Thursday, June 21, 2007

People of the 20th century: Admire, or not admire?

Gallup reports these eighteen people below as Americans' most admired of the twentieth century. [Hat tip David Slack]. Not by me for the most part -- but at least the Dalai fucking Lama isn't there. Here's Gallup's question: “
Now I'm going to read you a list of people who have lived this century. For each one, please tell me if you consider that person to be one of the people you admire most from this century; a person you admire, but not the most; a person you somewhat admire; or someone you do not admire at all...
Here's Gallup's list along with my ratings, using their four-point system:

1. Mother Theresa - NOT
FOR: Nothing
AGAINST: An Albanian witch obsessed with suffering, and making the suffering suffer more.
READ: 'How to Help the Poor,' 'The Diabolical Works of Mother Teresa,' 'Paris Hilton or Mother Teresa' and 'Christopher Hitchens on Mother Teresa.'
WATCH: Penn & Teller on the Albanian Witch - You Tube; and Penn & Teller on the Friends of the Albanian Witch. "I would describe mother Teresa as a fraud, a fanatic and a fundamentalist ... Everything everybody thinks they know about her is false. Not just most of the things ... all the things." - Hitchens.

2. Martin Luther King Jr.- ADMIRE
AGAINST: Religionist. Big government advocate. Opened the door to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
FOR: "I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character..." Magnificent!

3. John F. Kennedy - SOMEWHAT
FOR: Faced down Kruschev and won.
AGAINST: Big government state worshipper (e.g, "...ask what you can do for your country" ... bleech!); enmired the US in the Vietnam War.
LISTEN TO: Ayn Rand on Kennedy's 'Fascist New Frontier.'

4. Albert Einstein - ADMIRE MOST
AGAINST: Minor quibbles. Move along now, nothing to see here.
FOR: Genius!

5. Helen Keller - NOT
AGAINST: Dripping wet, but hardly the worst.
FOR: Inspired Annie Sullivan to become a tremendous teacher; inspired a tremendous film, 'The Miracle Worker.'

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt - NOT. AT. ALL.
FOR: Winning WWII. Dying in time so Truman could face down Stalin at Potsdam.
AGAINST: Getting into WWII by dishonesty; losing the Cold War before it began; delivering 170 million people into communist slavery; extending the Depression for a decade; permanently fucking American money; ushering in the era of bloated government; inventing the United fucking Nations. Eleanor.

7. Billy Graham - NOT
AGAINST: Fake, fraud, phoney, religionist.

8. Pope John Paul II - SOMEWHAT
AGAINST: He's a goddamned Pope!
FOR: Helped inspire resistance to end the Cold War.

9. Eleanor Roosevelt - NOT
FOR: No redeeming features. Not one.
AGAINST: A complete oxygen thief.

10. Winston Churchill - SOMEWHAT
AGAINST: Tonypandy; Antwerp; Gallipoli; Yalta; Great Depression.
FOR: Oratory; resistance to Hitler's appeasement; pugnacity; inspiring Britons in their darkest hour; Chartwell.

11. Dwight Eisenhower - ADMIRE MOST
AGAINST: Let Soviets take Berlin, ensuring fifty years of German communist enslavement; as president, did nothing to arrest growth of big government.
FOR: D-Day; liberating Western Europe; being a 'do-nothing' president.

12. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - NOT
FOR: ?
AGAINST: Stole Aristotle Onassis from Maria Callas, who died of it.

13. Mahatma Gandhi - NOT
FOR: ?
AGAINST: Retarded Indian industry for nearly forty years.

14. Nelson Mandela - ADMIRE
AGAINST: Wet liberal. Racial quotas. Collapse of law and order. Winnie.
FOR: Demonstrates that looking forward with optimism achieves more than looking back with hatred. Unlike nearly every black African leader who took power in similar circumstances, didn't turn into Robert Mugabe or Idi Amin.

15. Ronald Reagan - ADMIRE MOST
AGAINST: Failed to arrest growth of big government; Reagan Doctrine helped activate Al Qaeda. Nancy.
FOR: Revived spirit of freedom in America, and spirit of optimism around the world; straight talker; infuriated socialists; Reagan Doctrine dismantled the Soviet Empire and won the Cold War.

16. Henry Ford - ADMIRE
AGAINST: Hitler sympathiser
FOR: Model A; productive genius.

17. Bill Clinton - SOMEWHAT
AGAINST: Spent too little time with his pants down, and too much on big government programmes. Hilary.
FOR: Less big government than he seemed. Rolled back welfare. Helped defeat Al Gore.

18. Margaret Thatcher - ADMIRE MOST
AGAINST: Poll tax; handing back Hong Kong (turned out better than anyone hoped, though); supported Pinochet, apartheid South Africa, and John Major; didn't notice that Nigel Lawson's rocket fuel was fucking the British economy.
FOR: Revived spirit of freedom in Britain; broke the unions' stranglehold, and rolled back Britain's suffocating state socialism; resisted big government Europeans; infuriated nearly everyone; straight talker; famously resolute; helped win the Cold War, and Gulf War I.
* * * * *
UPDATE 1: So who do you vote for? My own top five?
  • Ayn Rand - the twentieth century's greatest and most passionate advocate of reason, individualism and capitalism.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright - produced architecture that put man in possession of the earth, while all around him for much of the century seemed intent instead on tearing it all apart.
  • Duke Ellington - the twentieth century's finest composer.
  • Ludwig Von Mises - no finer thinker in economics has existed in any century.
  • Thatcher - picture the pit of despair into which Britain and the world had sunk in 1979 - "No Future" sang the Sex Pistols just three years earlier -- and then remember the state of Britain and the world when she left office eleven years later, and contemplate the fact that Thatcher did more to turn around the latter quarter of the century for the better than anyone else.

