their personal legacy against faith in their unconfirmed convictions.