Crosspatch, I'll give you Edison. But if Franklin had not discovered electricity, would the light bulb have ever been invented? And I agree with Paul, where would radio be today if not for Tesla?
I am not convinced on Luther. Anyone who has ever read his writing knows his logic leaves a lot to be desired. Besides, could he have ever posted his protest if Henry VIII had not broken with the Catholic Church?
All this goes to say that no single person is influential alone. Would Jesus have had any influence if not for His apostles? Everyone plays on another, as all ideas build on other ideas. In this regard, I highly recommend Harold Bloom's book The Anxiety of Influence, which illustrates how great writers can only respond to other great writers.
For example, Virgil could only respond to Homer. Dante could only respond to the writers of the Bible--he envisioned his Divine Comedy as the third book of the Bible, after the Old and New Testaments. And the anonymous author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight could only respond to Dante and Chretien de Troyes, although this is little recognized. Milton could only respond to Dante, and Blake could only respond to Milton.
Brainster wonders why I place so much importance on great writers. The answer is very simple--literature shapes culture. Or as Blake writes, "Empire follows Art, and Not Vice-Versa." Anyone who questions the influence of Shakespeare (Edward de Vere) has no understanding of how the language we speak influences the way we think. No one has had more influence on the growth and development of the English language than Shakespeare, and thus no one has had more influence on the way we think--constantly adding and inventing new words, and thus new ideas, new usages and new inventions. Nothing else more defines the 1st world.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 22.07.2006 @ 08:59
Well, Hitler had more influence than Marx, but I don't see him on any list.
The question goes to influence on the state of the world as it is today, not on who people think influenced the world. This is why I pick Leibniz over Newton. Leibniz not developed the calculus and published it first, but the calculus we study today, which is based on differentials, is closer to Leibniz's than it is to Newton's, which is based on fluxions. The simple fact that people believe Newton developed calculus is irrelevant.
Shakespeare isn't someone who changed the world? He added over 10,000 words to the English vocabulary and set the precedence for adding and inventing new words to the language. Not to mention re-inventing drama, which is the dominant force in contemporary culture. It is not hyperboly to say the two books that most determined the spread of English over the globe were the King James Bible and the Works of William Shakespeare. Talk about influence.
As for Napoleon, he was a French midget. But he was no Julius Ceasar and certainly no Augustus. He definitely was no Constatine.
I'd pick Franklin or Edison over Darwin. Electricity and the light bulb certainly had more influence than the theory of evolution, since how people live is more important than what they think.
As to Galileo, okay, I'll grant him some influence. But how much influence would he have had if the Church leaders had not finally admitted he was right?Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 21.07.2006 @ 22:16
I'll give you Jesus as the most influential person in history.
Homer and his scribe come in tied at second. Whoever he was, the scribe invented the alphabet to record Homer, still the best storyteller of all time. Thus literature was born.
I'd put Augustine third. His influence was preeminent for over 1000 years. The Confessions, On Christian Doctrine and The City of God essentially defined civilization as we know it.
Washington fourth. We'd all be living in a monarchy if it weren't for him.
Substitute Jefferson for Napoleon at 5. American over French Revolution, that sort of thing. (No Frenchman deserves to be on any list of influential people, except for maybe Dumas.)
Substitute Madison for Marx at 6. Much better understanding of economics.
Smith is good at 7.
Shakespeare (Edward de Vere) at 8. Invigorated the English language and re-invented drama.
Substitute King John for Aristotle at 9. He did sign the Magna Carta, which as a document is much more influential than anything Aristotle wrote.
Substitute St. Ambrose for Mohammad at 10. Translated the Bible into Latin.
Now for your second list.
I'll give you Guttenberg at 1.
Pope Julius II over Luther at 2. He did give us Michelangelo after all.
Galileo instead of Newton at 3.
Columbus at 4. Discovered the New World.
Leibniz over Newton at 5. The latter may have won the war of the philosophers, but the former invented the first calculating machine, which was the precursor to the computer. He also developed the calculus first.
Chaucer at 6. Invented the rhyming couplet and started the great tradition of English literature.
Julius Caesar instead of Napoleon at 7. A Roman over a Frenchman any day.
Franklin instead of Madison at 8. Just to be different.
Hayek instead of Marx at 9. Whose economic system is still functioning?
Darwin instead of Einstein at 10. Although wrong, the theory of evolution has had much more influence than relativity, which no one has ever understood.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 21.07.2006 @ 18:54
Tom, that would be "expurgationist" rhetoric.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 22.07.2006 @ 12:44
Intelligent? Well-researched? Eliminationist rhetoric on the right?
Have you ever been to college? The only place you'll find eliminationist rhetoric is in academia and the mainstream media--in other words, on the left--where they regularly censor any and all facts and ideas that disprove, disallow or disagree with the little cartoon world they've made up in their tiny minds. And it's never intelligent or well-reasearched. It's juvenille and propagandized pseudo-intellectual bovine feces, probably more responsible for global warming than all the farting cows in the world.
Eliminationist is no more a real word than any word someone just makes up that no one else uses. I can play that game.
Complexiphobia: noun, an irrational fear of the complex, a mental disease most commonly infecting progressives.
Realidisfigurementarian: noun, a disfigurer of reality, a synonym for liberal.