UPDATE 2: Let's add more heroes as you list them, for which we can all give our assessments:
  • Lech Walesa
  • "Don't forget young Jan Palach, he burnt a torch against the Warsaw Pact."
  • Vaclav Havel
  • Kemal Ataturk. George makes the case: "Beat the crap out of the Anzacs, Poms, French, Greeks, and Russians. Was in full possesion of his troops and gunline at hostilities end. Survived death sentences by reactionary government and the attentions of mad mullahs. Defeated same. United Turkey after civil war. Gave universal franchise, outlawed islamic political influence, educated his people. Gave the imans compulsory foxtrot dance lessons to get them to loosen up, or else. Kept Turkey out of future wars, gave them 90 years [and counting] of progress and improved prosperity."

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Richard McGrath said...

Just checked the list at the link on wikipedia; somehow Theresa Gattung has displaced Mother Theresa at #1. Yikes!

6/21/2007 05:35:00 pm  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

I would put Michael Jackson there in my top 5 as the greatest music entertainer of all time. The Thriller album is the greatest record sales of all time and that hasn't been broken by any other artist.

6/21/2007 05:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam Smith deserves a small place, but a place none the less.

6/21/2007 07:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adam Smith lived in the 18th century, you ignoramus!

6/21/2007 07:55:00 pm  
Blogger Eric Olthwaite said...

"I would put Michael Jackson there in my top 5 as the greatest music entertainer of all time."

He does go down well with the kids.

6/21/2007 08:13:00 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

Lech Walesa would be my most admired person of the 20th Century. While Thatcher, Reagan, John Paul II, Gorbachov and others created the environment to end Communism in East Europe, he was the one who took advantage and broke the back of Communism.

Another person I admire is Jan Palach, although his protest ultimately failed as Communism lasted another 20 years.

6/21/2007 08:53:00 pm  
Anonymous JC said...

John Paul, Thatcher, Reagan.. rolled the scourge of Communism.

Roosevelt, Churchill, rolled the scourge of Fascism.

Special mention Einstein. Rolled the twin scourges of fanatic religion and Atheism besides thinking usefully.

JC

6/21/2007 09:14:00 pm  
Blogger libertyscott said...

Gandhi should get one "for" as he was one of the strongest advocates for a secular Indian state without the secessionism of Pakistan. In that respect he was head and shoulders above most of his countrymen - the failure to achieve this has cost hundreds of thousands of lives in war, economic stagnation and the breeding ground for Islamists.

6/21/2007 09:19:00 pm  
Blogger Callum said...

MLK was an anti-capitalist, not in the sense that he hated every bit of it, but that he thought its time would soon be up, btw...

Einstein was, more or less, also.

6/21/2007 09:38:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

You should write about that, Callum. I confess I've never really studied MLK beyond the obvious.

JC: The scourge of fascism would have been rolled with or without Roosevelt.

Michael: Good choices.

Doesn't the genius of Adam Smith live on? :)

"Michael Jackson"?! [Shakes head in dismay.]

6/21/2007 10:22:00 pm  
Blogger frederico said...

1. Thatcher ( effectively guided the free market revolution to success).
2. John Lennon ( a rampant lefty, but introduced intelligence and accessible innovation to music.)
3. George Best. ( brought beauty, comedy and tragedy to sport.
4. Dahl. ( a complete prick but has introduced the past few generations and many more to books
5. Jackson Pollock (personal....but that what arts about I think)

6/21/2007 10:36:00 pm  
Anonymous JC said...

"JC: The scourge of fascism would have been rolled with or without Roosevelt."

The US was critical to the rolling of Fascism. Roosevelt was the man in charge, the one in place and that's all she wrote.

JC

6/22/2007 12:08:00 am  
Anonymous angloamerican said...

I vote for Yukio Mishima.

Best disembowling act ever and a really cool guy.

6/22/2007 07:25:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surprised you haven't mentioned vaclav havel.

Given the media attention I would have thought David Bain would be right up there along with princess Di and Paris

6/22/2007 09:31:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surprised you haven't mentioned vaclav havel.

Given the media attention I would have thought David Bain would be right up there along with princess Di and Paris

Insider

6/22/2007 09:31:00 am  
Anonymous george said...

Mustafa Kemal Attaturk. Beat the crap out of the Anzacs, Poms, French, Greeks, and Russians. Was in full possesion of his troops and gunline at hostilities end. Survived death sentences by reactionary government and the attentions of mad mullahs. Defeated same. United Turkey after civil war. Gave universal franchise, outlawed islamic political influence, educated his people. Gave the imans compulsory foxtrot dance lessons to get them to loosen up, or else. Kept Turkey out of future wars, gave them 90 years [and counting] of progress and improved prosperity.

A man among men.

6/22/2007 10:12:00 am  
Anonymous JC said...

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives. You are now living in the soil of a friendly country therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

Kemal Ataturk

6/22/2007 12:41:00 pm  
Blogger Phil said...

Ataturk: wasn't he also responsible for genocide and the creation of an authoritarian personality cult?

6/22/2007 05:13:00 pm  

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