Phantasmagoridemoronia: noun, an optical effect by which moronic democrats appear to dwindle into the distance when confronted by facts and logic, a synonym for the plummeting ratings and subscriptions for leftist television and radio shows and news publications.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 20.07.2006 @ 18:14
Great post, with some excellent insight into the English language.
I have the OED on CD-rom, but even that exhaustive treatment of the language doesn't include all the vocabulary words, although it's still the best dictionary in existence.
The English language currently has over 1.2 million words and is constantly adding and inventing more every year. (The second largest language in terms of vocabulary is German, with 250,000 words.) It is true that the English vocabulary increases by about 20,000 words each year, but what is missing in that observation is the type of words added or invented.
Take a word like raupenschlepperpanzerkampfwagen. That's German for "a caterpillarlike, self-moving, armored war wagon." Now, that's a great word, but there is no way it is ever going to become an English word, because it retains too much of its original tongue--agglutination (adding syllables to form a compound word that makes explicit the composite character of the construct). English does not do this. Rather, in English a construct is usually symbolized by a single word which does not make explicit the composite character of the construct. (See the definitive text on this subject, Sister Miriam Joseph's The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric.) Besides, any time an Englishman or an American sees the thing itself, he says "Looks like a 'tank' to me."
Most of the words you listed--vagindisestablishmentarian, repulifantakluxer, mascupenamourocon--suffer from agglutination. What this symbolizes is an attempt by the Left to make the English language more like the German that is symptomatic of the Democrat party's attempt over the past few decades to become more like the German National Socialist party (which was Hitler's Nazi party, by the way). In other words, they don't understand the English language anymore than they understand American politics.
So I wouldn't worry too much about the Left's use of these words, any more than I worry about the Democrats taking over Congress. They aren't even good words to begin with--they don't flow "trippingly on the tongue" (to borrow a phrase from the Bard). Instead, they grate on the tongue, like the Democrats grate on the mind.
English will never become an agglutinated language and America will never become a national socialist country. The word eliminationist should refer to those who intend to eliminate the attempts to make the language and the country more German, since both are doomed to failure.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 19.07.2006 @ 08:59
Well, when I went through school, we learned phonics, parts of speech and usage, grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, and sentence diagramming. Then we studied logic, rhetoric and literature. I hated my high school English teacher with a passion that I would normally reserve only communists, but today I praise God every day for having been her student.
Basically whole language learning is premised on the (badly mistaken) idea that children can learn language by studying the "whole" word, without regard to pronunciation or spelling, that they can learn vocabulary simply by studying words in context, without regard to definition or etymology. In other words, they can learn language by studying the "whole" of it, without regard to its component parts. By studying the whole, they can absorb the component parts.
The reverse of course is true. You study the component parts, then put the whole together. Which is how we learned when I was in school.
The result of the misguided education philosophy over the last few decades is that most students cannot construct a complete sentence or develop a paragraph, if they can even spell their own names. And as far as reading comprehension goes, it's nonexistent. Whole language learning succeeded only in producing an entire generation of functional illiterates.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 12.07.2006 @ 18:26
Excellent commentary. And it goes to the exact reason why I left academics. I wanted to teach grammar, logic, rhetoric, and (classic) literature. But that isn't being taught anymore. In fact, I was actually called into the principal's office once and asked to explain why I was teaching grammar, instead of "whole language learning." I told the principal, because the students don't know grammar and that they need to. I was ordered to teach whole language. I didn't of course. I just put whole language in my lesson plans, which had to be turned in to the principal, and kept teaching grammar. A few months later, when three times as many of my students passed the mandatory state exam than any other teacher's (including and especially the advanced placement teacher's), I was called back in to the principal's office and asked what the school had to do to get their passing rate up to my level. I told him to teach grammar, right after I told him to kiss my ass, and resigned.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 12.07.2006 @ 09:58
Mr. Moran. I really enjoyed your first radio show. But you need to work on the audio. At one point during a commercial you could be heard shuffling papers and cursing. Not that it offended me. I mean, hell, I curse all the time. I actually thought it was funny. But others in your audience may not share my sense of humor.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 11.07.2006 @ 17:40
Well, I live on the border in deep South Texas. I've been surrounded by Hispanics all my life, and I can assure that the Hispanics I grew up with are nothing like Hispanics today. The people I grew up with were serious and ambitious students, and today are judges, lawyers, doctors, bankers, brokers, businessmen. They are proud and successful, and they resent being referred to as Mexican, calling themselves Americans of Spanish descent. They speak English.
But about 20 years ago, I noticed a change in the Hispanic population, especially in the immigrants which supersaturate this area. These people have a real attitude problem. They are racists who hate Americans, especially white Americans. I mean they really hate them. I know because I interract with them every day. If I speak English, they look at me with disdain and will not do business with me. But I can speak Spanish well enough to pass for a Hispanic, so they often say things in front of me, overtly racist comments that you would not believe. I'm talking about advocating racial violence. They refuse to learn English because they see that as betraying their race, just as they refuse to assimilate because they see that as betraying their country. I've noticed this attitude has pemeated the local Hispanic population, especially among the young, and today is emblematic of a majority.Comment Posted By GawainsGhost On 3.05.2006 @ 14:08